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Berberis Vulgaris as Feed Additive in Poultry Production
© The Author(s); licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2003
Published: 31 March 2003
Berberis vulgaris (Zereshk in Persian) is a member of therapeutic plants in herbal medicine. There is evidence that its root contains components, such as berberine, berbamine, culumbamine and berberubine, with a relatively wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Antibiotics, mainly those that are not used for disease control in animals and/or humans, are added to animal feed to promote their growth. The aim of the present study was to examine if the plant root has any effect on the growth of broiler chickens. The plant was collected from Shiraz area in sufficient quantity and the roots were dried at room temperature and then ground into a powder. The root powder was added to the proper chicken ration, depending on the age of birds, in various concentrations (one and two percents). One-day-old broiler chickens were randomly divided into seven groups (twenty chickens each) and were reared under similar conditions. The chickens in the first group received normal ration not containing the root powder. Second, third and fourth groups were fed a ration containing 1% root powder starting from first day, 18th day and 36th day, respectively. The other three groups were treated similarly but with the ration containing 2% root powder. Chickens were weighed every five days until the age of 50. Statistical comparison of average body weights in each group showed that chickens in group two (fed the ration containing 1% root powder from day one) were significantly (P < 0.05) heavier than the birds in other groups. There may be at least two reasons why the rations containing 2% root powder were not as effective as those containing 1%. First, the higher concentration of powder possibly decreases the palatability of the feed; and second, a higher percent of the ration is composed of less nutritive value. Although economical, but it may not be practical to recommend the usage of the plant root as a source of feed additive. Therefore, it is suggested to examine the effect of active ingredients of the plant in this respect. In addition, individual follow-up of weight gain, determination of feed conversion factor, and sex of the birds should be considered in the future work.
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