Poultry production is an important rapid growing money-making industry. Poultry, in animal husbandry means birds raised commercially or domestically for meat, eggs, and feathers. Chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese are of primary commercial importance, while guinea fowl and squabs are chiefly of local interest (Boelling et al, 2003). Poultry is the second most widely eaten type of meat globally and, along with eggs, provides nutritionally beneficial food containing high-quality protein accompanied by a low proportion of fat. Poultry birds are gregarious, omnivorous, ground-dwelling birds that in their natural surroundings search among the leaf litter for seeds, invertebrates, and other small animals. Chickens raised for eggs are usually called layers while chickens raised for meat are often called broilers (Bessei, 2006).
The advantages of poultry over other livestock are primarily due to the short and relatively quick turnover of the investment and high-quality protein products (Adeyemo et al., 2010). The protein deficiency of man can be reduced by rearing animals with early maturity such as broiler-birds (Bamgbose et al., 1998). As a result of growing human population, there is high demand for poultry products (FAO, 2002). Broiler chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) or broilers, are a gallinaceous domesticated fowl bred and raised specifically for meat production. Broilers production is the largest agricultural revenue generator in the world (FAO, 2010). Broiler birds under intensive production system mature between 6-7 weeks of production (Oyediji, 2001). The rapid growth of broiler demands that they be supplied with high quality diets which satisfy both their nutritional needs as well as ensuring high profits. Increase in broiler production has the tendency of reducing the gap of animal protein inadequacy in the diet of most Nigerian which has been a source of major concern to nutritionist (Nkanwoko and Ibeawuchi, 2009).
Melons are all "Cucumbers" (Cucurbits or Cucurbitaceae) to the botanist, along with squash, gourds and actual cucumbers. Wild Christmas melon (Lagenaria breviflora) belongs to the plant family Cucurbitaceae. It is a perennial climber ascending to the forest canopy, occurring from Senegal to the West Cameroons, and generally widespread in tropical Africa. Wild Christmas melons are solid and uniform all the way through with seeds embedded in the flesh. This fruit can be obtained in the tropical or sub-tropical areas (Orisakeye and Johnson, 2015). Previous phytochemical screening of Lagenaria breviflora revealed the presence of triterpenoid saponins. The alleged uses of the fruit are for the treatment of cold in man and coccidiosis in birds, schistosomiasis, antifertility and haematinic effects. The plant, and especially the fruit of Lagenaria breviflora is widely used in folklore medicine in West Africa as a herbal remedy for the treatment of human measles, digestive disorders, and as wound antiseptics (e.g. umbilical incision wound), while livestock farmers use it for Newcastle disease and coccidiosis treatment in various animal species, especially poultry.
The major causes of losses in family poultry are ascribable to diseases, predation and parasites, and a combination of these. Other factors are theft and uncleanliness etc. and it has also been discovered that the rate at which pest and diseases kill animals is at increasing rate and as shown the need for farmers to know about diseases and their control and how to treat and prevent animals from getting infected as it can lead to losses in animal production. It has also been revealed by scientist that diseases and parasites can be controlled by using traditional methods and remedies and Lagenaria breviflora a common wild Christmas melon has been discovered to contain certain properties and element in it, capable of treating certain diseases and ailment both in humans and animals particularly poultry birds.
1.2 General Objective
To determine the performance and cost implication of broiler chicken fed aqueous extract of peeled wild Christmas melon (Lagenariabreviflora) at finisher phase.
1.3 Specific Objectives
- To determine growth performances of broiler chicken fed aqueous extract of peeled wild Christmas melon Lagenaria breviflora.
- To evaluate the implication of substituting aqueous extract of wild Christmas melon for commercial antibiotics on production cost of broiler chicken.