Performance of Broilers fed graded levels of Basil leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) as supplement in finisher diet
Poultry production in Nigeria depend largely on the use of synthetic drugs to prevent or control disease in flocks; these drugs often deposit some chemical residues in their carcasses which when consumed are subsequently deposited into man and pose health risks. These have led to a global campaign by many nations against their use to protect the health of their people, and promotion given to organically produced poultry products. Some of the herb used by man for curing different ailments is the Ocimum gratissimum (OCG) which could be adapted as an alternative to drugs in poultry management. One hundred and eighty, 3 weeks old broilers were randomly divided into five dietary treatments with three replicate each at twelve birds per replicate. Different levels of OCG leaf supplementation were investigated and compared with Coccidiostat addition and a control in finisher feeds for broilers. The performance parameters investigated were feed intake, body weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, and mortality. A completely randomized design was used for the experiment that lasted for 12 weeks. Results showed that the supplementation of OCG leaves at the levels used significantly reduced feed intake of broilers, they were however observed to utilize nutrients in their feed better than the other treatments (p<0.05). OCG supplemented feed significantly reduced mortality due to coccidiosis (p<0.05). This suggests an efficiency of OCG leaves in the suppression or control of some diseases in poultry such as Coccidiosis. Small-scale poultry farmers in rural or suburban areas are advised to pursue intensive cultivation of OCG for the purpose of using its leaves as an alternative to the use of synthetic drugs in organic poultry production in Nigeria.