Livestock Research for Rural Development 30 (11) 2018 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of vitamin C supplementation on Keet mortality, growth performance and blood profile of indigenous Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) in Ghana

P A Poku Jnr, C G Kyere, H Seidu and G Twumasi

Department of Animal Science Education, Faculty of Agriculture Education, University of Education, Winneba, P O Box 40, Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana
kyere.clement@yahoo.com

Abstract

This study was conducted to investigate the effect of vitamin C supplementation on keet mortality, growth performance and blood profile of indigenous Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) in Ghana. The study was carried out for a period of two months. Three hundred and sixty day old keets of the Pearl breed of Guinea fowl were used under a completely randomized design divided into four groups (VC0, VC10, VC20 and VC30) each with 3 replications of 30 keets. s. The experimental birds were supplemented with Vitamin C dissolved in drinking water at a dose of 0, 10, 20 and 30 mg/bird/day for groups VC0, VC10, VC20 and VC30, respectively.

Feed consumption increased with an increase in vitamin C vitamin supplementation. Birds supplemented with 30 mg/bird/day of vitamin C gained most weight and had the best feed conversion. The values for hemoglobin, packed cell volume, red blood cells and white blood cells were higher in birds fed supplementary vitamin C. Survivability increased with vitamin C supplementation.

Keywords: feed conversion, indigenous breeds, survivability


Introduction

In Ghana, Guinea fowl production plays a major role in ensuring food security for the rapidly increasing population. In the Northern part of Ghana, Guinea fowl is highly prized in many socio-cultural functions such as dowry, festivities and to perform certain funeral rites. However, the productivity of indigenous Guinea fowls is very low as compared to broiler chickens (Kyere et al 2017). Keet mortality in Ghana is very high as compared to Europe, Asia and America (Naazie et al 2012). The major causes appear to be exposure of keets to bad weather, poor feeding, worm infestation and poor management (Abiola et al 2008). Guinea fowls are subjected to considerable stress such as hot or cold temperatures and diseases that can affect performance (Mbajiorgu et al2007). High or low ambient temperatures affect survivability, feed intake, weight gain and laying performances (Vathana et al 2002).

Vitamin C plays an important role in the biosynthesis of corticosterone which is a hormone that enhances energy supply during stress (Lohakare et al 2005). It is required to maintain normal metabolic activities and to meet physiological requirements (Doan2000). Poultry are able to synthesize vitamin C, but this is thought to be inadequate during times of heat stress, disease and intensive production (Mbajiorgu et al 2007).

The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of Vitamin C on keet mortality, growth performance and blood profile of indigenous Guinea fowl in Ghana.


Materials and methods

The experiment was carried out at the Poultry Section of the Animal farm of the Department of Animal Science, University of Education, Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana. Mampong-Ashanti lies in the transitional zone between the Guinea savanna zone of the north and the tropical rain forest of the south along the Kumasi-Ejura road. Mampong lies on latitude 07˚ 03' N and longitude 01˚ 24'W at an altitude of 290m above sea level. The rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the major rainfall season occurring from April to July with average of 1000mm while the minor season occurs from August to November with 350mm (MSD 2017).

Three hundred and sixty day-old keets of the Pearl breed of Guinea fowl were allocated to a completely randomized design of 4 treatments (VC0, VC10, VC20 and VC30) that received 0, 10, 20 or 30 mg vitamin C per bird administered in the drinking water. There were 3 replications of 30 keets on each treatment. The keets were reared under similar conditions and fed a starter ration from day 1 to 6 weeks of age followed by a grower ration diets from 6 to 8 week.

Table 1. Composition of the experimental diet

Feed ingredients

Starter, kg

Grower, kg

Maize

57.5

58.0

Wheat bran

11.0

21,0

Soya bean meal

8.50

5.00

Tuna fish meal

11.0

6.00

Russia fish meal

9.00

7.00

Oyster shells

1.50

1.50

Calcium

0.50

0.50

Vitamin premix

0.50

0.50

Salt

0.50

0.50

Total

100

100

Calculated composition of the experimental diet

Crude protein, %

22.0

17.5

Crude fibre, %

3.43

3.76

Moisture, %

9.91

9.38

Ether extract, %

4.40

4.22

Metabolisable energy, kcal/kg

2950

2800

The Vitamin C was dissolved in drinking water. Vaccination and other routine poultry practices were applied.

At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected (from three birds randomly selected from each replicate)between 8.15 and 9.35 am from under the wing of each bird for haematological and biochemical analysis. Cotton swab soaked in methylated spirit was used to dilate the veins and to prevent infection. 5lL of blood was carefully drawn from each birdand 3ml put into a sterile bottle containing EDTA as anticoagulant and shaken gently to prevent coagulation; the remaining 2.0 ml of blood was put into a sterile sample bottle without anticoagulant. The hemoglobin (Hb) content was determined with a digital photo colorimeter (Model 312E Digital Photo Instruments, Germany). Packed cell volume (PCV) was determined by the Winthrose microhaematocrit technique. Red blood cell (RBC) counts were obtained with an electronic counter (Model ZF by Coulter Electronic Ltd. London). The white blood cells were counted with an improved Neubauer hemocytometer. Neutrophil, lymphocyte, eosinophils and basophil counts were also considered. The blood sample for the serum biochemical assay was allowed to clot at room temperature. The clotted samples were spun in the centrifuge to separate the blood cells from the serum. The serum was then used for the analysis as follows; total protein (TP) was determined using Biuret method as described by Keller (1984). Blood albumin was determined using the Bromocresol Green (BCG) method. Total cholesterol was estimated using the CHOP-PAP method and the globulin level was also calculated. The globulin content was determined by subtracting albumin from the total protein (Keller 1984).

Data collected were analyzed using the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the aid of GenStat version 11.1 (2008).


Results and discussion

Effect of vitamin C supplementation on growth performance

Birds supplemented with 30 mg/bird/day of vitamin C gained more than those supplemented with 20 and 10 mg/bird/day of vitamin C, with the control being the worst (Table 2). These results are similar to those of Kassim and Norziha (1995). The improved body weight gain could be explained by the effect of vitamin C in enhancing the secretion of growth hormone (GH) from the anterior pituitary (Lohakare et al 2004) and therefore increased growth and productivity (Villar-Patino et al 2002).

Table 2. Effect of vitamin C supplementation on growth performance

Growth parameters

Vitamin C (mg/bird/day)

SEM

p

0

10

20

30

Initial body weight, g

25.6

25.1

24.9

25.3

1.31

0.41

Final body weight, g

456d

468c

476b

492a

7.45

0.01

Daily weight gain, g

7.17d

7.38c

7.52b

7.78a

0.25

0.01

Daily feed intake, g

20.3c

20.5c

20.8b

21.3a

0.31

0.02

Feed conversion ratio#

2.84a

2.78b

2.77b

2.74d

0.24

0.01

abcd Means bearing different superscripts in the same row differ at p<0.05.
# kg feed/kg LW gain

Feed intake, growth rate and feed conversion were all improved by vitamin C supplementation (Table 2) as observed also by Taweli and Kassab (1990) and Mbajiorgu et al (2007).

Effect of vitamin C supplementation on mortality and hematological parameters

The decrease in mortality (Table 3) can be explained by vitamin C taking part in the synthesis of cytokines, leukocytes especially phagocytes and neutrophiles which play a part in the defense system of the chickens (Lohakare et al 2005). Increases in neutrophils, blood cells and total serum protein improve health hence lower mortality was observed. Vitamin C is also associated with the conversion of body proteins and fat into energy for growth and survival through increased corticosterone secretion (Vathana et al 2002). This corresponds with the results reported by Doan (2000).

Birds supplemented with 20 mg/bird/day of vitamin C had the highest hemoglobin levels (Table 3). Vitamin C provokes the immune response according to Lohakare et al (2004). Packed cell volume, red and white blood cells increased with an increase in vitamin C supplementation indicating that .there is high production of antibodies and thereby strengthening the immune system and bird health (Lohakare et al 2005).This corresponds with the results reported by Doan (2000).

Table 3. Effect of different levels of vitamin C supplementation on mortality and haematological
and biochemical parameters of the keets

Vitamin C (mg/bird/day)

SEM

p

0

10

20

30

Mortality, %

30

20

16

8

3.43

0.02?

Hematological parameters

Basophils, %

11.5

11.7

11.6

12.2

1.11

0.18

Hemoglobin, g/dl

31.2 c

32.4c

37.4a

35.3b

2.11

0.02

Lymphocytes, %L

34.3

33.8

34.7

34.9

1.28

0.11

Neutrophils, %

41.7

40.9

44.8

45.5

2.19

0.19

Packed cell volume, k/Ál

40.3d

47.4c

49.3b

51.9a

2.03

0.02

Red blood cells, k/Ál

9.12a

10.8b

11.2b

12.5a

1.19

0.03

White blood cells, M/Ál

1.58c

2.56b

2.98b

4.23a

0.98

0.01

Biochemical parameters

Albumin, g/dl

46.1

49.3

48.5

47.4

1.21

0.17

Cholesterol, g/dl

22.7c

23.1b

25.3a

23.8b

1.06

0.03

Globulin, g/dl

4.36

4.72

4.73

4.56

0.45

0.29

Glucose (mg/dl)

3.68c

4.09b

4.24b

4.65a

0.48

0.03

Total serum protein, g/dl

11.1c

12.3b

13.6a

12.4b

1.10

0.01

abcd Means bearing different superscripts in the same row are different at p<0.05.


Conclusions and recommendations


Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful to the Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture Education, University of Education, Winneba, for providing all the facilities for this study.


References

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Received 6 September 2018; Accepted 22 October 2018; Published 1 November 2018

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