The use of antibiotics as a growth promoter was banned because of residues that are left in animal products. Alternatives to antibiotics that promote animal growth and health without leaving residues in food are being sought. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of a commercial mixture of functional oils and algae (FOA) on growth and gut morphology in broiler chickens. A total of 224 one day-old Cobb male broilers were randomly divided into 2 dietary treatment groups, with 8 replicate pens per treatment group (14 birds each). The dietary treatments consisted of a control basal diet without FOA, or control diet plus 1.50 kg/ton of FOA. The FOA was a commercial mixture of castor oil plant (Ricinus communis L.), Cashew nut oil (Anacardium occidentale L.) and spirulin (Spirulina sp.). Body weight and viability were not significantly influenced by treatments (P>0.05). Feed intake and feed conversion rate improved significantly upon the use of FOA (P<0.05). Villus height, villus width, crypt depth, or crypt diameter were not influenced by treatments. This therefore suggest that the use of FOA improves performance parameters in broiler chickens and is economically viable.
Key words: Anacardium occidentale, body weight gain, feed conversion rate, villus height, Ricinus communis.
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