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Growth response and blood profile of broiler chickens fed differently processed small white melon (Cucumeropsis manni) seed meal in place of soybean meal

S O Omoikhoje, C A Odiase, K D Afetimokha and B O Abah

Department of Animal Science, Ambrose Alli University, P.M.B 14, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria
soomoikhojeaau@yahoo.com

Abstract

An eight weeks feeding trial was conducted with one hundred and fifty day-old unsexed broiler chickens using differently processed small white melon seeds (Cucumeropsis manni) as a substitute for soyabean. The chicks (Anak 2000 strain ) were randomly allotted to five treatment diets (Control: CTL, Water Cucumeropsis manni seed meal: SMW, Malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal: SMM, Ash Cucumeropsis manni seed meal: SMA, and Ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal: SMAM) with three replicates of ten birds each in a completely randomized design.Growth performance data of broiler chickens revealed that average live weight, daily weight gain and protein efficiency ratio (PER) were significantly (p< 0.05) better in broiler chickens that consumed SMAM. There were significant differences (p<0.05) in haemoglobin (Hb), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), monocytes, eosiinophils and basophils and none in packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell (RBC), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC), platelets, lymphocytes and neutrophils across the treatment groups. Serum globulin, total cholesterol and calcium differed (p<0.05) among the treatment groups but total protein, albumin, urea, creatinine, glucose and phosphorus did not. The overall result suggests that ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal (SMAM) could completely replace soyabean meal as plant protein source in the diets of broiler chickens without loss in growth performance and deleterious effect on the blood profile of the birds.

Key words: broilers, hematology, performance, serum chemistry, soaking


Introduction

Most developing countries of the world with Nigeria inclusive have not been able to meet the minimum protein intake of 35g/head/day recommended by Food and Agriculture organization (FAO 2009) due to the low level of animal protein production. Therefore, the need to increase livestock production in the country, especially animals that are highly prolific with rapid growth rate at very low cost such as poultry has become imperative (Udeh et al 2015). Meanwhile, the high cost of feed which is the most vital input in a profitable poultry venture representing about 70 to 80% of the total cost of production has remained unabated. This is ascribable to the high cost of imported conventional feed resources such as maize and soyabean. For instance, despite the projected increase in domestic soyabean output in Nigeria from 9.1% (1.15 million tons) in 2019/2020, the import demand still rose to 31% (85,000 million tons) in the same year (Rob 2019). Therefore, developing countries must look inward for cheaper, locally and readily available and under utilized alternative feed resources for maximizing the productivity of birds and promoting the quality of their products. In a bid to combat this challenge, the use of unconventional, cheaper, locally available and nutritionally viable alternative feedstuffs in compounding poultry feed has remained the central focus of the research efforts by Animal nutritionists (Akpodiete 2008; Duru 2010).

One of such alternatives is the small white melon seed ( Cucumeropsis manni) which belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is a climber that grows in wet humid climate, particularly in the south western Nigeria. The plant grows best in a soil rich in manure or partially decomposed organic matter and usually sown at the onset of rainy season and can be harvested in 6-8 months later. Under extensive management when planted around remaining trunks of trees, seed yield can be up to 300kilos per hectare but under intensive cropping systems where land has been cleared and burnt before cultivation; seed yield can be up to 900kilos per hectare (Burkil 2004). This small white melon seed is grown mostly as an oil rich seed crop and it is also a source of dietary proteins (Badiru et al 1991). The seeds may be eaten as snacks, either as whole toasted seeds or as fried cake prepared from milled seeds (Ogbonna et al 2000). Chemical composition of Cucumeropsis manni revealed that the seeds contain 53% oil, 28% protein and some other important nutrients ( Oyolu 1997). Ojieh et al (2008) reported a crude fat of 45.7%, crude protein 23.4%, and stated that it is valuable nutritionally and medically and could serve as a good source of essential amino acid such as arginine, isoleucine, leucine, protein, lipids and calcium. Cucumeropsis manni is a good source of dietary oil and protein (Fokou et al 2004). Despite the crops obvious advantages, it remains an underutilized tool for nutritional intervention in Africa and there is dearth of information on the nutritive value of the legume in poultry feeding. The objective of this study is to determine the extent to which the replacement of soyabean meal with differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal can affect the growth and blood profile of broiler chickens.


Materials and method

Location and duration of the study

The experiment was carried out at the Poultry Unit of the Teaching and Research Farm, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma for a period of eight (8) weeks. The farm lies between latitude 6.44oN and longitude 6.80 oE in Esan West Local Government Area, Ekpoma, Edo State of Nigeria and has a prevailing tropical climate with a mean rainfall of about 1556mm per annum. The mean ambient temperature ranges from 26oC in December and 34oC in February, relative humidity ranges from 61% in January to 92% in August with yearly average of about 82%. The vegetation represents an interface between the tropical rainforest and derived savanna.

Sources of ingredients and raw materials

Enough quantity of the small white melon seeds used for the feeding trial was purchased from Auchi open market, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. Other feed ingredients for the study were purchased from Ekpoma. The wood ash was obtained from burnt woody plant materials collected around the vicinity of the experimental area.

Preparation of wood ash extract

A quantity (10kg) of wood ash was dissolved in 20 litres of water and was allowed to stay for 24 hours. The wood ash solution was sieved and the pH adjusted to 8.5 using the digital hand pH meter to produce the wood ash extract.

Processing of Cucumeropsis manni seeds

The raw seeds were washed with distilled water and allowed to pass through four different processing methods: (i) soaking in clean cold water for 48 hours designated as water Cucumeropsis manni seed meal (SMW) in a plastic container at room temperature (ii) soaking in water for 48 hours in a plastic container, spread on jute mat and allowed for germination at room temperature for five days designated as water Cucumeropsis manni seed meal (SMW) (iii) soaking in wood ash extract for 48 hours designated as ash (SMA) in a plastic container at room temperature (iv) soaking in wood ash extract for 48 hours in a plastic container, spread on jute mat and allowed for germination at room temperature for five (5) days designated as ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal (SMAM). Thereafter, the samples were sun dried for 5days at atmospheric temperature range of 27 - 290C. All samples were milled using a hammer mill to pass through a sieve of 0.5mm.

Experimental diets

A total of five (5) experimental broiler starter and finisher diets were formulated. SMW: Water Cucumeropsis manni seed meal, SMM: Malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal, SMA: Ash Cucumeropsis manni seed meal, SMAM: Ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal.

Diet one (1) served as control and was formulated to contain 100% soyabean, while diets 2,3,4 and 5 were formulated to contain differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal as complete replacement for soyabean meal.

All the diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous (23% and 21%) and isocaloric (2800 and 3000ME kcal/kg) at both phases (Tables 1 and 2) to meet the nutrient requirement of broiler chickens (NRC 1994).

Table 1. Gross composition of the experimental starter diets

Ingredient (%)

Dietary Treatments

CTL

SMW

SMM

SMA

SMAM

Maize

55.0

35.0

31.5

35.0

34.0

Soyabean meal

36.0

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

SMW

0.00

56.0

0.00

0.00

0.00

SMM

0.00

0.00

56.0

0.00

0.00

SMA

0.00

0.00

0.00

57.0

0.00

SMAM

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

58.0

Fish meal

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Wheat offal

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

Bone meal

2.50

2.50

2.50

2.50

2.50

*Premix (min andvits)

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

DL-Methionine

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

DL-lysine

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

Salt

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

Total

100

100

100

100

100

Calculated analysis

Crude protein

22.7

22.5

22.6

22.5

22.6

Metabolizable energy (Kcal/kg)

2900

2945

2899

2875

2898

* Vitamin-Mineral premix (Bio-mix) provided per kg include the following: Vitamin A 500 IU; Vitamin D3, 888,000 iu; Vitamin E, 12,200mg; Vitamin K3 12,000mg; Vitamin B1, 100mg; B2, 200mg; B6, 1500mg; Nacin, 1200mg; Pantothenic acid, 2000mg; Biotic, 100mg Vitamin B12, 3000mg; folic acid, 1500mg; Chlorine chloride, 60,000mg; Manganese, 10,00mg, Iron, 1500mg; Zinc, 800mg; Copper, 400mg; Iodine, 80mg; cobalt, 40mg; Selenium, 8000 mg


Table 2. Gross composition of the experimental finisher diets

Ingredient (%)

Dietary Treatments (T)

CTL

SMW

SMM

SMA

SMAM

Maize

60.0

40.0

40.0

40.0

40.0

Soyabean meal

31.0

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

SMW

0.00

51.0

0.00

0.00

0.00

SMM

0.00

0.00

51.0

0.00

0.00

SMA

0.00

0.00

0.00

51.0

0.00

SMAM

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

51.0

Fish meal

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Wheat offal

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

Bone meal

2.50

2.50

2.50

2.50

2.50

*Premix (min and vits)

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

DL-Methionine

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

DL-lysine

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.02

Salt

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

Total

100

100

100

100

100

Calculated analysis

Crude protein (%)

20.8

21.4

20.8

20.7

20.5

Metabolizable energy (Kcal/kg)

2999

3109

3001

3004

3008

* Vitamin-Mineral premix (Bio-mix) provided per kg include the following: Vitamin A 500 IU; Vitamin D3, 888,000 iu; Vitamin E, 12,200mg; Vitamin K3 12,000mg; Vitamin B1, 100mg; B2, 200mg; B6, 1500mg; Nacin, 1200mg; Pantothenic acid, 2000mg; Biotic, 100mg Vitamin B12, 3000mg; folic acid, 1500mg; Chlorine chloride, 60,000mg; manganese, 10,00mg, Iron, 1500mg; Zinc, 800mg; Copper, 400mg; Iodine, 80mg; cobalt, 40mg; Selenium, 8000mg
Experimental birds, management and design

A total of 150 day old Anak 2000 broiler chickens were used for the experiment. Thirty (30) birds were randomly selected based on their mean initial weights to each of the treatment diets. The experimental design was a completely randomized consisting of five (5) treatments and each treatment was replicated three (3) times with ten (10) birds per replicate. The birds were reared on a deep litter system. Routine management practices such as vaccination, medication, ventilation and adequate spaces were carried out.

Performance study

During the feeding trial the broiler chickens were weighted at the beginning of the experiment and subsequently on a weekly basis. Weight changes and feed consumption were recorded weekly, where weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) were estimated to assess the growth performance of the birds.

Haematological and serum biochemical studies

At the end of the feeding trial, fresh blood samples were collected with sterile syringe and needles from the wing vein of two chickens randomly selected from each replicate into two (2) bottles per chicken. One sample from each chicken was collected into bottles containing ethylene diaminetetratacetic acid (EDTA) for haematological determination, while another sample was collected into heparinized tubes for serum biochemistry determination. The hematological parameters determined were packed cell volume (PCV) hemoglobin (Hb), red blood cell (RBC), white blood cell (WBC) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). The serum biochemical parameters that were determined included: total protein, albumin glucose, cholesterol and urea (Jain 1993), creatinine, calcium and phosphorus (Young 2001).

Statistical Analysis

Data generated were subjected to a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and treatment means with significant differences were compared using the Duncan’s multiply range test (DMRT) as outlined by Steel and Torrie (1990) using SPSS (2014) IBM version 20.


Results and discussion

Data in Table 3 depict the effect of the dietary treatments on live weight, weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) of broiler chickens.

Live weight was significantly (p<0.05) higher (2.15kg/bird) in broiler chickens placed on SMAM compared to other treatment groups.

In the same vein, broiler chickens fed SMAM had a better weight gain (64.9g/bird) than birds on other treatment groups. The live weight and weight gain of broiler chickens maintained on SMA (1.80 and 62.3g), SMM (1.90kg and 61.8g), SMW (1.88kg and 61.4g) were comparable to 1.94kg and 62.7g among birds in the CTL. Feed intake of broiler chickens did not vary (p>0.05) among the treatment groups and the values ranged from 119g/bird in SMAM to 120g/bird in the CTL. FCR values of broiler chickens ranged from 1.85 in SMAM to 1.95 in SMW and were not influenced by the treatments. Broiler chickens maintained on the test diets SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM) had better (p<0.05) PER of 2.92, 2.95, 2.97 and 2.98% than those on the CTL  (2.65%). The better improvement in live weight, weight gain, FCR and PER of broiler chickens maintained on the test diets compared to those of the soyabean meal based diet CTL could be ascribed to the proper replacement of soyabean meal with processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal. This is concurrence with the report of Emenalom et al (2011) to the effect that the inclusion of fermented Alchornea cordifolia seed meal was effective in improving the live weight and weight gain of broiler chickens. This observation is in tandem with those of Anyaegbu et al (2018) and Onunkwo et al (2019) who reported better weight gain, feed intake, FCR and carcass traits of broiler chickens fed processed African yam bean meal in place of soyabean meal at starter and finisher phases respectively. Recently, it was asserted that up to 10% of maize in broiler chicken diets can be substituted with dried cashew fruit pulp with no loss of performance as measured by growth rate, FCR and carcass conformation (Yisa and Longe 2020).

Table 3. Performance indices of broiler chickens as affected by the treatments at the finisher phase

Indices

Treatment groups

SEMħ

p

CTL

SMW

SMM

SMA

SMAM

Live weight (Kg/bird)

1.94b

1.88b

1.90b

1.86 b

2.15a

0.03

.015

Daily weight gain (g/bird)

62.7b

61.4b

61.8b

62.3b

64.9a

0.46

.795

Daily feed intake (g/bird)

120

120

120

119

119

1.03

.455

Feed conversion ratio

1.92

1.95

1.94

1.92

1.85

0.02

.009

Protein efficiency ratio

2.65b

2.92a

2.95a

2.97a

2.98a

0.03

.002

ab: Means in the same rows with varying superscript differ significantly (p< 0.05)

Haematological indices are indirect pointers to the health status of livestock (Jain 1993) therefore; any abnormality in the haematology of the cell could have negative effect on the physiological functions of the animal’s body. In the present study, the haematological parameters measured were not affected (p>0.05) by the dietary treatments except Hb, MCV, monocytes, eosinophils and basophils that were significantly ( p<0.05) influenced (Table 4). The non-significant (p >0.05) variation in the packed cell volume (PCV) which ranged between 23.9 and 26.3% attested to the good physiological state of the broilers because PCV is an indicator of blood dilution (Cole 1986). Hb concentration showed significant differences (p<0.05) with the highest value (12.9g/dl) recorded in SMW and lowest value (10.4g/dl) in SMAM. However, the value (12.7g/dl) obtained in the CTL was not different from that of SMW (12.9g/dl) and that recorded in SMM (11.4g/dl) was similar to 10.7g/dl recorded in SMA. This observation is in tandem with that of Ewa et al (2017) who fed broiler chickens with processed Mucuna seed meal. The normal hemoglobin concentration in the blood of the broiler chickens could be ascribed to the normal transportation of oxygen from the respiratory organs to the peripheral tissues and subsequent excretion of carbon dioxide. It could also be associated with high feed intake and good quality of the test diets because abnormal values of Hb are closely linked to low feed intake and poor quality of diets (Mitruka and Rawnsley 1977; Ross et al 1978). Respective values of 4.98 and 50.9x106/l, 4.78 and 46.8x106/l, 4.78 and 54.5x106/l, 4.74 and 53.6x10 6/l, 4.75 and 53.4x106/l for RBC and WBC were recorded in broiler chickens that had CTL, SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM. Although, these values contravened that of Oko et al (2017) who observed variations in the values of RBC and WBC of broiler chickens fed toasted Afzelia Africana seed meal but fell within the recommended reference values of RBC (4.50-5.90x106/l) and WBC (40.0-110x10 6/l for broiler chickens (Jain 1993). MCV results of broiler chickens were highest (p<0.05) in SMA (145fl) and SMAM (145fl) followed by 142fl in SMW, 140fl in CTL and least (136fl) in SMM. Broiler chickens that ate SMA and SMAM, SMW and CTL had comparable values of MCV to one another. Though, MCV values of broiler chickens were significantly ( p<0.05) varied by the dietary treatments but all the values were within the recommended standard reference values (113-144fl) for broiler chickens (Talebi et al 2005). This portends the fact that the dietary treatments met the birds nutritional requirements which means there was no macrocytic or microcytic anaemia. This is because a low or high MCV may be due to iron deficiency, hemoglobin disorders such as thalassemia and anaemia due to blood cell destruction or bone marrow disorders, liver and chronic lungs diseases (Jaime and Howlett 2008). Ranges of 44.9 – 45.4pg and 32.0 – 35.0g/dl for MCH and MCHC respectively were recorded in broiler chickens raised on the dietary treatments. MCH values were within the recommended range of 23 – 47pg for avian species reported by Bounous and Stedman (2000). In the same vein, the values of MCHC recorded in this study coincided with the range of 29.3ħ0.17-36.9ħ0.25g/dl obtained by Nihad et al (2017). The non significant (p>0.05) variations in the values of MCH and MCHC of broiler chickens maintained on the dietary treatments signify the absence of hypochromasia. Platelets of broiler chickens were 24.5, 25.5, 26.5, 25.5 and 24.0x103mm3 respectively for CTL, SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM. The similarities in the values irrespective of the dietary treatments may be due to the fact that the organs were functional and there was no sign of failure. This is because significant reduction of platelets had been adduced to organ failure which subsequently leads to toxicity or death of the animal.

Table 4. Haematological indices of broiler chickens fed the dietary treatments

Indices

Treatment groups

SEMħ

p

CTL

SMW

SMM

SMA

SMAM

PCV (%)

23.9

23.9

23.9

26.3

26.3

1.25

.987

Hb (g/µ)

31.7a

30.9a

26.4b

25.5b

23.4c

0.51

.189

RBC (x109/l)

4.98

4.78

4.87

4.74

4.75

0.01

.173

WBC (x102/l)

50.9

46.8

54.5

53.6

53.4

2.52

.789

MCV (fl)

140ab

142ab

136c

145a

145a

1.94

.036

MCH (pg)

44.9

45.4

45.4

45.2

45.2

0.31

.180

MCHC (g/µ)

33.9

32.0

35.0

34.1

34.1

0.90

.021

Platelets (x103mm3)

24.5

25.5

26.5

25.5

24.0

1.55

.188

Lymphocytes (%)

85.1

83.2

86.8

87.8

87.4

2.49

.807

Monocytes (%)

1.90b

2.25ab

2.80a

2.75a

2.60a

.002

.069

Neutrophils (%)

9.75

11.9

9.75

6.80

7.65

2.02

.004

Eosinophils (%)

0.70a

0.80a

0.60a

1.00a

0.00

0.17

.000

Basophils (%)

0.70a

0.00c

0.40b

0.00c

0.00c

0.08

0.00

ab: Means in the same rows with varying superscript differ significantly (p< 0.05)

Results of lymphocytes of broiler chickens were 85.1, 83.2, 86.8, 87.8 and 87.4% in CTL, SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM respectively. Monocytes values were significantly (p<0.05) higher in broiler chickens that consumed SMM (2.80%), SMA (2.75%), SMAM (2.60%) and SMW (2.25%) compared to their counterparts in the CTL (1.90%). Neutrophils of birds ranged from 6.60% in SMA to 11.9% in SMW. Eosinophils of broiler chickens were higher significantly (p<0.05) in SMA (1.00%), SMW(0.80%), CTL (0.70%), SMM (0.60%) and least (0.00%) in SMAM. Basophils followed a similar trend with the highest (p<0.05) value (0.70%) recorded in birds on the CTL group and lowest in birds that had SMM (0.40%), SMW (0.00%), SMA (0.00%) and SMAM (0.00%). It is pertinent to note that the values of leucocytes (WBC), neutrophils and lymphocytes of broiler chickens in the present study all fell within the normal ranges (Mitruka and Rawnsley 1977) which implies that the immune system of the birds was not affected by the dietary treatments. This is because the immune status of an animal is a function of leucocytes, neutrophils and lymphocytes. Lymphocytes play vital roles in immune defense system of animals (Ameen et al 2007) and increase in neutrophils and lymphocytes ratio is a good indicator of stress which could be adduced to nutritional stress (Minka and Ayo 2007). This is why most immunological abnormalities observed in malnutrition are usually corrected after nutritional rehabilitation (Ameen et al 2007).

The serum biochemical indices assayed in this study (Table 5) revealed that globulin, cholesterol and calcium levels of broiler chickens were significantly (p<0.05) influenced by the dietary treatments, while total protein, albumin, urea, creatinine, glucose and phosphorous were not. Total protein and albumin values of broiler chickens were 2.60 and 1.60g/dl, 2.50 and 1.50g/dl, 2.51 and 1.31g/dl, 2.50 and 1.50g/dl, 2.90 and 1.40g/dl for CTL, SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM, respectively. Globulin value was significantly (p<0.05) highest (1.50g/dl) in birds that had SMAM and SMM (1.20g/dl) compared to other treatment groups. However, the values obtained in birds placed on SMM (1.20g/dl), SMA (1.00g/dl), SMW (1.00g/dl) and CTL (1.00g/dl) were statistically similar. The non significant variation in the values of total protein and albumin of birds irrespective of the treatment groups and the comparable values of globulin in birds on the test diets compared to that of the CTL signifies the adequacy of protein in the dietary treatments and were efficiently utilized by the birds. It also implies that the birds were of good health condition because total protein and albumin are used to measure the biosynthetic function of the liver as it is the primary site for the synthesis of plasma proteins (Hoferberge and Block 1996). This observation coincided with that of Akinsanmi et al (2020) who fed broiler chickens with differently processed rubber seed meal as a substitute to soyabean meal. Urea and creatinine values of broiler chickens were not significantly (p<0.05) varied across the dietary treatments. Urea values ranged from 5.00mg/dl in SMA to 7.00mg/dl in CTL, while creatinine values ranged from 0.20mg/dl in CTL to 0.40mg/dl in SMAM. The non significant (p>0.05) variation in the concentration of urea and creatinine of broiler chickens across the treatment groups underpinned the reports of Arigbodo et al (2020) and Akinsanmi et al (2020) to the effect that the urea and creatinine concentrations of broiler chickens were not affected by ethanolic leaf extract of Chrysophyllum albidium and differently processed rubber seed meal respectively. The observed results in the present study underscore the assertion that the dietary treatments were of good protein quality as both serum urea and creatinine are indicators of protein quality of a ration. In addition, serum urea and creatinine concentrations can also be used as markers of renal function and whence their high concentration in the serum portrays renal malfunction or failure.

Table 5. Serum biochemical indices of broiler chickens fed the dietary treatments

Indices

Treatment groups

SEMħ

p

CTL

SMW

SMM

SMA

SMAM

Total protein (g/dl)

2.60

2.50

2.51

2.50

2.90

0.13

.000

Albumin (g/dl)

1.60

1.50

1.31

1.50

1.40

0.14

.166

Globulin (g/dl)

1.00b

1.00b

1.20ab

1.00b

1.50a

0.01

.003

Urea (mg/dl)

7.00

7.00

6.00

5.00

6.00

0.45

.098

Creatinine (mg/dl)

0.20

0.30

0.40

0.30

0.40

0.06

.620

Cholesterol (mg/dl)

103c

130a

98.0d

123b

100cd

1.96

.065

Glucose (mg/dl)

157

181

177

153

149

20.7

.103

Calcium (mg/dl)

10.4c

11.3ab

10.9bc

11.5a

11.7a

0.22

.183

Phosphorous (mg/dl)

6.10

6.40

6.30

6.30

6.20

0.06

.371

abc: Means in the same rows with varying superscript differ significantly (p< 0.05)

Serum cholesterol level of broiler chickens that ate SMW was significantly (p<0.05) higher (130mg/dl) compared to those on other treatment groups, followed by 123mg/dl obtained in birds on SMA and least (98.0mg/dl) in SMM. Meanwhile, the cholesterol values recorded in CTL (103mg/dl) and SMAM(100mg/dl), SMM (98.0mg/dl) and SMAM (100mg/dl) were comparable to one another. Nonetheless, all the values fell within the recommended standard range of 74.5 – 182mg/dl for broiler chickens (Bahman et al 2011). The lower and comparable serum cholesterol values of broiler chickens on the test diets to that the control group in this study attest to the fact that processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal is a good alternative feedstuff to soyabean meal. Glucose levels of broiler chickens were the same across all the treatment groups with respective values of 157, 181, 177, 153 and 149mg/dl in CTL, SMW, SMM, SMA and SMAM. This observation is in tandem with the reports of Ukpabi et al (2015) and Esiegwu (2017) who fed broiler chickens with raw Adenanthera pavonina seed meal and fermented sorghum seed meal respectively but negates that of Ukorebi et al (2019) who fed broiler chickens with graded levels of Gongronema latifolia. Calcium levels of broiler chickens were significantly (p<0.05) elevated by the differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal  compared to those on the CTL group, while the phosphorus values were statistically the same in birds across the treatment groups. This implies that the differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal  had adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus to supply to the birds, an indication of proper osmotic and electrolyte balance in the body fluid of the birds (Machebe et al 2009) and normal development of their skeletal tissues.


Conclusion

There was a significant improvement in the growth performance characteristics of broiler chickens as the differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal replaced soyabean meal. The best growth performance was recorded in birds that had ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal, therefore it can be used as a replacement for soyabean meal in broiler chicken diet. The haematological and serological indices of broiler chickens revealed similar responses across the treatment groups which suggest that soyabean meal and differently processed Cucumeropsis manni seed meal  had similar effects on the health status of the birds. Therefore, ash malted Cucumeropsis manni seed meal could completely replace soyabean meal as plant protein source in the diets of broiler chickens without loss in growth performance and deleterious effect on the blood profile of the birds.


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