PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS AND HEAMATOLOGICAL STUDIES OF BROILER CHICKENS FED COWPEA BASED DIETS
Akanji, A. M.; Adebiyi, A. O.; Adebowale, O. S.; Fasina, O. and Ogungbesan, A. M.
Journal Title:Journal of Environmental Issues and Agriculture in Developing Countries
This study was carried out to look at the utilization of cowpea - based diets on performance characteristics and haematology of broiler chickens. Raw cowpea ( Vigna unguigulata L.Walp), dehulled - cowpea, dehulled - cooked cowpea and dehulled - roasted cowpea grains were fed to broiler chickens in a five week feeding trial. A total of seventy five day old broiler chicks of Marshall Strain were allotted into five dietary treatments. Marginal reductions in the crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract and ash were obtained in the dehulled cowpea and dehulled - cooked cowpea grains respectively. The dehulled - roasted cowpea grains however gave slight increases in the proximate composition. Feed intake and growth was significantly reduced in birds fed raw cowpea and dehulled - cowpea respectively. The feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) also followed a similar pattern. Non-significant differences were however obtained in weight gain, FCE and PER of birds fed the control diet and those fed dehulled - cooked cowpea in this study. Birds fed dehulled - roasted cowpea also had marginal reductions in weight gain, FCE and PER when compared to those fed dehulled - cooked cowpea based diet. Mortality was higher in birds fed raw cowpea - based diet.The haematological studies showed lower values of haemoglobin, red blood cells, packed cell volume and white blood cells of birds fed raw cowpea and dehulled cowpea respectively. However, despite the better response indices, the combination of dehulling and cooking led to leaching of some water-soluble food nutrients. Hence, more studies still need to be carried out especially at other processing methods that can drastically reduce the anti-nutritional factors without necessarily leaching the food nutrients.