Evaluation of different litter materials on haematogical and serum biochemical indices of intensively managed finisher broiler chickens


  • H. O. Obikaonu
  • S. N. Obiora
  • P. Obiagwu




Litter materials, haematology, serum biochemistry, finisher broilers


Attempts made to improve broiler production had been focused more on feed with little or no consideration on the impact of litter quality which is a major concern in chicken production not only because it affects the flock health and productivity, but also because it may act as potential reservoir and transmission vehicle for pathogens and potential pathogens. Since blood is considered as an important material for the evaluation of health status in animals, there is need therefore, to investigate the impact of different litter materials on the hematological and serum biochemistry of broiler finisher chicken. A56-day feeding trial was conducted to evaulate the effect of different litter materials on the haematological and serum biochemical indices of intensively managed finisher broilers. Four different litter materials were used for the experiment viz wood, shaving, Groundnut hulls; coconut husks and rice hulls. Wood shavings was used as the control owing to the fact that it is the most commonly used litter in this zone. The coconut husks were manually shred to extract the fibres which was used while the other materials were used as sourced. A toal of 120 broiler birds were used for the experiment, they were divided into four treatments (T1= Wood shavings, T2= Groundnut hulls, T3=Coconut husks, and T4=Rice hulls) of 30 birds each and sub divided into 10 birds per replicate. Each replicate was housed in a pen fitted with broding facilities. Feed and water were given ad libilum for eight weeks. At the end of the experiment blood was collected from the birds, three per treatment given a total of 12 birds. They were analyzed for haematological and serum biochemical indices. Haemoglobin values compared favourably (P>0.05) with that of the control. PCVvalues of T2 and T3 compared favourably well with that of control but significant differences existed (P<0.05) between the PCV value of T4 and the other treatments. The lymphocytes and neutrophils were not affected by the bedding materials showing that the litter conditions did not adversely affect the health and welfare of the birds. Serum protein, serum albumin and serum globulin were not affected by treatements (P>0.05) resulting in better protein efficiency ratio recorded in all the treatments. Serum electolytes calcium and phosphorus levels recorded in this study shows no adverse effect on the integrity of the liver in boosting cataion/anaion exchange. The haematological and serum biochemical indices recorded in this study showed no notable health challenges on the birds.