The investigation was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of herbal liver tonic (Superliv) in improving growth performance, nutrient utilization, carcass qualities and economics of broilers. The study was carried out on 375 one day-old commercial Vencobb400 broiler straight run chicks. The chicks were weighed and distributed randomly into three treatment groups viz. A, B and C with five replications of 25 chicks in each replicate. For treatment group A ration was prepared as per BIS (2007) and for treatment group B ration was formulated with reduced energy (2.5%) with supplementation of Superliv @ 500gm/tonne. Similarly, for treatment group C ration was formulated with reduced energy (5%) with supplementation of Superliv. @500gm/tonne. The findings with cumulative body weight gain, feed consumption, FCR and mortality for different treatments groups were found to be non-significant. There were non-significant differences among the treatment groups with respect to edible carcass yield, breast yield, heart, liver, gizzard, giblet weight. There were significant decrease in the values of SGOT and SGPT in Superliv supplemented groups at 42nd day. Significantly higher values for total serum protein and globulin at 42nd day for Superliv supplemented groups were noticed, however, the values for albumin for different groups were found to be non-significant. Significant improvement in the percent metabolizable energy and protein retention values in 2.5% energy reduction and supplementation of Superliv were recorded. An improvement in the percentage (%) retention of phosphorus was noticed in herbal liver tonic (Superliv) supplemented groups. It was concluded that Superliv @ 500 gm/tonne of feed was used efficiently for compensating the negative impact of decreased energy values in feed of broiler thereby improving the growth performance, nutrient utilization, carcass traits and economics of broiler production without any adverse effect on health of broilers.
The increase in demand for poultry meat has given momentum to use of synthetic compounds in a feed. This high cost of such compounds increases the cost of poultry feed. In addition to this, recently the safety of such practices has been questioned and their use is becoming restricted in many parts of the World. Therefore there is a great renewed interest in developing natural alternative supplements to maintain animal performance and wellbeing (Chattopadhyay, 2006).
Nature has provided natural plants with methionine in dipeptide and oligopeptide forms in readily digestible composition. In poultry, besides other vital organs, liver is the one which plays major role in building the foundation for successful performance of birds for optimum productivity and maximum profitability. The functions of liver are numerous like metabolism, circulation, detoxification, excretion, defense and haemopoiesis. Efficient liver functioning ensures effective digestion of feed, assimilation of nutrients, detoxification of metabolic, dietary, synthetic drugs (anthelmintic, antibiotic) linked toxins and also minimization of damaging effects of mycotoxins. Superliv premix is a polyherbal formulation of potent and highly efficacious pre-standardized and tested herbs. These herbs by virtue of their therapeutic action, for example, liver cell rejuvenating (hepatogenerative), hepato-stimulative, hepato-protective, anti-hepatotoxic and positive anabolic effect, tone up the liver of poultry birds for optimum performance and productivity, so that they can reach better growth and performance potential. Superliv is a liver formula for better protection and production. It has also, anti-oxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Superliv is herbal premix available in market. In this perspective, a study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of herbal Superliv (Superliv Concentrate Premix, supplied by M/S Ayurvet Limited, Baddi, HP, India) in commercial broiler chicken by reducing energy level by 2.5% and 5% in the diet.
Materials and Methods
The experiment was carried out at the Broiler Unit of Department of Poultry Science, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, (Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University), Parbhani (Maharasgtra), India.
Management of Experimental Birds
The experiment was carried out on (N=375) one day old commercial straight run broilers (Vencob400), from Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt. Ltd. Pune for a period of 42 days (6 weeks) from 28/12/2016 to 10/02/2017 at Broiler Unit, Department of Poultry Science, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, MAFSU, Parbhani. On arrival the chicks were weighed and distributed randomly into 3 treatment groups viz. A, B and C with five replicates of 25 chicks each and 125 birds per treatment. The birds were reared on deep litter housing system provided with an area of 1sq.ft./bird. The feed ingredients used in the present experiment were purchased from local market.
Table 1: Experimental design used for housing of broiler chicken supplemented with Superliv
|Treatment Groups||Treatment Group Details||No. of Birds/Pen/ Replication||No. of Replication||Total Birds|
|A||Control basal diet as per BIS (2007) (normal level of energy without supplementation of superliv)||25||5||125|
|B||Basal Diet with reduced ME 2.5% with supplementation of superliv @ 500gm/tonne||25||5||125|
|C||Basal Diet with reduced ME 5% with supplementation of superliv @ 500gm/tonne||25||5||125|
|Total number of birds||375|
Ingredients and Formulation of Experimental Rations
For treatment group A, rations were prepared as per BIS (2007) and treatment B ration, was formulated with reduced energy (2.5%) with supplementation of Superliv @ 500gm/tonne. For Treatment group C, the rations were prepared with reduced energy (5%) and supplementation of the Superliv @ 500gm/tonne (Table 1). The feed was prepared at Feed Mixing Plant, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, MAFSU, Parbhani. The diet composition and nutritional levels in the feed during pre-starter, starter and finisher are presented in Table 2. The pre-starter ration was offered for first eight days, starter ration was offered from 9th day up to end of 21st day of age and finisher ration was offered thereafter up to 42nd day of age. The cost of rearing the chicks for complete experiment was calculated by taking into consideration the cost of chick, cost of total feed consumed by bird, cost of litter, vaccination and medication expenses.
Data Collection and Parameters
The cumulative weight gain, feed consumption, FCR and mortality were recorded replicate-wise at weekly interval and from these data the average weekly weight gains per bird, feed consumption, FCR and mortality were calculated for various treatment groups. After 42 days of the experimental trial, ten representative birds form each treatment group were randomly selected and slaughtered to study various slaughter traits.
Table 2: Percent ingredient compositions of Pre-starter, starter and finisher rations supplemented with Superliv
|Feed||PS standard + energy reduction + Superliv Premix||Starter + energy reduction +||Finisher + energy reduction + Superliv Premix|
|PS SD||PS-2.5% (97.51)||PS-5% (95.02%)||S||S-2.5% (97.79%)||S||F||F||F|
|Toasted guar meal||8||8||8||8||8||8||2||2||2|
|Additives / supplements (gm/100kg )|
|C. Protein||22.81||22.81||22.81||21.41||21.41||21. 41||18.35||18.35||18.35|
|Feed cost/kg )||K27.87||26.88 (96.47%)||26.36
(PS= Pre starter diet, S = Starter diet, F = Finisher diet, SD = standard ration meta. = Metabolizable ); *Superliv was added to feed as per experimental plan shown in treatment details Characteristics of the product used Name : Superliv; Description: Herbal ingredients rich in free and conjugated form;Producer : M/S Ayurvet Limited, Baddi, HP, India
Blood samples were taken from 3 birds per pen (15 birds per treatment) at 21st day and 42nd day of trial, and sent to the Central Instrumentation and Analytical Facility, COVAS, Parbhani for analysis of following biochemical parameters using biochemical auto analyzer (ERBA Chem7). Total serum protein in each sample was determined with the help of UV visible Spectrometer as per the method described in diagnostic kit (Keller, 1991). The plasma AST and ALT were measured as per the method suggested by Schlebusch et al. (1974) as described in diagnostic Kit with the help of Microlab 200. A metabolic trial was carried out at the end of experimentation, for nutrients utilization. Five representative birds from each group were housed individually in the metabolic cages. Laboratory analysis of offered feed and excreta voided were done to estimate various parameters like utilization of percent metabolized energy, crude protein, calcium and phosphorus utilization. The cost of rearing the chicks for complete experiment was calculated by taking into consideration the cost of chick, cost of total feed consumed by bird, cost of litter material, vaccination, medication expenses etc. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis by using Factorial Randomized Block Design (Snedecor and Cochran, 2002). The treatment means were compared by critical differences (CD) and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results and Discussion
Cumulative Gain in Weight
An average means for the weekly cumulative weight gain of broiler chickens at different age groups are presented in Table 3.
Table 3: Cumulative gain in weight, feed consumption (gm) per bird of broilers at different age groups supplemented with Superliv
|Treatment group||Parameter||Cumulative Gain in Weight||Cumulative Feed Consumption|
The analysis of variance for the mean weekly cumulative body weight gain at 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th weeks showed significant differences among the treatment groups. Non-significant influence of Superliv on cumulative body weight gain was observed for 1st and 6th week. The critical observation of data indicated that sub-optimal treatment groups supplemented with Superliv were compensated the body weight to that of control group at 6th week of age. Non-significant influence of Superliv on cumulative body weight gain at 6th week are in contrast to the finding reported by Singh et al. (2009), Bikas et al. (2014) and Bhattacharyya et al. (2015), they revealed significant influence of herbal liver tonic on body weight gain, but in their study normal energy level diet was considered. It inferred that addition of Superliv in 2.5% and 5% sub-optimal diet resulted into compensation of cumulative gain in weight confirming efficacy of Superliv at par with that of control group.
Cumulative Feed Consumption
An average means for the cumulative feed consumption of broiler chickens at different age groups are presented in Table 3. The analysis of variance for the mean cumulative feed consumption at different week, showed significant differences (P< 0.05) from 2nd to 5th week, however the differences were non-significant in 6th week (Table 3). The significantly higher cumulative feed consumption (3724.64g) was recorded for Treatment group A, followed by Treatment group B, and C. Significantly low feed consumption was reported for Superliv supplemented with 5% sub-optimal diet in early phase, however, in 6th week the differences were found to be non-significant. It was revealed that there were no adverse effects of the herbal liver tonic on feed consumption, palatability and thereby performance of broiler birds. These findings are in accordance with reports of Bhattacharyya et al. (2015) who noticed non-significant influence with Superliv supplemented diets.
Cumulative Feed Conversion Ratio
The mean cumulative feed conversion ratio of broilers for different age groups has been presented in Table 4.
Table 4: Cumulative FCR and Mortality of broilers at different age groups supplemented with Superliv
|Treatment||Cumulative FCR at different weeks and overall mortality|
The mean weekly feed conversion ratio (1.72) up to 6th week for Superliv treatment groups are similar to that of control, indicated that supplementation of herbal liver tonic compensated FCR to that of control group. The analysis of variance showed non significant differences among the treatment groups, may be due to more release and balancing of energy by more activity of liver, thereby compensating the performance of birds. The feed conversion ratios of broiler for Superliv supplemented groups were similar to that of control group. These results are contrary to the findings of Singh et al. (2009), Bikas et al. (2014) and Bhattacharyya et al. (2015) as they carried out the experimentation with normal energy diets. The results of present study are in concomitance with those reported by Hung et al. (1992). Use of herbal growth promoters improved feed conversion ratio and feed efficiency because they have stomachic, appetitive, demulcent and tonic activity in addition to anabolic, adapto-genic, immune-stimulant and rejuvenative functions in the body (Narahari, 1995 and Prajapati, 1997). It was concluded that supplementation of Superliv @0.05 gm/kg of feed, improved feed utilization of commercial broiler birds which is beneficial to the farmers.
The mortality percent in the various treatment groups is presented in Table 4. The highest mortality was observed in treatment group A. However, the mortality was within normal range in different groups. Numerical increase in the mortality in treatment group A may be due to ascites. The patho-physiological changes observed under postmortem examination of dead bird did not attribute to the dietary treatments. It indicated that dietary supplementation of herbal tonic (Superliv) had no detrimental effect on survivability.
Edible Carcass Yield
An average mean for the edible carcass yield of broilers for different age groups at 42nd day are presented in Table 5. The analysis of variance showed non-significant differences among the treatment groups (Table 6). The non-significant differences among the treatment groups concluded that edible carcass yield produced by Superliv @ 0.05% are similar to that of control group without affecting the carcass yield.
Table 5: Carcass yield (%), breast yield (%), heart weight (gm) and liver weight (gm) of broilers in different groups supplemented with Superliv
|Carcass yield (%)||Breast yield (%)||Heart weight (gm)||Liver weight
Table 6: Analysis of variance for carcass yields (%), breast yields (%), heart weights (gm) and liver weights (gm) of broilers supplemented with Superliv
|Source||DF||Carcass yield (%)||Breast yield (%)||Heart weight (gm)||Liver weight (gm)|
|MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value|
An average mean for the percentage of breast yield of broilers for different age groups at 42nd day are presented in Table 5. The analysis of variance (Table 6) revealed low breast yield for Treatment group B, however, the differences were non-significant. The findings in the present study are in agreement with reports of Singh et al. (2009), Bikas et al. (2014) and Bhattacharyya et al. (2015), they reported that there were no significant differences in the percent dressing yield.
Heart and Liver Weight
An average mean for heart and liver weight of broilers for different age groups at 42nd day are presented in Table 5. The analysis of variance (Table 6) revealed non-significant differences in Heart and liver weights. It clearly inferred that there was no any adverse effect of herbal liver tonic (Superliv) on health of birds and it ensures effective metabolism, circulation, detoxification and excretion.
Gizzard and Giblet Weight
An average means for Gizzard and Giblet weight of broilers for different age groups at 42nd day are presented in Table 7. The analysis of variance (Table 8) revealed non-significant differences in Gizzard and Giblet weight. It inferred that there was no any adverse effect of herbal liver tonic on health of birds and it ensures effective metabolism, circulation, detoxification and excretion.
Table 7: Gizzard and giblet weight in broilers supplemented with herbal Superliv
|Gizzard Weight (gm)||Giblet Weight (gm)|
Table 8: Analysis of variance for gizzard and giblet weight of broilers supplemented with herbal superliv
|Source||DF||Gizzard weight (gm)||Giblet weight(gm)|
SGOT and SGPT
The mean serum values for SGOT and SGPT for different age groups at 21st day and 42nd day are presented in Table 9.
Table 9: SGOT and SGPT levels at different age of broilers supplemented with Superliv
|SGOT (u/l)||SGPT (u/l)|
|21st day||42nd day||21st day||42nd day|
The analysis of variance (Table 10) showed significant decreased values for SGOT and SGPT for Superliv supplemented groups at 42nd day except SGOT value at 21st day. This indicated Superliv efficacy or property of hepato-protective and liver tonic, it protected the liver from any damage thereby did not cause any liver dystrophy or other vital organ abnormality where from these enzymes are secreted. This was also witness that all the birds were apparently in healthy condition throughout the experimental period (Prabhakaran et al., 1996). These findings are in accordance with the reports of Bikas et al. (2014) and Akbarian et al. (2012), who have collected data in broiler chickens, showed no significant differences in the activities of AST, ALT and LDH enzymes on supplementation of herbs. It was concluded that Superliv facilitated efficient lipid metabolism without causing any liver dysfunction in broiler.
Table 10: Analysis of variance for SGOT and SGPT levels of broilers supplemented with Superliv
|21st day||42nd day||21st day||42nd day|
|MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value|
Total Serum Protein (gm %) and Albumin (gm %)
The mean serum values for total serum protein (gm %) and albumin (gm %) for different age groups at 21st day and 42nd day are presented in Table 11.
Table 11: Total serum protein (gm %), albumin (gm %) and globulin levels at different age of broilers supplemented with Superliv
|Treatment Group||Total serum protein (gm%)||Albumin (gm%)||Globulin (gm%)|
|21st day||42nd day||21st day||42nd day||21st day||42nd day|
The analysis of variance (Table 12) showed significant increased values for total serum protein at 42nd day for Superliv supplemented groups.
Table 12: Analysis of variance for total serum protein (gm %), Albumin (gm %) and Globulin levels of broilers supplemented with Superliv
|Source||DF||SGOT (u/l)||SGPT(u/l)||Globulin (gm%)|
|21day||42 day||21day||42 Day||21st Day||42nd day|
|MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value|
However, non- significant differences were observed at 21st day. The values for albumin (gm %) for different groups at 21st day and 42nd day were non-significant. Significant increase in the values of total serum protein at 42nd day for Superliv supplemented groups clearly indicated the effective functioning of liver. Similarly, non-significant influence revealed that the level of herbal Superliv did not have any effect on serum total albumin. In contrast to presented study, Bikas et al. (2014) reported that plasma concentrations of total protein (gm/dl) between both groups on day 21st and on day 42nd varies non significantly (P>0.05).
Globulin (gm %)
The mean serum values for Globulin (gm %) for different age groups at 21st day and 42nd day are presented in Table 11. The analysis of variance (Table 12) showed significant increase in globulin values for Superliv supplemented groups (B &C) at 42nd day. However, the differences were non-significant at 21st days. The significant effect increase in globulin values in Superliv supplemented groups 42nd day may be due to increase values of total serum protein. It inferred the effective functioning of liver for metabolism of protein.
Percent Metabolizable Energy and Protein Retention
The mean percent metabolizable energy protein retention values (42nd day) are presented in Table 13. The analysis of variance showed significant (P<0.05) increased values for treatment group B at 42nd day for energy and protein. Significant improvement in the percent metabolizable energy and protein retention in 2.5 % energy reduction and supplementation of superliv 500 gm/tonne indicated efficacy of herbal liver tonic (Superliv con.). The findings of Singh et al. (2009) are in accordance to present findings. They revealed that increase in the metabolizable energy, crude protein retention values indicate efficacy of herbal liver tonic product Superliv. The results in the present are similar to those of Ali et al. (1994). They observed higher feed efficiency in terms of energy retention in Livol fed broilers.
Table 13: Percent metabolizable energy and protein retention in broilers supplemented with herbal Superliv
|Treatment||Percent Metabolizable Energy Retention||Percent Retention Protein|
Values bearing different superscripts within a column are significantly (P<0.05) different
Percent Phosphorus and Calcium Retention
The mean percent metabolizable phosphorus and calcium retention values at 42nd day are presented in Table 14.
Table 14: Percent phosphorus and calcium retention in broilers supplemented with herbal Superliv
|Treatments||Percent Phosphorus Retention||Percent Calcium Retention|
The analysis of variance (Table 15) showed significant (P<0.01) decreased values for Treatment Group B at 42nd day for Superliv supplemented Treatment Groups. However, non-significant (P<0.05) decreased values for calcium was observed. There was a significant (P<0.01) improvement in the percentage (%) retention of phosphorus. However, there were no differences in control and treatment C for phosphorus and calcium retention values indicated no any adverse effect of herbal liver tonic product (Superliv) on phosphorus and calcium utilization.
Table 15: Analysis of variance for phosphorus and calcium retention in broilers supplemented with herbal Superliv
|Source||DF||Percent Phosphorus Retention||Percent Calcium Retention|
|MSS||‘F’ value||MSS||‘F’ value|
Economics of Broiler Production
The economics of broiler production (Table 16) showed that net profit per bird was significantly higher for Superliv supplemented groups, showing the highest return (Rs) in treatment group C (57.29) followed by treatment group B (55.78), treatment group A (53.97).
Table 16: Economics of broiler production supplemented with Superliv
|1||Cost of day old chick (Rs)||38||38||38|
|2||Feed consumption (gm)|
|3||Rate of feed (Rs/kg)|
|4||Cost of feed consumed (per bird Rs.)|
|Total cost of feed consumed per bird (Rs.)||85.23||81.9||79.33|
|5||Miscellaneous cost* (Rs)||6||6||6|
|6||Total cost of production (1+4+5)||91.23||87.9||85.33|
|7||Average live weight (gm)||2200.4||2177.28||2161.3|
|8||Return obtained @ Rs. 76 per kg live weight||145.2||143.68||142.62|
|9||Net profit/ bird (Rs)||53.97||55.78||57.29|
|10||Net profit/ kg LW(Rs)||24.53||25.62||26.51|
*Miscellaneous cost includes cost of medicines, vaccines, litter and other expenses including the cost of Superliv
This variation occurred mainly due to variation in feed cost, feed intake, weight gain and mortality. The findings are in agreement with by Singh et al. (2009), Bikas et al. (2014) and Bhattacharyya et al. (2015). They reported that Superliv supplementation gave better economic returns. An increase in the net profit per bird in treatment group B (3.35%) and C (6.15%) with supplementation of Superliv over control group with reduced energy level concluded that there was decreased cost of feed, thereby reduced cost of production and ultimately it has increased net profit compared to control group.
On the basis of all the findings, it can be concluded that supplementation of liver tonic product Superliv (supplied by Ayurvet limited Baddi, India) is efficacious for improving growth, performance and economic returns in broilers besides normalizing biochemical parameters. It indicated the property of hepatoprotective and liver tonic, it protected the liver from any damage thereby did not cause any liver dystrophy or other vital organ abnormality where from these enzymes are secreted. The product was found to be safe for usage and can be recommended as liver tonic and growth enhancer in poultry. From metabolic trial, revealed that Percent energy, protein and calcium, phosphorus retention were significant to highly significant in Superliv supplemented compared to that of control concluding that supplementation of Superliv @500gm/tonne of feed is beneficial for optimum feed utilization.
The authors are thankful to Dr. (Mrs.) S.B. Majee, Associate Dean, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, MAFSU, Parbhani for providing infrastructure facilities. The authors are also thankful to M/S Ayurvet Limited, Baddi, HP, India for sponsoring the research trial and Superliv Concentrate Premix sample.