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Abstract - Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1999

Chaya leaf meal (CLM) (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Mill.) Johnston) was evaluated as a poultry feed ingredient in a series of two pilot studies. In experiment I, diets containing 0, 25, 50 and 75 g CLM kg−1 were fed, ad libitum, to 480 day-old broiler chicks for a period of 8 weeks. Birds had free access to water. The concentration of CLM in the diet had no effect on feed consumption. Overall significant correlations were found between the concentrations of CLM in the diet and weight gain (r = −0.98) and feed : gain ratio (r = 0.99). The level of CLM in the diet was shown to be strongly correlated with the carcass dressing percentage (r = −0.97). Mortality rates of birds fed CLM-containing diets were markedly lower than those fed the chaya-free diet. Increased concentrations of red blood cells, haemoglobin, haematocrit and decreased total serum cholesterol as well as increased liver and heart weights were observed in birds fed diets containing high amounts of CLM. CLM could be included in chicks' diet at concentrations up to 25 g kg−1 without an adverse effect on performance. In experiment II, 240 broiler chicks were fed diets containing 0 or 25 g CLM kg−1 and with or without 100 g oil palm slurry (OPS) kg−1 from day-old to 8 weeks of age. The diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous but not isoenergetic. The OPS-containing diets were higher in energy content. Birds fed the OPS diet and the chaya leaf meal (CLM)-and oil palm slurry (OPS)-combined diet gained the highest (p<0.01) weight. The efficiency of feed utilisation was similar to that of body weight gains. Carcass dressing percentage followed the same trend. Furthermore, mortality rates of birds fed CLM-free diets were markedly higher than those fed the CLM-containing diets.