Fenugreek for Broiler Chickens

Utilization of Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) as Growth Promoter for Broiler Chickens

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The aim of the experiment was to compare the production performance of broiler chickens when fed a conventional standard feed and the same feed supplemented with Fenugreek seeds. One hundred and twenty (120) a-day old male broiler chicks of the strain ISA-15, were divided into 2 equal groups; a control group (A) and an experimental group (B), with six replicates of 10 chicks each per group (6×10) in a completely randomized design. The control group received a classic feed based on maize and soybean meal and the experimental group was fed with the same control feed without antibiotic and coccidiostatic and supplemented with Fenugreek seeds at (3g/kg of feed). Fenugreek seeds supplementation significantly (p<0.05) affected Live body weight (LBW), feed intake (FI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR), however, there is no significant difference (P>0.05) for the slaughters parameters (dressing percentage, carcass length) and mortality.

Keywords: Broiler chickens, Feed additive, Fenugreek and Growth promoter


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is a well known medicinal plant that grows in nature and mainly cultivated in India, Pakistan and China. Fenugreek seeds have many therapeutic effects like hypoglycemic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and antimicrobial properties (Bash et al, 2003). It contains neurin, biotin, trimethylamine which tends to stimulate the appetite by their action on the nervous system (Al Habori and Roman, 2002).

Fenugreek is a good source of dietary protein for consumption by human and animals, and of fatty acids which are predominantly linoleic, linolenic, oleic and palmitic (Schryver, 2002). Also it contains many carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins (Michael and Kumawat, 2003). Based on the worth mentioning values of Fenugreek, a research study was designed to explore its effects as growth promoter of broiler chicks.

Several investigators reported that using medicinal plants in broiler diets improved body weight gain and feed conversion efficiency and reduced the cost of feed (Azoua, 2001; Abdel-Azeem, 2006; Farman Ullah et al, 2009). Thus, the objective of the present study was to investigate the impact of Fenugreek seeds as natural feed additives on the performance of broiler chicks. 


The aim of the experiment was to compare the effects of Fenugreek seeds supplemented to broiler chickens diets on the production performance.

One hundred and twenty (120) a-day old male broiler chicks (ISA 15) were purchased from a local hatchery and divided into 2 equal groups; a control group (A) and an experimental group (B), with six replicates of 10 chicks each per group (6×10) in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The control group receiving diet 1; a classic feed based on maize and soybean meal (Table 1) and the experimental group was fed diet 2, which is the same control feed without antibiotic and coccidiostatic and supplemented with Fenugreek seeds at (3g/kg of feed).

Diet 1(control group -A) = basal diet with antibiotic (enrofloxacin, 10 mg/kg feed)) and coccidiostatic (salinomycin, 10 mg/kg feed)

Diet 2(experimental group-B) = basal diet with Fenugreek seeds at (3g/kg feed).

During the experimental period, the following performance parameters were monitored: live body weight (LBW) at the 3rd and 6th week of age, feed intake (FI) daily, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and mortality rate. At 6 weeks old, 30 broilers from each feeding group were chosen on the basis of the mean body weight, slaughtered and then dissected in order to determine their carcass dressing percentage and carcass length.

Statistical analysis was performed by SPSS 15.0. The differences were tested by the analysis of variance (ANOVA), and were considered significant at P <0.05. 


Table 2 shows that broiler chicks fed diet supplemented with Fenugreek seeds at 3g/kg of feed, had the highest values (p<0.05) of live body weight (LBW) at 21 and 42 days of age. The improvement in body weight may be due to the presence of the fatty acids (Murray et al, 1991), or due to stimulating effect on the digestive system of broilers (Hernandez et al, 2004). These findings were in agreement with those of Azoua (2001) who noted that adding Fenugreek to broiler diet resulted in an increased body weight.

Also Table 3 indicates that feeding of Fenugreek seeds supplemented diet significantly (p<0.05) affected feed intake (FI) value during 42 days of age, while there appeared no significant differences (P>0.05) when broiler chicks fed fenugreek seed during the 21 days of age as compared with control group. The improvement in feed intake with the addition of fenugreek seed could be attributed to the carbohydrates and their main component (galactomannan) which stimulated the appetizing and digestive process in animals (Steiner, 2009).

Data presented in Table 3, showed that fenugreek seeds significantly (p<0.05) affected Feed Conversion Ratio during the 42 days of age. This is related to the development of the broiler chicks' gut. Morphological changes of gastrointestinal tissues can be induced by differences in gut load of microbial content including their metabolites (Xu et al, 2003).

Results presented in Table 3 indicated that feeding 3g/kg of fenugreek seeds insignificantly (P>0.05) affected slaughters parameters (dressing percentage and carcass length) and mortality. These results agree with the findings of Abaza (2001), Guo et al. (2004) and Farman Ullah et al. (2009). 


The forementioned results confirm the beneficial use of Fenugreek seeds (3g/kg) in broiler chicken diets, as it increases production performances. Fenugreek can be an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters and is highly recommended as feed supplement.

Table 1: Composition of the basal diets


Table 2: Feed intake, live body weight and feed conversion ratio at 21 and 42 days of age (mean±se)


Table 3: Carcass characteristics at 42 days of age and mortality rate of broiler chickens




Abaza IM (2001). The use of some medicinal plants as feed additive in broiler diets. Ph D Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Egypt

Abdel-Azem F (2006). Effect of using fenugreek and fennel seeds as natural feed additives on performance of broiler chicks. Egyptian Journal of Nutrition and Feeds, 9: 277-297

Al-Habori M and Roman A (2002). Pharmacological properties in fenugreek-The genus Trigonella. 1st Edn. by G.A. Petropoulos (Ed), Taylor and Francis, London and New York, 10, 163-182

Azoua HM (2001). Effect of hot pepper and fenugreek seeds supplementation on broiler diets. Ph D Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Egypt

Bash E, Ulbricht C, Kuo, G, Szapary P et Smith M (2003). Therapeutic applications of fenugreek. Alternative Medecine Review, 8: 20-27

Faman Ullah, K, Durrani FR, Asad S, Rifat Ullah K and Shabana N (2009). Effects of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seed extract on visceral organs of broiler chicks. ARPN Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science, 4, 1: 58-60

Guo FC, Kwakel CRP, Soede J, Williams BA et Verstegen MW (2004). Effect of a Chinese herb medicine formulation, as an alternative for antibiotics, on performance of broilers. British Poultry Science, 45: 793-797

Hernandez AI, Madrid J, Garcia V, Orengo J et Meglas MD (2004). Influence of two plant extracts on broiler performances, digestibility and digestive organs size. Poultry Science, 83: 169-174

Michael D and Kumawat D (2003). Legend and archeology of fenugreek, constitutions and modern applications of fenugreek seeds. International Sympozium, USA, pp 41-42

Murray RK, Granner DK, Mayes PA et Rodwell VW (1991). The Text Book of Harpers Biochemistry. 22 Edn. Applecton and large. Norwalk, Connecticut/Loss Altos, California.

Schryver T (2002). Fenugreek. Total Health, 24: 42-44.

Steiner T (2009). Phytogenics in Animal Nutrition. Natural Concepts to Optimize Gut Health and Performance. Nottingham University Press.

This article was originally published in the J. World's Poult. Res. 2(2): 25-27, 2012.

Dr. Nadir Alloui holds a Doctor of Veterinary obtained the National Veterinary School of Algiers in 1979. He specialized (PhD) in poultry hygiene at the University of Agricultural (SGGW) Warsaw in Poland. Worked as a practitioner in the Department of Agricultural Division, Batna (Algeria). Since 1984 he is teacher and researcher at the Institute of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, University of Batna. Founding member and president of the WPSA branch-Algeria.
Mohamed Elkhatim Mohamed Elkhatim
Agricultural Engineer
June 19, 2013
G. Abraha Negash G. Abraha Negash
MSc in Tropical Animal Production and Health from Addis Ababa University and MSc in Tropical Livestock Production and Pastoral development from Mekelle University
June 20, 2013
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L) is among the most prioritized spices in human feed in Tigray ( Northern part of Ethiopia) for its multipurpose ( medicinal, flavour and aroma as well as supplementary value) that also could be vital ingredient of animal feed particularly the tendered broilers.

Mothers in Ethiopia add Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L) when they supply milk for their babies because they consider for its medicinal.

It so nice task.
Abraha Negash
MSc in Livestock Production and pastoral development
MVSc in Tropical Animal Production and health
Mohamed Elkhatim Mohamed Elkhatim
Agricultural Engineer
June 20, 2013
Thanks my brother G. Abraha Negash
in Sudan we have a typical uses also many traditions are same between our countries . I am very glad to read your comment .
Sudheer Rukadikar Sudheer Rukadikar
MVSc (Vet Pathology)
June 25, 2013
Dear Dr. Nadir Alloui,
It's a really good piece of work. In India, fenugreek seeds are normally used in human diets, albeit in fried form. (These are called METHI seeds in India.)
I want to know from you, have you tried giving soaked / sprouted fenugreek seeds to broilers as feed top dressing? My experience tells that if soaked fenugreek seeds are fed to commercial broilers even at late stage of age, say 35 days of age, they notably improve body weight of birds within 3 - 5 days.
Phoenix-Abdelfetah Phoenix-Abdelfetah
Animal Nutritionist
July 1, 2013
This is a very interesting article, I have Experienced the use of fenugreek in food Broiler in 2009, and got excellent results, however, I noticed an odor problem fenugreek in chicken meat, knowing that I have used up to 10 partial substitution of soybean, also I have two remarks:
1-for what purpose you used the premix 2.5% this will lead to a very significant augmenttation dosage of vitamins and trace minerals?
2-available phosphorus is only about 0.40 and 0.37 respectively, not 0.73% and 0.68%, I think this is a mistake.
star Nadir Alloui Nadir Alloui
Veterinary Doctor
July 3, 2013
Dear Abdelfetah

Thanks for your valuable remarks

Yonatan Kassu Yonatan Kassu
Animal Nutritionist
January 4, 2016
This is a very interesting article, right now I have been conducting a research on fenugreek, tumeric and black cumin in 1% and 2% inclusion rate and their blended mixture to see their synergitic effect. however i have got the least body weight gain from fenugreek whose feed 1 and 2% of fenugreek powder and i notice that they do have an high litter and odor problem. the odor is obvious and its has been well known even in human that it come out with sweat.
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