Morula (Sclerocarya birrea) kernel cake as a partial soybean meal replacer in Ross 308 broiler diets: Effects on feed utilisation, growth performance, and selected blood parameters

Author: F. Manyeula, O. Loeto, K. Phalaagae, L. Baleseng, T. Sebolai, M. Molapisi, T. Khumoetsile & J.C. Moreki
Year: 2022
Issue: 6
Volume: 52
Page: 802 - 810

The effects of replacing soybean meal (SBM) with graded levels of morula kernel cake (MKC) on growth performance and haemo-biochemical parameters in broiler chickens were studied. Four iso-nitrogenous and iso-caloric diets were formulated by replacing the SBM component at 0, 40, 80 and 120 g/kg with MKC as protein source in grower and finisher diets. One hundred and sixty 2-week-old chicks were randomly allocated to the treatments, which were replicated five times (eight birds/pen). Growth performance and blood parameters were measured. Results showed that neither linear nor quadratic trends were observed for weekly feed intake (WFI), weekly weight gain (WWG), weekly feed conversion ratio (WFCR), and growth performance with MKC levels. However, packed cell volume (PCV) quadratically decreased (Y=37.4±1.2+1.4±0.5+0.13±0.03X²; R2=0.39; p=0.005) with MKC levels, heterophils increased (y=50.9±1.8+1.18±0.73x; R2=0.35, p=0.009) while lymphocytes decreased linearly (y=40.7±1.67-1.42±0.67x; R2=0.35, p=0.02) with MKC levels. There was a linear decrease (Y=0.81±0.02-0.01±0.01x; R2=0.2895; p=0.02) in magnesium while phosphorus increased quadratically with MKC levels. Quadratic trends (Y=17.2±0.6+0.7±0.2+0.04±0.02X²; R2=0.47; p=0.05) were also observed in iron as MKC levels increased. All the parameters of blood biochemistry fell within the normal range for birds. The present results indicate that inclusion of MKC up to 120 g/kg does not result in adverse effects on diet utilisation, growth performance, and health status of Ross 308 broiler chickens, indicating that MKC has the potential to be used as an alternative protein source to SBM.

Keywords: : Growth, broilers, haematology, plant proteins, serum biochemistry
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