Growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of broilers fed diets supplemented with some dry herbs

Pavlina Hristakieva1, Magdalena Oblakova1, Ivelina Ivanova1, Nadia Mincheva1, Ivan Penchev2, Nikolay Ivanov1 and Mitko Lalev1
1 Agricultural Academy, Agricultural Institute, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2 Trakia University, Department of Morphology, Physiology and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria


Hristakieva, P., Oblakova, M., Ivanova, I., Mincheva, N., Penchev, I., Ivanov, N. & Lalev, M. (2023). Growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of broilers fed diets supplemented with some dry herbs. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 29 (1), 102–109

During the last years, numerous studies were performed to evaluate the effect of various plants and their derivatives as alternatives to nutritional antibiotics on animal productive performance and quality of products of animal origin. This study aimed to test the dietary inclusion of 2% dry herbs on live body weight, feed consumption, slaughter traits and meat quality in broiler chickens reared to 39 days of age. Тhe treatment groups were randomly allocated into 7 treatment groups (n = 30) each with three replicates of 10 birds (3 replicates, 10 chickens/replicate). Control group of broilers received basal diet without the herbal. Experimental groups were fed basal diet with supplemented the herbal for E1 –2% Matricaria; E2 – 2% Rosmarinus officinalis; E3 – 2% Lavandula; E4 – 2% Origanum vulgare; E5 – 2% Thymus; E6 – 2% Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort), respectively.
Over the entire growth period, the inclusion of 2% dry rosemary to compound feed of chickens influenced adversely live weight of supplemented broilers vs controls. At the end of the fattening period (day 39), no significant difference in feed conversion ratio was demonstrated among control and experimental groups.
Slaughter yield (%), grill weight and breast with bone weight did not show considerable between-group differences, yet it could be seen that broilers from group E4 supplemented with 2% oregano with feed showed the highest average values for these parameters. Again, this group had the highest average thigh and wings weights, and they were the lowest in group E2, supplemented with 2% rosemary (Р < 0.05).
The highest breast meat pH24 values were observed in group E2 supplemented with 2% rosemary, whereas the lowest (5.66) − in group Е6 that received 2% St John’s wort (Р < 0.001). The highest breast meat L* was demonstrated by chickens from group E6 supplemented with 2% St John’s wort – 63.06, whereas the lowest breast L* was found out in group E2 supplemented with 2% rosemary – 59.90 (Р < 0.001). The highest WHC of breast meat was that of group E6 supplemented with 2% St John’s wort – 23.20%. The lowest breast WHC percentage was measured in group Е5 whose diet contained 2% thyme − 12.67%. The highest cooking loss percentage was observed in breast meat of controls (С) – 48.30% compared to chickens supplemented with 2% dry herbs whose meat cooking loss values were statistically significantly lower (Р < 0.001). Physicochemical parameters of thigh meat in birds fed 2% dry herbs followed almost the same trends depending on the added dry herb.
The analysis of meat saturated fatty acids, LA18:2(n-6):linoleic acid, ALA18:3(n-3): linolenic acid, ARA20:4(n-6): arachidonic acid, EPA20:5(n-3): eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA22:6(n-3) – docosahexaenoic acid in breast and thigh meat did not differ significantly among the groups that received 2% dry herbs with feed and untreated controls.

Keywords: broiler; herbs; performance; carcass characteristics; meat quality

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