Vol. 33, Nº 4
Effects of dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal supplementation on chicken intestinal structure and growth performance
KEYWORDS: broilers, gut, histology, leaf meal, M. oleife
ABSTRACT: Introduction: This study examined the effect of dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MoLM) supplementation on intestinal structure vis-à-vis body weight gain in chickens. Materials and Methods: A total of 120-day-old Arbor Acres broiler chicks were randomly assigned to four groups, each with three replicates, 10 birds per replicate. Broiler feed supplemented with different quantities of MoLM, viz.: group T1 (control)- 0%, T2- 7.5%, T3- 15% and T4- 30%, was fed to the birds for 38 days, after which six birds/group were randomly selected and euthanized for histological work. Results: Normal histology was evident in the various intestinal components except the lamina propria and crypts in T4 and villus muscle strands in T3 and T4 where degenerative changes were observed. Villus height, crypt depth, muscle wall thickness and villus area in T1 (controls) were 935.6 µm, 173.8 µm, 192.5 µm and 0.19 mm-2, respectively. Relative to the controls, an increase in the afore mentioned measurements was noted in T2 (6.4%, 8.4%, 10.6% and 10.5%, respectively) while a reduction was recorded in T3 (16.1%, 10.8%, 14.8% and 15.8%, respectively) and T4 (20.1%, 14.7%, 18.3% and 21.1%, respectively). Body weight gain within the feeding period increased 31.2, 37.6, 23.9 and 10.9-fold in T1, T2, T3 and T4, respectively. Notably though, feed intake and villus height/ crypt depth ratio were not significantly different (p < 0.05) between dietary treatments. Conclusion: Inclusion of M. oleifera in the diet should be done in moderation as quantities ? 15% interfere with intestinal structure and consequently body weight gain.