STUDIES ON THE NUTRITIONAL AND ANTI-MICROBIAL EFFECTS OF MORINGA OLEIFERA LEAF MEAL ON CHICKEN BROILERS AND LAYING HENS

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ABSTRACT

Experiments were conducted to evaluate the nutritional and anti-microbial effects of dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) in broilers and laying hens. Proximate analysis of the leaf meal showed that it contained 23.25% CP, 13.19% CF, 6.93% EE, 6.4% Ash and 47.10% NFE on dry matter basis. In the chicken broiler experiment, five broiler starter (23% CP) and five finisher (19% CP) diets were formulated to contain Moringa oleifera leaf meal at dietary levels of 0%, 2.5%, 5.0%, 7.5% and 10% which were designated as T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively. Five groups of 40 day old Anak chicken broilers were assigned to the five treatment diets in a completely randomized design (CRD) experiment. Each treatment was replicated four times consisting of 10 birds per replicate and fed for 49 days. At the starter phase, average final body weight gain indicated no significant (P>0.05) treatment effect. Feed conversion ratio was significantly (P<0.05) superior at 7.5% and 10% levels. There was significant difference (P<0.05) in feed intake between the control group and the group receiving 10% of MOLM. Feed intake of the groups decreased with increase in MOLM level. At the finisher phase, average final body weight and average body weight gain were significantly (P<0.05) higher than others at 10% level resulting in significantly improved feed conversion ratio. Average daily feed intake of the groups showed no significant (P>0.05) difference across the treatment groups although MOLM decreased feed intake as the level of inclusion of the leaf meal increased. Moringa oleifera leaf meal significantly (P<0.05) improved PCV, HB and RBC respectively. MCH, MCV, MCHC, TWBC, platelets, lymphocytes and neutrophils were similar (P>0.05). There were no traces of basophils, eosinophils and monocytes in the blood of the experimental chicken broilers0k. The platelets increased with increase in dietary levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. However, the control group recorded the highest level of lymphocytes. MOLM significantly reduced blood cholesterol and serum glucose, but the effect became significant (P<0.05) at 5% level. Serum protein, creatinine, albumin, globulin, sodium and chlorine were not affected (P>0.05) by the treatments. Alkaline phosphate (ALP), aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase were significantly (P<0.05) higher than the other groups at 10% level of MOLM inclusion. Potassium was significantly (P<0.05) raised by the leaf meal. Carcass and internal organ weights of the experimental chicken broiler birds were not affected by the dietary leaf meal. Abdominal fat significantly (P<0.05) decreased with increased level of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. MOLM totally inhibited the growth of Salmonella spp, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella spp and Escherichia coli, at all levels of inclusion of leaf meal. In the layers experiment, there were no significant treatment (P>0.05) effect in the average final body weights but average body weight change was significantly (P<0.05) higher at 7.5% level. Feed intake increased with increase in dietary levels of MOLM. The effect became significant (P<0.05) at 7.5% and 10.0% levels, leading to superior feed conversion ratio at these levels. Mean hen-day egg production tended to increase with increased level of MOLM inclusion. The control group significantly (P<0.05) recorded the lowest value. Egg weight was not affected by the treatments. Shell thickness and shell weight increased with increase in MOLM levels. No significant differences existed in yolk height and yolk weight, although their values had no definite pattern. The birds in T3 (7.5%) recorded significantly (P<0.05) the highest levels of long and short egg yolk diameters and long and short albumen diameters. Egg yolk coloration steadily increased with increase in dietary levels of MOLM and T5 (10%) recorded the highest value. Albumen index and haugh unit of eggs were not affected by the treatments. Moringa oleifera leaf meal had no significant effect (P>0.05) on dressed weight and dressing out percentage of the experimental laying hens, although the dressed weight tended to increase with increased level of dietary MOLM. Percentage weights of necks, wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts, hearts, livers, gizzards and abdominal fats (expressed as percentage of live weight) were similar (P>0.05). MOLM totally inhibited the growth of micro-organisms investigated at the end of the layers experiment. It is therefore concluded that dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal could be included in the diets of broilers and laying hens up to 10% level without any adverse effects.

Keywords: Broiler Chickens, Laying Hens, Nutritional, Anti-Microbial, Leaf Meal and Moringa oleifera

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page – – – – – – – – – – i

Certification – – – – – – – – – – ii

Dedication – – – – – – – – – – iii

Acknowledgment – – – – – – – – – iv

Table of contents – – – – – – – – – v

List of Tables – – – – – – – – – – xvii

List of Plates – – – – – – – – – – xix

Abstract – – – – – – – – – – xx

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION – – – – – – – – 1

1.1 Background Information – – – – – – – 1

1.2 Statement of Problem – – – – – – – – 4

1.3 Objectives of Study – – – – – – – – 5

1.4 Justification of Study – – – – – – – – 5

1.5 Scope of Study – – – – – – – – 6

CHAPTER TWO

2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW – – – – – – – 7

2.1 Characteristics of Leaf Meals – – – – – – – 7

2.1.1 Crude Protein Content of Leaf Meals – – – – – – 11

2.1.2 Crude Fiber Content of Leaf Meals – – – – – – 12

2.1.3 Essential Amino Acid Content of Leaf Meals – – – – 12

2.1.4 Mineral Content of Leaf Meals – – – – – – 15

2.1.5 Vitamin Content of Leaf Meals – – – – – – 17

2.2 Leaf Meals as Sources of Carotenoids – – – – 17

2.2.1 Broiler Pigmentation – – – – 18

2.2.2 Egg Yolk Coloration – – – – 19

2.3 Nutritive Value of Leaf Meals – 20

2.4 Preparations of Leaf Meals – – 23

2.5 Constraints to Leaf Meal Utilization – – 24

2.5.1 High Fiber Content of Leaf Meals – – 24

2.5.2 Low Energy Value of Leaf Meals – – – – – – 25

2.5.3 Anti-Nutritional Factors in Leaf Meals – – – – – 25

2.5.3.1 Tannins – – – – – – – – – 28

2.5.3.2 Cyanogenic Glucosides – – – – – – – 28

2.5.3.3 Mimosine – – – – – – – – – 29

2.5.3.4 Protease Inhibitors – – – – – – – – 29

2.5.3.5 Lectins – – – – – – – – – 30

2.6 Upgrading of Leaf Meals – – – – – – – 30

2.6.1 Genetic Manipulation- – – – – – – – 30

2.6.2 Thermal Processing – – – – – – – – 31

2.6.3 Sun-drying – – – – – – – – – 31

2.6.4 Use of Dietary Additives – – – – – – – 32

2.6.5 Methionine Supplementation – – – – – – – 32

2.7 Leaf Protein Concentrates – – – – – – – 33

2.8 Growth Performances – – – – – – – – 34

2.9 Effect of Leaf Meals on Layers – – – – – – 37

2.10 Different Leaf Meals in Poultry Nutrition – – – – – 40

2.10.1 Cassava (Manihot esculenta) Leaf Meal – – – – – 40

2.10.2 Leucaena leucocephala Leaf Meal – – – – – – 41

2.10.3 Gliricidia sepium Leaf Meal – – – – – – – 42

2.10.4 Pigeon pea (C. cajan) Leaf Meal – – – – – – 43

2.10.5 Sesbania species Leaf Meal – – – – – – – 43

2.10.6 Neem Leaf Meal (Azadirachta indica) – – – – – 43

2.10.7 Microsdesmis puberulla Leaf Meal – – – – – – 44

2.10.8 Vernonia amygdaliana (bitter leaf) Leaf Meal – – – – 45

2.10.9 Jacaranda mimosifolia Leaf Meal – – – – – – 45

2.12 Ethno-Veterinary Potential of Leaf Meals – – – – – 46

2.13 The Plant Moringa oleifera – – – – – – 47

2.13.1 Classification and Varieties of Moringa oleifera – – – 49

2.13.2 Origin and Distribution – – – – – – – 51

2.13.3 Morphology of Moringa oleifera – – – – – – 52

2.13.4 Agronomy of Moringa oleifera – – – – – – 54

2.13.5 Qualities of Moringa oleifera – – – – 54

2.13.6 Production Practice – – – – – – – – 55

2.13.6.1 Land Preparation – – – – – – – – 56

2.13.6.2 Cultivation by Seeds – – – – – – – 56

2.13.6.3 Pre-seeding Treatment – – – – – – – 56

2.13.6.4 In the Nursery – – – – – – – – 57

2.13.6.5 Direct Seeding – – – – – – – – 57

2.13.6.6 Transplanting – – – – – – – – 58

2.13.6.7 Cultivation by the Cutting – – – – – – – 59

2.13.6.8 Prunning – – – – – – – – – 60

2.13.7 Harvesting of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – – – 60

2.13.8 Other Species of Moringa Tree – – – – – – 63

2.13.8.1 Moringa oleifera – – – – – – – – 63

2.18.8.2 Moringa concanensis – – – – – – – 64

2.18.8.3 Moringa peregrine – – – – – – – – 64

2.13.8.4 The Bottle Trees – – – – – – – – 64

2.13.8.5 Moringa drouhardii – – – – – – – – 65

2.13.8.6 Moringa hildebrandtii – – – – – – – 65

2.13.8.7 Moringa ovalifolia – – – – – – – – 65

2.13.8.8 Moringa stenopetala – – – – – – 65

2.13.8.9 Moringa arborea – – – – – – – – 66

2.13.8.10 Moringa borziana – – – – – – – – 66

2.13.8.11 Moringa longituba – – – – – – – – 66

2.13.8.12 Moringa pygnea – – – – – – – – 67

2.13.8.13 Moringa rivae – – – – – – – – 67

2.13.8.14 Moringa respoliana – – – – – – – 67

2.13.9 Chemical Composition of Moringa oleifera – – – – 67

2.13.9.1 Crude Protein Content of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – 70

2.13.9.2 Essential Amino Acid Content – – – – – – 71

2.13.9.3 Mineral Content – – – – – – – – 74

2.13.9.4 Vitamin Content of Moringa oleifera Leaves 77

2.13.9.5 Fiber Content – – – – 78

2.13.10 Toxic Substances in Moringa oleifera – 82

2.13.10.1 Tannins and Phenols – – – 82

2.13.10.2 Saccharides, Raffinose and Stachyose – 82

2.13.10.3 Nitrates, Oxalates, Saponins and Phytate – 82

2.13.11 Detoxification Processes – – – – – – – 84

2.13.12 Processing of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – – – 84

2.13.12.1 Methods of Drying of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – – 85

2.13.12.2 Storage – – – – – – – – – 86

2.13.13 Trado-Medicinal Value of Moringa oleifera leaves – – – – 87

2.13.13.1 Anti-microbial Activities of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – 87

2.13.13.2 Moringa oleifera Flowers – – – – – – – 89

2.13.13.3 Pods of Moringa oleifera – – – – – – – 89

2.13.13.4 Moringa Roots – – – – – – – – 89

2.13.13.5 Gum – – – – – – – – – 90

2.13.14 Nutritional Value of Moringa oleifera Leaves – – – – 92

2.13.14.1 Trials with Poultry – – – – – – – – 93

2.13.14.2 Trials with Cattle – – – – – – – – 94

CHAPTER THREE

3.0 MATERIALS AND METHODS – – – – – – 95

3.1 Experimental Site – – – – – – – – 95

3.2 Sources and Processing of Moringa oleifera Leaf Meal – – – 95

3.3 Proximate Analysis – – – – – – – – 101

3.4 Phytochemical Analysis – – – – – – – 102

3.4.1 Determination of Hydrocyanide (HCN) – – – – – 102

3.4.2 Determination of Alkaloids – – – – – – – 103

3.4.3 Determination of Saponins – – – – – – – 103

3.4.4 Determination of Tannins – – – – – – – 104

3.4.5 Determination of Oxalates – – – – – – – 106

3.4.6 Determination of Flavonoids – – – – – – 107

3.4.7 Determination of Phytic Acid – – – – – – – 108

3.5 FEEDING TRIALS – – – – – – – – 108

3.5.1 Feeding Trial with Broilers 108

3.5.1.1 Experimental Diets – 108

3.5.1.2 Experimental Birds and Design – – 109

3.5.1.3 Data Collection – – – – 110

3.5.1.4 Microbial Studies – – – – 113

3.5.1.5 Hematological and Serum Biochemical Studies 113

  • Hemoglobin estimation (HB) – –           –           –           –           –           –     114
  • White blood cell (leucocytes) cell –           –           –           –           –           –    114
  • Red blood cells (erythrocytes) count –             –           –           –           –          115
  • Packed cell volume (PCV)      –           –           –           –           –           –          115
  • Mean cell volume (MCV) –           –           –           –           –           –           –  116
  • Mean cell hemoglobin (MCH) –           –           –           –           –           –        116
  • Mean cell hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) –           –           –           –           116

3.5.1.6 Carcass and Organ Weight Evaluation – – – – – 116

3.5.1.7 Histopathological Study – – – – – – – 117

  • Histological procedure – –           –           –           –           –           –           117
  • Microscopy – – – – – – – – – 117 (iii) Photomicrography – – – – – – – – 117

3.5.1.8 Statistical Analysis – – – – – – – – 118

3.5.2 Trial with Laying Hen – – – – – – – – 118

3.5.2.1 Experimental Diets – – – – – – – – 118

3.5.2.2 Experimental Birds and Design – – – – – – 120

3.5.2.3 Data Collection – – – – – – – – 120

3.5.2.4 Egg Quality Indices:- – – — – – – – – 120

  1. Egg shell thickness –           –           –           –           –           –           –        121
  2. Egg Shell Weight –           –           –           –           –           –           –            121
  3. Yolk weight –           –           –                       –           –           –           –         121
  4. Relative Yolk Weight – –           –           –           –           –           –           –      121
  5. Yolk Width –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           121
  6. Yolk Color –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –          121
  7. Albumen Index –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –121
  8. Albumen Weight –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –  122
  9. Albumen Height –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –  122
  10. Egg Circumference –           –           –           –           –           –           –           122
  11. Egg Length –           –           122
  12. Egg Shape Index –           122
  13. Egg Shell Index-        –          –          –          –                                               122
  14. Egg Specific Gravity (ESG)- – – –           123
  15. Haugh Unit (HU) –           –           –           –           123
  16. Egg Yolk Index- –           –           –           –           123

3.5.2.5 Hematological and Serum Biochemical Studies – – – – 124

3.5.2.6 Carcass Evaluation – – – – – – – – – 124

3.5.2.7 Histological and Microbial Studies – – – – – – 124

3.5.2.8 Microbial Studies- – – – – – – – – 125

3.5.2.9 Statistical Analysis – – – – – – – – 125

CHAPTER FOUR

4.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION – – – – – – 126

4.1 Proximate composition of the test material – – – – – 126

4.2 Phytochemical composition of Moringa oleifera leaf meal – – – 128

4.3.0 Broiler Trials – – – – – – – – – 130

4.3.1 Performance of the starter broiler birds – – – – – 130

4.3.2 Initial body weights – – – – – – – – 130

4.3.3 Final body weights – – – – – – – – 130

4.3.4 Body weight gain – – – – – – – – 130

4.3.5 Daily body weight gain – – – – – – – 131

4.3.6 Daily feed intake – – – – – – – – 131

4.3.7 Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) – – – – – – 133

4.3.8 Mortality – – – – – – – – – 133

4.4.0 Economics of production of starter broilers fed Moringa oleifera leaf meal. 133

4.4.1 Feed cost (N/kg feed) – – – – – – – – 133

4.4.2 Feed cost/kg body weight gain – – – – – – 134

4.5.0 Performance of finisher broilers fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera meal. 136

4.5.1 Initial body weights – – – – – – – – 136

4.5.2 Final body weights – – – – – – – – 136

4.5.3 Body weight gain – – – – – – – – 136

4.5.4 Daily body weight gain 137

4.5.5 Feed Intake – – 137

4.5.6 Feed conversion ratio (FCR) – – – – – – – 140

4.5.7 Mortality – – – – – – – – – 140

4.6.0 Economics of production of finisher birds fed graded levels of MOLM – 140

4.6.1 Feed cost (N/kg) – – – – – – – – 140

4.6.2 Feed cost/kg body weight gain – – – – – – 141

4.7.0 Effects of graded dietary levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal on the –

haematological indices of finisher broilers.- – – – – – 143

4.7.1 Packed Cell Volume (PCV) – – – – – – – 143

4.7.2 Haemoglobin (HB) – – – – – – – – 143

4.7.3 Red Blood Cell (RBC) – – – – – – – 144

4.7.4 Mean Cell Volume (MCV) – – – – – – – 144

4.7.5 Mean Cell Haemoglobin (MCH) – – – – – 144

4.7.6 Mean Cell Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) – – – – 145

4.7.7 Platelets – – – – – – – – – 145

4.7.8 Total white blood cells (TWBC) – – – – – – 145

4.7.9 Lymphocytes — – – – – – – – – 146

4.7.10 Neutrophils – – – – – – – – – 148

4.7.11 Monocytes – – – – – – – – – 148

4.7.12 Eosinophils – – – – – – – – – 148

4.7.13 Basophils – – – – – – – – – 148

4.8.0 Serum biochemical indices of finisher broilers fed graded levels of –

Moringa oleifera leaf meal. – – – – – – – 150

4.8.1 Cholesterol – – – – – – – – – 150

4.8.2 Serum glucose – – – – – – – – – 150

4.8.3 Serum protein – – – – – – – – – 151

4.8.4 Serum albumin and serum globulin – – – – – – 151

4.8.5 Serum calcium – – – – – – – 152

4.8.6 Urea and serum creatinine – – – – – – – 152

4.8.7 Total bilirubin and conjugated bilirubin 153

4.8.8 Alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase AST and

alkaline phosphates (ALP) (iµ/l) – – – – – – 153

4.8.9 Serum sodium, Serum potassium and Serum chloride – – – 154

4.8.10 Serum bicarbonate and Serum phosphate – – – – – 155

4.9.0 Carcass and Organ Weight Characteristics of the Finisher Broilers. – – 155

4.9.1 Live Weights – – – – – – – – – 155

4.9.2 Dressed weight and dressing out percentage – – – – – 155

4.9.3 Head, neck, wings and thigh (% of LW) – – – – 156

4.9.4 Shanks and breast weights – – – – – – – 159

4.9.5 Heart, liver and kidney – – – – – – – 159

4.9.6 Gizzard and abdominal fat. – – – – – – – 160

4.10.0Performance of the Laying Hens Fed Graded Levels of Moringa oleifera
Leaf Meal – – – – – – – – – 160

4.10.1 Average initial and final body weights of the laying birds. – – – 160

4.10.2 Average body weight changes – – – – — – 161

4.10.3 Average daily feed intake – – – – – – – 161

4.10.4 Hen-day egg production – – – – – – – 162

4.10.5 Egg weights – – – – – – – – – 164

4.10.6 Feed conversion ratio – – – – – – – 164

4.10.7 Mortality- – – – – – – – – – 164

4.11.0 Economics of production of laying hens fed graded levels of

Moringa oleifera leaf meal. – – – – – – – 165

4.11.1 Feed cost (N/kg feed) – – – – – – – – 165

4.11.2 Feed cost per kg eggs (N) – – – – – – – 165

4.12.0 Microbial Observation on the Feaces of the Finisher Broilers – – 167

4.13.0 Egg quality indices of the experimental laying hens. – – – – 169

4.13.1 Egg weights – – – – – – – – – 169

4.13.2 Egg oblong (circumference) – – – – – – – 169

4.13.3 Egg horizontal – – – – – – – – – 169

4.13.4 Shell weight and shell thickness – 171

4.13.5 Yolk weight, yolk height, long yolk diameter, short yolk diameter and yolk index. 171

4.13.6 Yolk Colour – – – – – – – – – 172

4.13.7 Albumen height, long albumen diameter, short albumen diameter and

albumen index. – – – – – – – – 172

4.13.8 Haugh unit – – – – – – – – – 172

4.14.0 Carcass and internal organ weights of the experimental laying hens. – 173

4.14.1 Live weight – – – – – – – – – 173

4.14.2 Dressed weight and dressing out percentage – – – – – 173

4.14.3 Head, neck, wings and thigh (% of LW) – – – – – 173

4.14.4 Drumstick, shanks and breast weights – – – – – 175

4.14.5 Heart and liver – – – – – – – – 175

4.14.6 Gizzard and abdominal fat.- – – – – – – – 175

4.15.0 Microbial Observation on the Feaces of the Laying Hens – – – 176

4.16 DISCUSSION – – – – – – – – – 178

CHAPTER FIVE

5.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION – – – – 184

5.1 CONCLUSIONS – – – – – – – – 184

5.2 RECOMMENDATION – – – – – – – 184

5.3 CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE- – – – – – 185

REFERENCES – – – – – – – – 186

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION 

1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Food security and the need to develop sustainable agriculture are predominant issues affecting the whole world. Demand for protein of animal origin has been on the increase, resulting from rapid growth in the population of developing countries. Available statistics indicate that Nigeria has the highest population in Africa with about 160 million people. Statistics also show that Nigeria is one of the countries where animal protein intake of the people ranks among the lowest (FAO, 2014).

Poultry products have high potentials for bridging the animal protein intake gap, considering that high yielding exotic poultry adapt easily to our environment and the technology of production is relatively simple with high returns of investment (Esonu et al., 2002).

High cost of conventional feed ingredients and disease challenge have, however, been identified as major hindrances to expansion of poultry industry in Nigeria and other developing African countries (Udedibie and Opara, 1998). Feed cost accounts for about 7080% of the total cost of poultry production (Esonu et al., 2002). The revenue accruing from the sales of poultry meat and eggs cannot adequately compensate for the cost of production of the same. The consequence of this precisely, is a decline in intensive poultry production in most countries in the tropics. This invariably escalated the market prices of livestock products out of the reach of the common man.

Disease causing bacteria and microbes evolve to build up resistance because of the overuse of antibiotics, necessitating the search for alternative medications. There are many potential alternative protein feedstuffs and drugs for poultry in Nigeria. According to Esonu (2005), the search for cheaper sources of feed ingredients that could as well serve as drugs for livestock in Nigeria and many developing countries will continue as long as the protein requirement in human diet has not been met.

South-eastern agro-ecological zone of Nigeria is highly endowed with plants with nutritional and medicinal potentials. Dietary inclusion of leaf meals as alternative feed ingredient can be a good option for reduction of cost of poultry production (Okoli and Ebere, 2002). Recently, leaves of some tropical leguminous trees and browse plants have found application in poultry nutrition, and have been found to be good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals

(Udedibie and Opara, 1998; Okoli et al., 2001, 2003; Esonu et al., 2002, 2004 and 2005). They possess oxycarotenoids in higher amount than in any other feed sources. They are locally available and can be grown by farmers at very low prices as compared to other ingredients as soya beans (Singh, 2006).

Studies have shown that some tropical trees and browses are endowed with phytochemicals possessing antimicrobial potentials. Leaf meals can be involved in alleviating the problem of ill-health encountered in poultry production, considering the combination of ingredients used by the traditional animal health practitioners (Adewumi 2004; Okoli and Ebere, 2002). This is possible through the synergistic, additive and nutritional potentials of leaf meals. Many phytochemicals have shown to be bioactive and have been useful as chemotherapeutic agents, pesticides, food/feed additives and other biologicals (Wenk, 2003; Okoli et al., 2001).

One of the tropical plants that have been receiving attention recently in poultry nutrition is Moringa oleifera. Moringa oleifera is a fast growing tree which can reach up to 12m in height at maturity, yielding up to 120 tonnes/ha of leaves when planted very densely for use as forage (Zvinorova et al, 2015).

Moringaceae is a simple genus family with 14 known species; of these, Moringa oleifera is the most widely known and utilized specie. It is native to the sub-Himalayan region of India and is now naturalized in many countries in Africa, Arabia, S.E. Asia, Caribbean Islands and South America (FAO, 2014). Moringa oleifera leaves are highly nutritious containing significant quantities of vitamins; A, B and C, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus and protein. Laboratory analysis showed that the protein concentration in the leaves is about 27% with negligible amount of tannins (1-23g/kg) in all fractions of the plant and high level of sulphurcontaining amino acids (Teixeira et al, 2014).

Kakengi et al. (2003) evaluated and compared the nutritive value of different morphological components of Moringa oleifera with Leucaena leucocephala leaf meal in Tanzania and noted that Moringa leaves possess a high level of pepsin and total soluble protein than in other parts of the plant. The high pepsin and total soluble protein makes Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) more suitable for monogastric animal feeding. The study of Kakengi et al. (2007) suggested that MOLM could replace sunflower seed meal up to 20% in the diets of laying hens.

Moringa has recently been rediscovered although it was well known in the ancient world. It is a multi-purpose tree with tremendous variety of potentials. Apart from its great nutritional value, the leaves are used to relieve headache, stop bleeding, treat gastric ulcer and diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, eye and ear infections, inflammation of mucus membrane and scurvy skin. The seed has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on wounds and insect bites. The flower juice enhances the quality and flow of breast milk and for treatment of urinary problems and cold. The pods are dewormers and can be used to treat liver and spleen problems as well as alleviating joint pains. Considerable research has been done on its cultivation, extraction of its seed oil, use in agro-forestry systems, water purification properties and its medicinal and nutritional benefits (Onwa et al, 2005; Nkukwara 2012; Dan Mallam et al, 2001)

With all of its many attributes, it is surely not exaggeration to call moringa a “Miracle Tree”. Moringa leaves probably rank as the best of all tropical vegetables (Bosch, 2014). However, not much work has been done on Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) as possible feed ingredient and drug in poultry diets.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Per capita consumption of animal protein in Nigeria has been on the decline over the past decades. Generally, Nigerians consume only about 7g of animal protein on daily basis, as against the minimum requirement of 28g – 30g/head/day recommended by FAO. Therefore, this acute shortage of animal protein in the diets of average Nigerians requires a logical solution like increasing the production and consumption of poultry.

However, high cost of conventional feed ingredients and disease challenge have been identified as major hindrances to expansion of poultry industry in Nigeria. This invariably escalated the market prices of poultry and their products out of the reach of the common man. Disease causing bacteria and microbes evolve to build up resistance because of the overuse of antibiotics, necessitating the search for alternative medications.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to investigate alternative feed resources that could effectively replace the expensive conventional feed ingredients in poultry diets and also serve as prophylactic agents.

Leaf meals have been identified as alternative feed resources for poultry, particularly in the tropics.  However, not much has been done to confirm these potentials.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

The objectives of this research are therefore:

  1. To determine the proximate and phytochemical composition of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM).
  2. To determine the effects of graded levels of MOLM on growth performance of broilers.
  3. To determine the effects of graded levels of MOLM on egg production performance of laying hens
  4. To determine the effects of dietary MOLM on the intestinal microbial load of broilers and laying hens.
  5. To determine the effects of MOLM on haematological and serum biochemical indices of broilers and laying hens
  6. To determine the effects of graded levels of MOLM on the carcass and internal organs of broilers and laying hens.

1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

Attempts have been made to reduce cost of feeds and livestock drugs by replacing expensive conventional protein-rich ingredients with cheaper non-conventional feed resources possessing medicinal potentials. One of such cheap non-conventional feed resources is the leaf meal. Not much work has, however, been done on Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) as possible feed ingredient and anti-microbial agent in poultry diets.

The result of this study may, therefore, serve as a reference material for further research in this area. This will enhance the expansion of poultry industry in Nigeria, if MOLM could conveniently and effectively serve as alternative feed ingredient and anti-microbial agent in broilers and layers diets.

The result of this study may also attract research grants from philanthropists, and industrialists for more investigations on hidden indigenous plants with possible great nutritional and medicinal potentials for animal production enhancement.

1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY

The study involved chemical and physiochemical analyses of the leaf meal, followed by feeding trials during which the effects of dietary inclusion of the leaf meal on the performance of broilers and egg production performance of laying hens, as well as the effects on their intestinal microbial load were determined. The two feeding trials were done concurrently. The entire study lasted for one year.

STUDIES ON THE NUTRITIONAL AND ANTI-MICROBIAL EFFECTS OF MORINGA OLEIFERA LEAF MEAL ON CHICKEN BROILERS AND LAYING HENS

 

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