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The present study was conducted to determine the haematology and serum biochemical indices of broiler chicken fed peeled aqueous extract of wild Christmas melon (Lagenaria breviflora) in replacement for commercial antibiotics at starter phase. One hundred and twenty (120) day old chicks of Cobb strain were obtained and randomly divided into four treatment groups of thirty (30) birds each and the group assigned to the four treatments. Each treatment was replicated three times with ten birds per replicates in a completely randomized design (CRD). The treatments were T1 given experimental diet with neuzeril; T2 was the group given experimental diet with neither neuzeril nor extract of Lageneria breviflora; T3 was the group given 1kg extract of peeled LB while T4 was the group given 3kg extract of peeled LB.

The results of the haematology and serum biochemical indices of broiler chicken showed that there was no significant (p>0.05) effect of medicament was observed on the Alkaline phosphate (ALP), Alanine transferase (ALT), Aspartate transferase (AST), Total protein (TP), Albumin (ALB), Globulin (GLB), Urea, Creatinine (CRT),White blood cell (WBC), Red blood cell (RBC), Haematocrit (HCT), Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC), Platelet (PLT), RDWSD and RSDCW of the birds.

It is evident from the result that the haematological parameters and serum biochemical indices of the broiler chicken were not adversely affected when the animals were fed T3 (1kg extract). This natural antibiotic (L. breviflora) can be offered to the chicken without any negative effect on their haematological parameters and serum biochemical indices. Moreover, administration of L. breviflora in replacement to synthetic antibiotic will help in maintaining poultry production as well as their health, it will also improve the quality of meat offered to consumers as they will be free from antibiotic residues.  



The word "poultry" comes from the French/Norman word poule, itself derived from the Latin word pullus, which means small animal. "Poultry" can be defined as domestic fowls, including chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks, raised for the production of meat or eggs and the word is also used for the flesh of these birds used as food (American Heritage, 2009). Poultry production is an innovative and high technology sector producing mainly chicken meat and eggs. More than 50 billion chicken are raised annually in the world as source of food to man (FAO, 2010). Poultry are farmed in great numbers with chicken being the most numerous. 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). As a result of growing human population, there is high demand for poultry products such as its meat, egg and feather (FAO, 2002). Poultry production is an important rapid growing money-making industry.

The poultry birds which are raised for commercial meat production are called broiler poultry. The benefit of broiler production is eroded by the high cost of feed and it has been well established that feed alone account for about 70% of the total cost of poultry production. It is true that the poultry industry owes its existence to the human need of food (Akinwumi et al., 1979). The problem of high cost of antibiotic has generated a lot of concern in broiler production. Poultry meat and egg have over the centuries been proven to be a nutritional source of protein but unfortunately, the antibiotic industries have increased the prices of antibiotic which lead to high cost of broilers production in the countries, this has contributed to the acute animal protein shortage in the countries. The bans on the use of antibiotics as feed additive have accelerated and led to investigation of natural alternatives in animal production (Hanno, 2001). Wang et al. (1998) reported that compared with synthetic antibiotics or inorganic chemicals, these plants derived products have proven to be natural, less toxic, and residual free and are thought to be ideal feed additive in food animal production. There are rich store houses of medicinal plant that exist everywhere especially African which offers a vast reservoir of plant that has been categorised (Aligu et al., 2003).

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. A broad-spectrum antibacterial activity of the whole fruit of Wide Christmas melon has also been reported.

1.1       Justification

The presence of antibiotic residue in poultry meat and the development of resistant strain of bacteria called for the use of alternate means of controlling diseases to reduce bioaccumulation of chemicals in the body of the poultry birds and human body through the consumption of poultry meat. The use of ethno veterinary medicine may be a cheaper alternative means of controlling poultry disease. The use of wild Christmas melon in controlling poultry disease may be a means of producing organic poultry and also a means of raising healthy poultry birds.

1.2       General Objective

The general objective of this research work is to determine the haematology and serum biochemical indices of broiler chicken fed peeled aqueous extract of wild Christmas melon (Lagenaria breviflora) in replacement for commercial antibiotics at starter phase.

1.3       Specific Objectives

  1. To determine the haematological parameters of broiler chicken given peeled aqueous extract of peeled wild Christmas melon (Lagenaria breviflora) in replacement for commercial antibiotics (Neuzeril).
  2. To determine the serum biochemical indices of broiler chicken given peeled aqueous extract of wild Christmas melon (Lagenaria breviflora) as a substitute for antibiotics at starter phase.