International Journal of Poultry Science 12 (1): 51-54, 2013
© Asian Network for Scientific Information, 2013
A study was conducted during the months of December-January involving sixty one week old broiler chickens, distributed into two experimental groups having three replicates of ten birds each. The birds of the first group were fed a basal diet (22.5% CP & 2830 K cal/kg ME) while the second group birds were fed a basal diet supplemented with a liver tonic, Superliv concentrate (Ayurvet Limited product) @ 50g/quintal. Body weight gain was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group at 2nd week, 3rd week, 4th week and 5th week of age. FCR was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group than control group during 1-4 wk period (1.9 vs 2.1) and 1-6 wk period (1.97 vs 2.17). Total immunoglobulins and mercaptoethanol resistant (IgG) antibody titer (log 2) values in response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group. Further, mercaptoethanol sensitive (IgM) antibody titer (log 2) values in response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) were apparently higher in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group. Cell mediated immune (CMI) response (foot web index) was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group. There was no significant difference in the nutrient retention between the Superliv concentrate group and control group. Hence, it may be concluded that Superliv concentrate may be added to broiler diet during winter to elicit growth performance and immunocompetence traits of commercial broilers.
Key words: Herbal supplementation, growth, immune response, nutrient retention
Antibiotics have been used at sub therapeutic levels for promoting the growth and immunity of birds. The possibility of developing resistant bacteria besides other side effects when antibiotics are used as growth promoters in farm animals have led to ban on use of most antibiotics as growth promoters in many countries. Therefore, an intensive search for alternatives such as phytobiotics and other feed additives has started in the last decade. Phytobiotics are plant derivatives such as herbs, plant extracts or spices and have a wide range of activities such as stimulation of feed intake, growth and endogenous secretions in the gut. They act as immunomodulators resulting in decreased mortality and also have coccidiostatic, anti-microbial, anthelminthic and anti-inflammatory activities.
Liver is an important organ involved in various metabolic pathways regulating growth and productivity in poultry. As liver has a wide range of functions, it is vulnerable to various diseases. Phytobiotics possess hepatoprotective and hepatogenic properties, which tone up liver resulting in increased nutrient utilization and better performance. Superliv concentrate contains herbs viz. Achyranthes aspera (Prickly Chaff Flower, Devil's Horsewhip, Apamarga), Andrographis paniculata (Green chirayta, King of bitters, Kalamegha), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Boerhaavia diffusa (Spreading Hogweed, Punarnava), Eclipta alba (False Daisy, Bhringaraj), Ichnocarpus frutescens (Black creeper, Utpalagopa), Terminalia chebula (Black myrobalan, Haritaki). These herbs have hepato-stimulant, hepato-protective, immunomodulatory and antioxidant activities (Sadekar et al., 1998; Manu and Kuttan, 2009; Michels et al., 2011, Dash et al., 2007). Further, they optimize digestion and metabolism resulting in better protein utilization, improved mucosal function and reduced cost of metabolic deamination. Andrographolide and 14-deoxy- 11, 12-didehydroandrographolide isolated from Andrographis paniculata inhibits free radical activities and lipid peroxidation. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation in meat prevents free radical production thereby preserving meat composition, colour and improvement in shelf life. In addition, it has been studied that Terminalia chebula helps to reduce stress (Selvakumar et al., 2007). Hence, a study was undertaken during the months of December-January to evaluate the efficacy of Superliv concentrate on the growth, immune response and nutrient retention of commercial broilers during extreme winter.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Sixty day old commercial broiler chicks (Cobb 400) were procured from a reputed poultry farm after having vaccinated against the Ranikhet disease (F1 Strain).
Primarily, the chicks were wing banded and then kept in deep litter system under standard management and hygienic condition for one week. The chicks were given standard starter ration for first half of the week on plain paper and then in the chick feeder up to the end of the week. At the end of the first week, these chicks were weighed individually and randomly divided in to two groups, each consisting of three replicates and ten chicks in each replicate. The groups were formed on the basis of average uniform body weights, discarding the extreme ranges of body weights. The birds were housed in deep litter system. Water was offered ad lib. The control group birds were fed a basal diet (22.5% CP & 2830 K cal/kg ME) while the other group birds were fed a basal diet supplemented with a liver tonic, Superliv concentrate (Ayurvet Limited product) @ 50g/quintal. Weekly body weight gain and FCR during 1-6 weeks was determined. After 6 weeks of age, general immune response were studied by taking 10 birds from each treatment group and measuring important immunocompetence traits such as antibody response to SRBC (Siegel and Gross, 1980), 2-mercaptoethanol resistant antibodies (MER or IgG) and mercaptoethanol sensitive antibodies (MES or IgM) against SRBC (Martin et al., 1989) and Cell mediated immune response (CMI) to PHA-P (Corrier and De Loach, 1990).
A metabolic trial was carried out after 6 weeks to study the effect of different feed additives on nutrient retention. Six representative birds of each group were housed individually in metabolic cages for 6 days and excreta of individual birds were collected. The feed intake and weight of excreta were recorded. Proximate analysis of the feed and excreta were done to estimate percent dry matter retention, percent crude protein retention, percent ether extract retention, percent calcium and phosphorus retention. All the data obtained were analyzed as per the standard statistical procedure (Snedecor and Cochran, 1994). Significant differences among treatment means were calculated as per DMRT test (Duncan, 1955).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Body weight gain:
Effect of Superliv concentrate on body weight gain of commercial broilers has been tabulated in Table 1. Body weight gain was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group at 2nd week, 3rd week, 4th week and 5th week of age. Our present findings pertaining to Superliv concentrate addition in broiler feed are in agreement with the reports of Samarsinghe and Went (2002), Cooper and Washburn (1998), Austic (1985), Njokue (1986), Kutlu and Forbes (1993), McKee and Harrison (1995) who also reported improvement in body weight gain when various herbs were added to broiler feed.
Feed conversion ratio:
FCR was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group than control group during 1-4 wk period (1.9 vs 2.1) and 1-6 wk period (1.97 vs 2.17) (Table 2). Rao et al. (1999) also concluded that administration of Zeetress, a polyherbal preparation containing Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, E. officinalis had a positive effect on feed conversion in chicken. Samarsinghe and Went (2002) and Kumar et al. (2005) noted significant improvement in feed efficiency of the birds when the diet was supplemented with turmeric in broilers. Njoku (1986); Sahota et al. (1992); Anwar et al. (2004); Lohakare et al. (2004); Sahin et al. (2004) reported significant improvement in feed efficiency in the birds when purified diet was supplemented with amla/ascorbic acid in stress.
Total immunoglobulins (7.67 vs 6.33) and mercaptoethanol resistant (IgG) (4 vs 3) antibody titer (log 2) values in response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group. Further, mercaptoethanol sensitive (IgM) (3.67 vs 3.33) antibody titer (log 2) values in response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) were apparently higher in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group. This is in corroboration with the findings of various scientists who also noted that phytobiotics or herbal supplementation stimulate immune system and have potent antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, cocciodiostatic and anthelminthic activity. Further, it has already been reported that certain mushroom and herb polysaccharides can be used in prevention of bacterial (Yuan et al., 1993), viral (Yu and Zhu, 2000) and parasitic disease (Pang et al., 2000) in chickens.
Superliv concentrate contains herbs viz. Andrographis paniculata, Boerhaavia diffusa and Eclipta alba that have potent immunomodulatory activities (Puri et al., 1993; Mathew and Kuttan, 1999; Manu and Kuttan, 2008; Mungantiwar et al., 1999; Christybapita et al., 2007). Hence, the humoral immune response was higher in the Superliv concentrate group.
Cell mediated immune (CMI) response (foot web index) was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the Superliv concentrate group compared to the control group (0.57 vs 0.45). Superliv contains Boerhaavia diffusa which modulates cell mediated immune response (Manu and Kuttan, 2008). Higher CMI response (foot web index) of commercial broilers at 6 weeks fed herbal supplements has also been reported by Tiwari (2008) and Goswami (2008).
Effect of Superliv concentrate on percent retention of dry matter, ether extract, crude protein, calcium and phosphorous of commercial broilers at 6 weeks of age has been tabulated in Table 4. There was no significant difference in the retention of percent dry matter, percent crude protein, percent ether extract, percent calcium and phosphorus between the two treatment groups.
Table 1: Effect of various liver tonic products on the average weekly weight gain (g) of commercial broilers during 1-6 week period
Table 2: Effect of various liver tonic products on the FCR of commercial broilers during 1-4 week, 4-6 week and 1-6 week period
Table 3: Effect of various liver tonic products on the humoral immune responses (response to SRBC) and cell mediated immune response (response to PHA-P) at 6 weeks of age
Table 4: Effect of various liver tonic products on percent retention of dry matter, ether extract, crude protein, calcium and phosphorous of commercial broilers at 6 weeks of age
It has been well documented that responses to a growth promoter depend on a variety of factors viz. product composition, malnutrition, stress condition, health of birds, challenge from variant strains of pathogens etc. When these factors exist, the beneficial effects of a feed additive may be significant. The results obtained in the present study indicate that the addition of Superliv concentrate to the diets of broilers during extreme winter had a beneficial effect on growth and immunity. Hence, addition of Superliv concentrate to broiler diet @ 50g/quintal during winter may augment growth performance and immune response of commercial broilers.
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