This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of different levels of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) alone or in combination with chitosan, in broiler diets, on the growth, feed intake and serum lipid profile of broilers. Starting as 10-day olds, 144 Cobb 500 broiler chicks were fed six manually prepared diets containing 0%, 10%, 20% or 30% buckwheat, or 10% buckwheat supplemented with 250 mg chitosan or 500 mg chitosan/kg. The trial lasted 32 days. Buckwheat alone or in combination with chitosan had no effects on the growth and feed intake of the broilers. Until 15 days lipid profiles in blood sera did not change in birds fed buckwheat alone or buckwheat in combination with chitosan. However, at day 30 the inclusion of 10% – 30% buckwheat alone and 10% buckwheat with 250 mg chitosan/kg or with 500 mg chitosan/kg showed a significant increase in serum HDL-cholesterol concentration and a decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in the serum compared with the control. This demonstrates for the first time that the feeding of higher levels of buckwheat (20% or more) alone or lower levels of buckwheat (10%) with trace amounts of chitosan influenced the lipid profiles of broilers positively. Because hazardous antibiotics are banned in poultry feed, including of buckwheat with trace amounts of chitosan in broiler diets might be a useful alternative to antibiotics in the poultry industry.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher