The study determined the appropriate levels of including Acacia angustissima leaf meal in broiler diets for optimum performance, carcass part yield, and meat quality characteristics. One hundred and fifty broiler chicks were allocated to 0%, 5%, and 10% A. angustissima leaf meal-based diets in a completely randomized design, with five replicates per treatment. Weekly feed intake and live weights were measured. Weekly weight gains and feed conversion ratios were calculated. At six weeks, two birds per replicate were slaughtered and dressed. Carcass and portion yields were determined. Breast proximate components, CIELAB colour variations, cooking loss and shear force were estimated. Consumer preferences for colour, aroma, taste, flavour and tenderness were determined. Voluntary feed intake (VFI), weekly weight gain, weekly live weights and feed conversion ratios (FCR) were the same across treatments at two weeks. At weeks 4 and 6, the control and 5% groups outperformed the 10% group. Increasing dietary leaf meal had no effect on dressing out percentage, but decreased carcass weight from 1456 g to 1060 g, breast yield from 36.83% to 32.69%, breast meat to bone ratio from 4.77% to 2.94%, and proportion of drumstick skin from 11.57% to 7.92%. It also resulted in increased yield of thighs from 14.63% to 15.97%, proportion of thigh skin from 11.50% to 14.31% and breast skin proportion from 5.37% to 7.95%. The leaf meal had no effect on the proximate components of breast meat. The L* values decreased from 53.66 to 49.23; the b* values increased from 12.93 to 19.97; shear force increased from 14.14 N to 14.54 N; and cooking loss increased from 5.95% to 7.64% with increasing leaf meal levels. It was concluded that up to 5% A. angustissima leaf meal inclusion has no negative effect on performance, yield of carcass parts and meat quality characteristics of broilers.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher