Effect of Vernonia amygdalina Leaf Extract on Organ Weights and Plasma Corticosterone of Cockerels Reared in a Tropical Environment
Heat stress is a known limiting factor to poultry enterprise. Synthetic antioxidants can adversely affect animals and humans overtime. There is a need for phytogenic antioxidant such as Vernonia amygdalina Leaf Extract (VALE) for profitable animal production. This study is designed to evaluate effect of VALE on relative organ weights (ROW) and corticosterone of cockerels reared in the tropics. 45 twenty – one week old Issa Brown cockerels were used replicated thrice with 3 birds per replicate and assigned into five groups; Treatments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 with administration of 0mls, 0.4/ liter of vitamin C 30mls/liter, 60mls/liter and 90mls/liter of VALE respectively ROW, corticosterone temperature and humidity were monitored. The rectal temperature (RT) of birds in T2, T3 and T4 (41.380C, 42.010C, and 42.460C) were lower thanT1 (42.530C) at week 2. Heart and spleen weights of T3 (4.33g and 1.39g) were significantly higher corn pared with their respective controls: 2.60g and 0.60g. The least corticosterone level was observed in T5 (11.38ig/ml), while the highest was recorded in T1 (16.51lug/ml). It can therefore be concluded that VALE can be used to improve the performance of birds at to a concentration of 60mls.