Immune-responsiveness, performance and blood chemistry of broiler chickens fed black cumin seed and/or turmeric
Keywords:Nigella sativa, curcuma longa, viruses, antibody titer, biomarkers
Two hundred and fifty one-day old broiler chicks were used to evaluate the effect of black seeds and/or turmeric on performance and immune response to Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) and Infectious Bursal Disease virus (IBDV) in broiler chickens of six weeks of age. The birds were divided into five groups (50 birds in each) with 5 replicates (10 birds each). Birds in the first group were fed a basal diet and served as a control. Birds of groups 2-5 were fed a basal diet mixed with black seed (20g/ kg basal diet), turmeric (20g/ kg basal diet), 2% BTM (10g from each plant/ kg basal diet), 4% BTM (20g from each plant/ kg basal diet), respectively. Body weight, total protein, albumin, globulins and antibody titer of NDV and IBVD significantly increased in the birds fed diets supplemented with 2 and 4% BTM followed by those of birds fed a diet supplemented with black seed alone and eventually those of birds fed a diet supplemented with turmeric alone compared to the control during 15-28 and 29-42 days of age. BTM was further distinguished from individual herbal administration by its ability to decrease the feed conversion ratio and in its zero mortality benefits. The examined doses of both plants either alone or in combination (BTM) were safe for birds as reflected in the undisturbed liver function tests. In conclusion, diets supplemented with 2 and 4% BTM can be used as opposed to those supplemented with 2% black cumin seed or turmeric alone. The lower (2%) BTM concentration has the same beneficial effect as the double dose (4% BTM). Therefore, for the economic and efficient production of broilers, instead of using 4% BTM or individual administration of 2% of each herb, 2% BTM can be used effectively.