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The present study was conducted to determine the performance and cost implication of broiler chicken fed unpeeled 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 neuzeril (T1); water (T2); 2kg aqueous extract of peeled Lageneria breviflora (T3) while 4kg aqueous extract of peeled Lageneria breviflora (T4). Data was collected on the growth performance and feed cost of the broiler chicken.

No significant (p>0.05) effect of treatment was observed on Feed Intake Weight gain and Feed cost/kg. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was higher (p≤0.05) in birds fed 2kg extract compared with those given antibiotics but comparable to those given water and 4kg extract. Mortality was higher (p<0.05) in the group given ordinary water. Feed cost/kg weight gain was higher (p<0.05) in the birds that received aqueous extract of wild Christmas melon and water than those given antibiotics. It can be concluded from the results of this experiment that 4kg aqueous extract of wild Lagenaria breviflora slightly improved the growth performance of broiler at starters when compared to the control group that received water and synthetic antibiotic (Neuzeril) without any deleterious effects on the health of the birds



      In poultry, feed cost account for up to 80% of the total cost of production and it is a very important component in determining the extent of poultry survival and profitability (Olugbemi et al., 2010). 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 deficient 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). Broilers production is the largest agricultural revenue generator in the world (FAO, 2010). The rapid growth of broiler demands that they should 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 animal 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.

1.1       Justification

Wild christmas melon which is an ethno veterinary medicinal products appears to possess the potential of serving as an alternative to feed supplement/antibiotics used in controlling poultry disease thereby producing organic poultry with tremendous growth performances.

1.2       General Objective

To determine the performance and cost implication given aqueous extract of unpeeled wild Christmas melon (Lagenariabreviflora) to broiler starter in replacement for anti-biotics at starter phase.

1.3       Specific Objectives

  1. To determine growth performances of broiler chicken fed aqueous extract of unpeeled Lagenaria breviflora in replacement for antibiotics.
  2. To evaluate the cost implication of given aqueous extract of unpeeled Lagenaria breviflora to broiler chicken at starter phase.