The response of broiler chickens to dietary inclusion of Alternanthera sessilis leaf meal (ASLM)

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Two phases of experiment were conducted with the aim of assessing the possibility of using dried Alternanthera sessilis leaf meal (ASLM) in broiler starter and finisher diets. Five diets were prepared with ASLM inclusion levels of 0% (T0), 5% (T1), 7.5% (T2), 10% (T3) and 12.5% (T4) and 225 Cobb commercial broiler birds were used in each experiment. The ASLM substituted varying levels of soya bean meal and wheat bran. Complete Randomised Design was used for the study. In Phase One, as the inclusion level of ASLM increased signs of ill–health and mortalities increased even though there were no significant (P>0.05) differences among treatment means. In Phase Two, however there were no signs of ill–health or mortalities. In Phase One, there was no significant (P>0.05)difference between T0 and T4 with respect to feed intake. Significant (P<0.05) differences were also observed between T1, T2 and T3, and T4. The control (T0) had the highest gain and T4 had the lowest gain. No significant (P>0.05) difference was seen between T0 and T1 but there were significant (P<0.05) difference between T0 and, T2, T3 and T4. In addition, there were significant (P<0.05) differences between T1, T2, T3, and T4. In Phase Two, dietary treatments did not exert any significant (P>0.05) effect on the daily feed intake of the birds. With respect to weight gain, no significant (P>0.05) differences were observed between treatment means of T0, T1 T2 and T3. There was also no significant (P>0.05) differences T3 and T4. But significant (P<0.05) differences were observed between treatment means of T0, T1 and T2, and T4. Dietary treatments did exert significant (P<0.05) differences on some of the carcass parameters measured. In Phase One, significant (P<0.05) differences were observed in the Hb levels of birds between T1 and T3. The WBC profile indicated that there were significant (P<0.05) differences in values obtained from T0 birds and those fed the ASLM containing diet. Treatment diet effected significant (P<0.05) differences in the low-density lipoprotein and albumen during initial and final blood biochemical analysis. In Phase Two, significant (P<0.05) differences were shown between the RBC, MCV, MCH, high density lipoprotein as well as their globulin before treatment birds were given ASLM. However after taking ASLM there were no significant (P>0.05) differences. A farmer will spend more without adding ASLM in broilers starter diet but it will not affect profit. The study revealed that at 5% inclusion level of the ASLM in broiler finisher diet, a profit of GH¢ 0.26 more can be made per kg of broiler carcass. It can be concluded that up to 5% Alternanthera sessilis leaf meal can be included in broiler starter or finisher diet without any deleterious effect on growth performance.
A thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the award of the Degree, Master of Philosophy in Animal Nutrition Faculty of Agriculture College of Agriculture and Natural Resource.