Among the currently available poultry feed additives, natural herbs and plants have been widely advocated due to their reported widespread beneficial effects. Vernonia amygdalina is one of such potential feed supplements which have recently been reported as having a wide range of beneficial effects on production performance. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of varying levels of V. amygdalina leaf meal on growth performance, hematological parameters and as anticoccidial agent for broiler chicken. A total of one hundred and fifty day old marshal broiler chicks were randomly allotted to five dietary treatments with 30 birds per treatment, replicated thrice, in a completely randomized design. The treatments were: Treatment 1 (T1) served as control (positive control) with inclusion of coccidiostat but no inclusion of V. amygdalina, T2 served as negative control with no inclusion of either coccidiostat or V. amygdalina, T3 (200 g of V. amygdalina/ 150 kg of feed), T4 (400 g of V.amygdalina/ 150 kg of feed), and T5 (600 g of V. amygdalina/150 kg of feed). Significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed in the growth performance characteristics. The result of hematological indices shows that there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) across the treatment except for hemoglobin in T2 that has the lowest (8.04 g/dl) and T4 that has the highest (12.03 g/dl). Eosinophil’s in T4 has the highest value (4.00%) and lowest in T5 (2.00%) and T2 (2.00%). However, all other parameters were within the normal range. It can be concluded that V. amygdalina can be used as anticoccidial in broiler chickens due to high fed conversion ratio and Eosinophil’s observed in T3 (200 g) and T4 (400 g), respectively.
Key words: Natural herbs, vernonia amygdalina, performance, haematological, coccidiostat.
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