EFFECT OF VARYING LEVELS OF PAWPAW LEAF MEAL (Carica papaya) ON GROWTH PERFORMANCE OF FINISHING BROILERS.
Sixty “day old” broiler chickens were used to evaluate the growth performance, haematological parameters, organ characteristics and meat quality of broiler birds fed, pawpaw leaf meal (PLM). The birds were divided into four treatments with three replicates per treatment. Each replicate contained five birds. Broiler finisher rations were formulated in which PLM was incorporated at levels of 0%, 0.5%, 1.5%, and 2.0% in the control (T1), T2, T3 and T4 diets respectively. The diets were isocaloric and isonitrogenous containing 2850kcal ME/ Kg and 20% CP Daily feed intake in grams per bird per day (g/b/d) Daily Body Weight gain (g/b/d), Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and Feed cost per kilogram gain in Naira (N) were determined. Four birds were slaughtered at the end of the 10th week of birds’ age for meat strength and organoleptic determinations. All data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) for a Completely Randomized Design. Results showed that the effect of treatments on Average Daily Weight Gain (g) (ADWG), Average Final Body Weight (AFBW), Average Daily Feed Intake (ADFI) (g/b), and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) were significant (P < 0.05). There is a progressive increase in Daily Weight gain and Daily Feed intake as the dietary level of PLM increased. Haematological parameters of birds in all the treatments were within the normal haematological values of broiler birds within their age. There is an improved performance as level of PLM in diets increased from T1 toT4 in all the parameters evaluated. Similarly, there is an observed intense colour change of the shanks as the dietary level increased from 0.5% to 2.0%. The effect of feeding increasing dietary levels of PLM in Colour, Tenderness and General Acceptability of broiler meat were significantly (P<0.05) better than the control diet. The incorporation orf PLM into finisher broiler diets had nutritional benefits which led to general improved performance in body weight changes, FCR, Feed cost/kg gain, Carcass and Organ Examinations, Haematologicals parameters, Organoleptic indices and Meat strength of broiler birds. It is concluded that 2% PLM can be included in the diets of finishing broilers without any adverse effect on performance.