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Comparative Effect of Moringa oleifera Seed Meal on Nutrient Digestibility of Finisher Broiler Chickens

Adamu Abdulkarim Umar Muhammad Sani Shuaibu Bala Adamu Habiba Muhammad Inuwa Usman Umaru Ahmadu Khalifa Muhammad Aljameel
Vol 8(4), 58-64

This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of Moringa oleifera seed meal on nutrient digestibility of finisher broiler chickens. A total of 150 Hubbard broiler chickens aged 28 days were weighed and randomly assigned to five dietary treatments in a Completely Randomized Design with three replicates of 10 birds each. The birds were fed on fairly isocaloric and isonitrogenous diets of varying levels of Moringa oleifera seed meal for 28 days. The dietary levels were T1 (0% - control), T2 (0.01%), T3 (0.02%), T4 (0.03%), and T5 (0.04%). At the end of the experiment, three birds per replicate were randomly selected and transferred to metabolic cages for five days adaptation period, followed by a 12 hrs fasting and five days total collection of the droppings. The droppings were oven dried, bulked and representative samples taken for chemical analysis. It was found out that apparent digestibility showed significant difference among the treatments (P<0.05) with T2 having the highest and T1 (Control) showed the least digestibility. Nutrient digestibility was found to be; crude protein digestibility did not differ significantly (P>0.05), while crude fibre, ether extract, ash, calcium and phosphorus digestibility differ significantly (P<0.05). The study concluded that inclusion of 0.02% of Moringa oleifera seed meal would enhance and improves apparent and nutrient digestibility in broiler finisher diet.

Keywords : Finisher Broiler Chickens Moringa oleifera Nutrient Digestibility Seed Meal

Modern broilers are the results of genetic selection with selection pressure being focused on a high growth rate, extensive muscle development and relatively low feed consumption (high feed conversion ratio). The birds reach slaughter weight of 2.0 kg in 5-6weeks while they are still juvenile (Deaton, 1995; Matrencher et al., 1997). In many parts of the world, broiler chicken production offers the most rapid and cost effective means of making available high quality animal protein to man. In Europe and America, poultry meat is much favoured over almost all other classes of farm animals because chicken meat does not contain the fat that contribute to coronary heart disease that is found in high amount in beef and lamb. In Canada, values of 2% to 5% have been reported for beef and as high as 8% for lamb. The World Cancer Research Fund and others (Bingham, 2006) suggested that the consumption of large amounts (more than 500g/week) of red meat, particularly processed meat, but not chicken meat may be unhealthy. Also poultry meat is an important provider of the essential poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially the omega (n)-3 fatty acids.

Materials and Methods                                                                                   

Experimental Site

The experiment was conducted at the Poultry unit of University of Maiduguri Teaching and Research Farm, Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State of Nigeria. The city is located in the North Eastern part of the country at 11o 15′ North 30o 5′ East at an elevation of 364 m above sea level (Alaku, 1982). The area is characterized by a short period of rainfall (June- September and a long period of dry season October – April). The ambient temperature varies from 25–28oC in December and rises up to 40 – 45oC from the month of March to June (Fada and Rayar, 1988). The weather condition is extremely hot during the day around this part of the year (Pillar, 1986).

Experimental Birds and Management

A total of one hundred and fifty (150) unsexed Hubbard strain of broiler of chicks were used for this experiment. The chicks were obtained at day-old from E.C.W.A hatchery in Jos Plateau state via Maiduguri sales office.

Before arrival of the chicks the room was thoroughly swept, washed with detergent and then disinfected with disinfectant (IZAL) so as to eliminate any disease causing organism present that will be a source of infection to the chicks. After three days when the room has dried, wood shavings were spread on the cemented floor to a depth of about (2cm) to serve as an insulator and also absorb moisture from droppings. The wood shaving was then covered with used newspapers. All brooding equipment were cleaned, washed and disinfected. Blue-flamed heating kerosene stove and bush lamps were used as a source of heat and light respectively. Flat feeding trays were spread on the litter materials for the young chicks and plastic drinkers meant for the chicks were also provided in the brooder room. The chicks were fed commercial broiler starter mash and water containing anti-stress to relieve them of transit stress was provided ad-libitum. After four days, the old newspaper sheets were replaced with metal feeding trays and subsequently as the birds grow, they were switched over to bigger cone-shape metal feeders and drinkers, similarly all the necessary brooding management practices was observed.

Routine Husbandry Practices

The birds were vaccinated strictly based in the vaccination schedule recommend for the North East zones. At the age of two weeks the birds were prevented from drinking overnight before vaccination. They were given a dose of IBD (Gumboro) disease vaccines. At three weeks dose of Newcastle disease vaccine (Lasota) and at the age of 5week, a 2nd dose of Gumboro vaccine (Booster) was given. All vaccines were administered in clean drinking water, proper sanitation was maintained during the experimental period and litter material was changed periodically while feeders and drinkers were routinely cleaned. The chicks were switched over from the commercial broilers starter diet to the experimental finisher mash. This marked the beginning of the experiment.

Proximate Analysis of the Experimental Diet

The proximate analysis of the experimental diet was carried out according to A. O. A. C (1990) method, where dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF), ash content and NE are obtained.

Experimental Diet and Design

Experimental Diet

The experimental diet contained the following ingredients in the order in which they were compounded. Low-tannin sorghum, wheat offal, soybean meal, groundnut cake, fish meal, bone meal, mineral-vitamin premix, methionine and NaCl (common salt) and Moringa oleifera seed meal (MOSM). Five finisher diets were formulated with different quantities of the MOSM. Feeding was ad-libitum up to age of 9weeks. Then two representative birds from each replicate were selected at random for carcass measurement, biochemical and hematological analysis.

Experimental Design

At four weeks of age, the birds were randomly weighed and allocated to five treatment groups of 30 birds each. Each treatment was replicated thrice with 10 birds per replicate in a completely randomized design. The treatments were tagged T1, T2, T3, T4   and T5.   The experiment lasted for 4 weeks. During the experiment, the initial weight, final live weight, body weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, rectal temperature and respiratory rate were measured.


Table 1: Composition and calculated analysis of experimental finisher diet (%)

Ingredients T1 T2 T3 T4 T5
Sorghum 60 60 60 60 60
Wheat offal 06 06 06 06 06
Soybean 15 14.99 14.98 14.97 14.96
Groundnut cake 10 10 10 10 10
Fish meal 05 05 05 05 05
Bone meal 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
* Premix 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8
Methionine 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Nacl 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
MOSM 0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04
Total 100 100 100 100 100

Calculated analysis

Crude protein (%)     22.00                     21.90                       21.90                       21.89                       21.89

Crude fibre (%)         3.235                     3.228                       3.217                       3.216                       3215

ME (Kcal/kg)    2894.2               2891.5               2888.8                2886.1               2883.4

*The vitamin premix used in this study has the following composition. Vit.A 12000.00IU, Vit.E, 1500mg, Folic acid 1000mg, patothenic acid, 1500mg, B12 1500mg, B6 2500mg, Vit.K, 2000mg, choline 500000mg, Mn 100mg, Vit.B2 6000mg, Vit.B1 2000mg, Biotin 60000mg, Vit.C 30000mg, copper 15000mg, cobalt 250mg, and selenium 100mg.

Where, MOSM = Moringa oleifera seed meal

Digestibility Trial

The apparent nutrient digestibility study was carried out after completion of 8th week experimental period. Three birds per replicate were randomly selected and weighed transferred to metabolic cages for five days adaptation period, followed by a 12 h fasting and five days total collection of the droppings. The droppings were oven dried, bulked and representative samples taken for chemical analysis. The percentage of the nutrients (DM, crude protein, crude fibre, ash and ether extracts) were computed individually using the formula of McDonald et al. (1994) method.

Statistical Analysis

All data collected were subjected to analysis of variance using completely randomized design described by Steel and Torri (1980). Means were compared using LSD comparison method to check for the significant differences among the treatments means.

Results and Discussion


Apparent digestibility

The results of apparent digestibility is shown in Table 2; there is significant (P<0.05) difference among the treatments with T2 having the highest and T1 showed the least digestibility. This may be, due to the absence of MOSM. However, T2, T3, T4 and T5 did not differ (P>0.05) significantly, the highest digestibility was recorded in T2 with MOSM inclusion of (0.01%). This implied that MOSM improves dry matter digestibility. The observation was in line with (Faheyet et al., 2001) which indicated that the inclusion of MOSM in broiler finisher diet improved palatability of the diet hence increased intake and subsequent digestibility.

Table 2: The result of apparent and nutrients digestibility

Digestibility (%) T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 SEM (P<0.05)
DM 49.78b 64.23a 61.02a 56.73ab 61.81a 2.41*
C P 86.12 91.62 92.01 85.57 92.26 2.29NS
CF 55.51b 71.78a 74.28a 76.06a 74.33a 3.41*
EE 86.70ab 83.26ab 86.39ab 91.98a 73.18b 4.46*
Ash 71.84b 87.39a 81.16ab 74.28ab 76.19ab 4.66*
NFE 35.09b 53.32a 48.47a 41.21b 51.30a 2.25*
Calcium 54.32b 50.46b 79.55a 80.52a 31.23c 2.17*
Phosphorus 30.16e 57.75b 48.63c 39.37d 66.91a 2.54*

abcdeMeans in the same row with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05)

*significant difference; NS= not significant difference; DM= dry matter, CP= crude protein, CF= crude fibre           

Nutrient Digestibility

Based on the results presented in Table 2 there was no significant difference (P>0.05) among the treatments. T2, T3, T4 and T5 which contained the MOSM did not differ significantly with T1 (control) with regard to crude protein digestibility. This implied that the treatment has no effect in enhancing crude protein digestibility. The results recorded in this study showed a significant (P<0.05) difference among the treatments in terms of crude fibre digestibility. T2, T3, T4 and T5 showed no significant (P>0.05) difference among themselves. However, all the treatments differ significantly (P<0.05) from the control. This was attributed to the absence of the MOSM in the control diet. Hence MOSM improved fibre digestibility. These findings agreed with the earlier report of Faheyet et al. (2001) Moringa seed enhances nutrient digestibility and improves fibre retention in broilers.

The results of Ether extract digestibility (Table 2) indicated a significant (P<0.05) difference among treatments groups in T1, T2, T3 and T5 showed no significant difference (P>0.05) among themselves. However, there were significant differences (P<0.05) between T5 and T4. However, they did not differ significantly with T1, T2 and T3. Based on the results shown in Table 2, there is a significance difference among the treatments. T1 and T2 differ significantly (P<0.05) however, there was no significant difference (P>0.05) among T2, T3, T4 and T5. Also T1, T3, T4 and T5 did not differ significantly.

E results indicated that there was significant (P<0.05) differences among the treatments in NFE digestibility. T1 and T4 did not differ significantly (P>0.05). However, both the two treatments differ significantly (P<0.05) from T2, T3, and T5. T2, T3 and T5 did not differ significantly (P>0.05) among them. The results obtained showed significant difference (P<0.05) among the treatments in calcium digestibility. With T4 showing the highest digestibility value and T5 with the lowest digestibility value, probably due to high inclusion of MOSM. T1 and T2 showed no significant difference (P>0.05) however, they differ significantly (P<0.05) from T3, T4 and T5. The T3 and T4 differed significantly (P<0.05) from T5. The high calcium digestibility recorded in T3 and T4 may probably be attributed to the bird’s effective utilization of calcium. Fahey et al. (2001) has reported high calcium, protein and iron digestibility in Moringa oleifera.

The results obtained of phosphorus digestibility showed significance difference (P<0.05) among the treatments, with T5 showing highest digestibility value. This might be attributed to the absence of MOSM in the T1 (control). All the treatments differ significantly (P<0.05) among them. T1 differ with T2, so also T2 and T3 likewise T4 and T5. This may be attributed to the bird’s effect in utilization and digestibility of phosphorus.


It was concluded that the use of Moringa oleifera seed meal (MOSM) can be used to improve digestibility of broiler finisher feed. Apparent digestibility of the feed could be improved especially at inclusion level of T2 (0.01%) of the diet. Subsequently, nutrient digestibility can be improved by addition of (MOSM). Digestibility can be enhance most especially at the inclusion level of 0.03%, 0.02%, 0.03%, and 0.04% for fibre, ether extract, ash, NFE, calcium and phosphorus digestibility respectively.


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