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Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
Year: 2015  |  Volume: 14  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 36 - 42

Immune Responsiveness and Performance of Broiler Chickens Fed a Diet Supplemented with High Levels of Chinese Star Anise Fruit (Illicium verum Hook. f)

M. S. Alhajj, M. Alhobaishi, A. R. Ger El Nabi and S. I. Al-Mufarrej    

Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Chinese star anise (Illicium verum Hook. f) on the performance and immune response of broiler chickens. A total of 288, 1 day old broiler chickens were grown over a 42 days period. The chickens were weighed individually and randomly assigned to seven treatments. The chickens in group 1 and 2 (positive and negative control groups, respectively) were fed starter and finisher diets without star anise. The chickens undergoing treatments 3-7 were fed the control starter and finisher diets supplemented with 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 g of Chinese star anise per kg of diet, respectively. The weekly body weight, weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratios were measured and the immune responses against the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), the Infectious Bursal Disease Virus (IBDV) and the Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) were evaluated. The relative weights of the lymphoid organs (thymus, bursa and spleen) were calculated as a percentage of the live body weight. The groups fed the diet supplemented with 1 or 2 g of star anise/kg of diet exhibited significant improvements (p≤0.05) in their body weight, daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio. However, there was no significant difference (p>0.05) in their feed intake. The results showed that broiler chickens fed the diet supplemented with 6 g kg-1 had higher antibody titers against NDV and IBV whereas the chickens fed the diet containing 1 g kg-1 had the highest antibody titers against IBDV. No significant changes in the relative weights of the lymphoid organs were detected. These results indicate that Chinese star anise could be used as a natural additive to improve the immune responsiveness and performance of broiler chickens.

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