The utilization of leaves and leaf extracts in animal production is gradually being accepted. Some leaf extracts have shown to have some appetizing and digestion stimulating properties, some of the leaf extracts have also been shown to have anti-parasitic, anti-diarrhoeric, anti-microbial, antidiabetic and some other beneficial properties. According to Ezekweusils et al (2004), when some of these plant leaves are crushed, the leaf juice is used to treat stomach pain, convulsion, catarrh and diabetic in human being. It is cleared that some of the agents contained in these leaf extracts are used in cure of fever. (Agomo, 1992) Some of the leaves are burnt to repel mosquitoes. It is possible that water extracts of some of these plant leaves may have similar beneficial effect on poultry.
Some of the common plant leaves available in Benin City include bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), Awolowo leaf (Chromoleana odorata) scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum and Bridelia ferruginea (Euphobiaceae). The use of these various plants extract in broiler production, has been documented (Essien et al, 2007). Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) scent leaf (Ocimum gratisimium) siam leaf (Chromolaena odorata) and Bridelia ferruginea are commonly found in south-eastern and south west part of Nigeria. These plants has been found useful to both man and animal either consuming the leaves, root, bark or stem.
The bitter leaf also known as Ewuro (Yoroba), Etidot (Cross River) is a shrub or small tree of 2 – 5m with petiolate leaf of about 6mm and elliptic shape. These leaves are commonly found in eventually all parts of West-Africa. It is cultivated in Nigeria in most-part of the countries especially in southern and western part of Nigeria (Teguia et.al, 1993).The bitter leaf is believed to have certain principal chemical properties found in the herb, are a class of compound called steroid glycoside type vernoniocideS B1 these chemical substances possess a potent anti-parasitic, the leaf is commonly employed as an agent in treating schistosomiasis which is a disease caused by parasitic worm, it also aid in some ailment like diarrhea, fever cure etc.
The scent leaf (Ocimum grattisimum) is a perennial plant and widely distributed in the tropics of Africa and Asia. It is mainly cultivated in parts of Nigeria especially western, southern and eastern part of the country. The leaf and whole herb are used for treating diarrhea and the tea of its leaves are used for cold and fever (Agomo, 1992) while the leaves are burned to repel mosquitoes. It is popularity called “effirin” it is an important vegetable sold in large markets because of its manifold medicinal usages. It has average height of about 1 – 3 meter a woody plant, with broad leaves and narrow ovate, usually 5 – 15cm long and 3 – 9cm wide (USDA, 2008).
Siam weed (Chromoleana odorata) is a species of flowering shrub in the sun flower family Asteraceae. It is native to North America, from Florida and Texas to Mexico and the Caribbean and has been introduced to tropical Asia, West Africa and parts of Australia. Medicinal plants have formed the basis of health care throughout the world since the earliest days of humanity and still widely used, and have considerable importance in international trade. In certain African countries for instance upto 90% of the population still relies exclusively on plant as source of medicine (WHO 2002).
Gamaniel and Akah (2006) reported that the leaf extract of Bridelia ferruginea contain five phyto chemical compounds including alkaloids, saponin, tannins, flavonoids and glycoside and suggested possible varied pharmacological effects. As a consequence, the World Health Organization (WHO)recommended that the use of leaves extract should be further investigated into, particularly as related to chronic and delitation disease such as diabetic mellitus (WHO 2002). Very little attention has been given to the use of leaf extract in animal production in Nigeria. Based on the above, the present research work was conducted to determine the effects using water extracts of bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), siam weed (Chromolina odorata), scent leaf (Ocimum grattisimum), and bridelia (Bridelia ferruginea) leaf water extract on the performance of broiler finisher and on some blood parameter.
The objective of the study was to;
1. determine the effect of leaf extracts of bitter leaf, scent leaf, awolowo leaf and bridelia leaf on the performance of broiler finisher such as feed intake, weight gain and feed to gain ratio.
2. determine the effect of leaf extract of bitter leaf, scent leaf,siam weed, and bridelia leaf on some blood parameters such as pcv, neutrophils, lymphocytes, cholesterol’ glucose, triglyceride.