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Byline: Z. U. Rehman, S. Khan, N. Chand, A. J. Tanweer, A. Sultan, A. Akhtar and A. M. Tauqeer


A research study was conducted at Poultry Research unit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University Peshawar, Pakistan to explore the effect of different levels of water based mixture infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera on overall performance of broiler chicks. For this purpose 120 day old chicks were divided into four groups designated as A, B, C and D with three replicate having 10 chicks each. All chicks were reared in separate pens for 35 days in an open sided house. Group A was kept control while chicks in group B, C and D received water based infusion at rate of 5, 7.5 and 10 ml/L of drinking water respectively. Mean feed intake, water intake and weight gain was found significantly higher (P less than 0.05) with better feed conversion ratio (FCR) in group C and D. Significantly higher dressing percentage was recorded in group D as compared to all other groups.

It is concluded that water based infusion of Withania sominefera and Allium Sativum in 1:6 ratio mixture at the rate of 10 ml/L of water improved the overall performance of broiler chicks.

Key word: Allium Sativum, Withania somnifera, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, weight gain.


Poultry industry is the second leading industry in Pakistan after textile. It contributes 33% of the total meat production of the country and generates employments for about 1.5 million people (Economic survey of Pakistan, 2011).

Although antibiotics are usually added to poultry feed as additives, but their drug residual effects through meat and egg are the major concerns regarding human health. The use of antibiotics as growth promoter in animals raised for food is highly controversial (Phillips et al., 2004). The World Health Organization and other Public Health Agencies have shown concerns on growth promoter antibiotics by arguing that their use leads to increased antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. Whereas, the commercial sectors have reservations that their removal may result in increased cost of production (Smith, 2002; Casewell et al., 2003)

Medicinal plants as natural feed additives are recently used in poultry diet to enhance the performance and immune response of chicken (Abaza et al., 2008; Tanweer et al., 2012). Medicinal plants found widely throughout the world including Pakistan contains innumerable active compounds responsible for reduction of harmful diseases through enhancement of immune system as well as removal of toxic substances from the body.

Garlic (Allium Sativum) is used to treat the symptoms of acne and it can manage high cholesterol levels (Qureshi et al., 1983). Its paste in the diets of laying hens reduced serum and yolk cholesterol concentrations (Chowdhary et al. 2002). Garlic is antimicrobial (Gupta et al. 2005). It has been investigated that addition of garlic powder to poultry diet increased egg weight and decreased egg yolk cholesterol concentration (mg/g yolk), serum triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations without adverse effect on the performance and egg weight. (Yalcan et al. 2006) Withania somnifera (L. Dunal) has hypoglycemic, diuretic, hypocholesterolemic (Andallu and Radhika, 2000), anticoccidal (Das et al. 2001) and growth promoting properties (Ziauddin et al., 1996).

Keeping in view the importance of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera, present study was therefore conducted to evaluate the effect of water based infusion of these plants on overall performance of broiler chicks.


Present study was conducted to explore the potentials of infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera mixture in broiler chicks at Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University Peshawar poultry farm.

Experimental design: A completely randomize design was used to carry out the study. One hundred and twenty (120), day-old broiler chicks were purchased from local market. The chicks were randomly distributed into four groups A, B, C and D. Each group consisted of three replicate and each replicate had 10 chicks. The water based infusion was given at @ 5, 7.5 and 10 ml/L of water to group B, C and D respectively, while group A was kept as a control. All the chicks were reared in separate pens in an open sided house under similar environmental condition. The experiment was continued till day-35 and relevant data were recorded throughout the experiment.

Preparation of infusion:For the preparation of infusion 5g of Allium sativum and 30g of Withania somnifera powder were kept in one liter of boiling water over night. At next morning the suspension was filtered through Watman filter paper No. 4. Fresh infusion was prepared on daily basis.

Parameters: Daily and cumulative feed and water intake was determined by offering known amount of feed and water and measuring the refusal.

Feed intake = Feed offered - Feed refused. Water intake = Water offered - Water refused Body weight gain was calculated on weekly basis and total body weight gain was calculated at the end of experiment.

Body weight gain = Final weight - Initial weight

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated at the end of experiment by using the following formula.

FCR = Feed Intake/ Weight gain On the last day of study, three birds from each replicate were live weighed and slaughtered. Head, feet, all internal visceral organs, including abdominal fat were removed and then the dressed body was weighed. The dressed body weight was expressed in terms of dressing percentage.

Dressing percentage = Dressed weight / Live weight x 100

Statistical analysis: The data recorded for all the parameters, were statistically analyzed by the standard procedure of analysis of variance, using Completely Randomized Design (CRD) as described by Steel et al., (1997). The statistical package SAS (1997) was used to perform the analysis.


Feed and water intake: Mean feed and water intake of the four treatments groups A, B, C and D is presented in Table 1. Analysis of variance indicated significant (P less than 0.05) difference in the four treatment groups. Significantly higher feed and water intake was observed in group D receiving higher quantity of infusion.

The better feed intake in the broiler chicks feeding water based infusion might be due to the availability of water based fraction of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera constituents like acillin and withanoids. These fractions may help to enhance the activities of gut (GIT) microflora of the birds. Findings of our results are similar to Guo et al. (2004) who reported significant increase in feed intake by Chinese herbal medicines. Similar results were reported by Ademola et al. (2004) who used garlic and ginger extract.

Table 1.Effect of different levels of water based infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera on mean feed and water intake (g) in broiler chicks.

Groups###Feed intake###Water intake

###Mean###CV %###Mean###CV %

A###2954.00c###5.72###4773.3 c###3.26

B###3293.17b###6.48###5978.67 b###3.95

C###3560.00 a###4.57###6340.00 a###1.82

D###3752.33Fa###2.04###6541.67 Fa###3.87

Mean in the column with different superscripts are significantly different at = 0.05

Body weight gain: Weekly and total weight gain of broiler chicks is presented in Table 2. Water based infusion affected body weight gain at all recorded stages. Body weight gain was significantly (P less than 0.05) higher in group D at all recorded stages. Group C performed similar to group B on day-21, -28 and -35. Over all weight gain was significantly (P less than 0.05) higher in group D as compared to all other groups.

Table 2. Effect of different levels of water based infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera on mean weight gain (g) in broiler chicks







C###265.35b###a 426.14a###547.64a###552.28a###1791.41b


Means within column with different superscripts are significantly different at a = 0.05

Mahmood et al. (2009) reported that A. sativum and N. sativum had positive effect on the growth rate, relative weight of giblets and dressing percentage. The presence of antibiotic substances in garlic (allicin) is responsible for the improvement of weight gain which may prevent the growth of aflatoxin producing fungus and pathogenic microorganism (Meraj, 1998). Lewis et al. (2003) in their experiment observed significant body weight gain in broiler chicks by mixture of medicinal plants (Milk thistle, garlic and orange).

Feed conversion ratio (FCR): Mean feed conversion ratio is presented in Table 3. Mean feed conversion ratio (FCR) was significantly affected by water based infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera at all stages except days 14 and 35 and was the best in group C and D as compared to the control group.

Table 3. Effect of different levels of water based infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera on mean feed conversion ratio (FCR) in broiler chicks.







Mean within the same column with different superscripts are significantly different at a = 0.05

A. sativum protects the gastrointestinal tract from pathogenic bacteria which increase metabolic rate and feed conversion ratio (Zeybek et al., 2007). The better FCR in group D receiving infusion in highest quantity might be due to the antiparasitic activities of garlic (Zener et al., 2003). Findings of Chowdhary et al. (2002) and Konjufca et al. (1997) are contrary to our finding who reported that garlic paste has no influence on FCR of laying hen and Ross chicken respectively.

Dressing percentage: Average dressing percentage for the four treatment groups is presented in Table 4. Analysis of variance indicated significant difference (P less than 0.05) among the treatment groups. Significantly high dressing percentage was observed in group D as compared to all other groups.

Table 4. Effect of different levels of water based infusion of Allium sativum and Withania somnifera on mean dressing percentage of broiler chicks

Group###Mean###CV %

A###58.67 b###1.01

B###57.86 b###2.55

C###54.93 c###3.09

D###63.86 a###3.07

Mean in the column with different superscripts are significantly different at a=0.05

Similar to the present findings significant increase (p greater than 0.05) in dressing percentage was reported by Javed et al. (2009) while working on mixture of plants in broiler. Mahmood et al. (2009) evaluated the growth promoting effect of A.Sativum on growth rate and relative weights of giblets and dressing percentage in broiler chicks. In series of their experiments they observed no significant effect on dressing percentage of broiler chicks in treated and control groups.

Economic evaluation: The economic evaluation of the study showed that maximum profit per bird has been achieved with the increased intake of Allium sativum and Withania Somnifera infusion, as it is effective in the body weight gain of the birds and reducing feed conversion ratio as shown in Table 2 and Table 3. These results are supported by the studies of Jahan Zeb et al. (2008), Narahari (1995) and Prajapati (1997) as they also reported extra profit per bird after using these plants. Nidaullah et al. (2010) and Shahriyar and Durrani (2006) also concluded increase in profit per bird after using these medicinal plants. Sultan Mehmood et al. (2009) also showed the extra profit per bird when he used these plants


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Article Details
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Author:Rehman, Z.U.; Khan, S.; Chand, N.; Tanweer, A.J.; Sultan, A.; Akhtar, A.; Tauqeer, A.M.
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Science
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 30, 2012

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