Natural feed additives of plant origin are generally believed to be safer, healthier and less subject to hazards (Ghazalah and Ali, 2008). Herbs and herbal products are incorporated in livestock feeds instead of chemical products in order to stimulate or promote the stimulate or promote the effective use of feed nutrients which result in more rapid gain, higher production and better feed efficiency, moreover, herbs contain active substances that can improve digestion, metabolism and posses bacterial and immunostimulant action of animals (Sabra and Metha, 1990).

Its known that the cost of feed in broiler production could reach 75% of the total operational cost (Mohebbifar and Torki, 2011), poultry meat offers considerable potentials for bridging the gap between supply and demand for animal protein especially in Africa and other less developed nations (Onibi et al., 2009). The low level of supply of animal protein is to the poor performance of livestock (Aletor, 1986), which has been attributed to factors, such as inadequate nutrition, high price and poor quality of feed and inefficiency in production and distribution in the feed industry (Tewe, 1997).
Several attempt have been made in this region to reduce feed cost while improving productivity of high – meat yielding exotic poultry like broilers chicken, these include the use of agro – industrial by – products (Aletor, 1986), maggot meal (Awoniyi et al., 2004), leafy vegetable protein concentrate (Agbede and Aletor, 2003) and herbaceous human haematinics (Adedapo et al., 2002; Nworgu et al., 2007). Apart from the inadequate supply and consumption of animal protein, there has been a resurgence of interest in improving the physiochemical and sensory properties of meat as well as it storage life (Onibi et al., 2009). In pursuit of improved chicken healthiness and in order to fulfill consumers expectation in relation to food quality, poultry producers more and more commonly apply natural feeding supplement mainly herbs (Gardzlelewska et al., 2003.
Herbs and spices are well known to exert antimicrobial actions in vitro against important pathogen including fungi (Windisch et al., 2008). Growth enhancement through the use of phytobiotics is probably the result of the synergistic effects among complex active molecules existing in phytobiotic (Hashemi and Davoodi, 2010), many herbs and plant extracts and which makes them useful as natural animal feed additives (Faixova and Faix, 2008).
THYME (Thymus vulgaris L.) is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the Lamiacease family, Thymol, a major component of thyme essential oils has been widely studied for it antimicrobial properties (Dorman and Deans, 2000). Studies showed that thyme plant could be considered as an alternative natural growth promoter for poultry instead of antibiotics (Mcdevitt, D. E, et al., 2007) In addition, these phenolic compounds exhibit considerable antimicrobial and antifungicidal activities (Basilico and Basilico, 1999). Thymol is currently used to inhibit oral bacteria (Twetman and Peterson, 1997). Furthermore, Allen et al., (1998), Denil et al., (2004) and cros et al., (2007) reported the beneficial effects of thyme in poultry production. This class of feed additives has recently gained increasing interest especially for use in poultry (Mohebbifar and Torki, 2011). Phytogenic feed additives are discussed possibly to add to the set of non-antibiotic growth promoters, such as organic acids and probiotics which are already well established in animal nutrition (Mohebbifar and Torki, 2011). Ground thyme has been shown to inhibit the growth of S. tyhimurium when added to media (Aktug and Karapinar, 1986) the essential oil of the thyme has been shown to inhibit the growth of E. Coli in media (Marino et al., 1999)
Rosemary belong to the Lamiaceae family is well known for its antioxidative properties, is used for flavouring foods and beverages and is also used in several pharmaceutical applications (Umitpolat et al., 2011). These polyphenols also have important biological activities in vitro such as anti-tumour, chemo – preventive and anti inflammatory activities (Shuang – Sheng and Rong – Liang, 2006), Cheung and Tai, 2007). Antioxidants effects of aromatic plants is  due to the presence of hydroxyl group in their phenolic compound (Shahidi and Wanasundara, 1992). It has been proposed that poly phenols from rosemary may greatly increase the functionality of food in terms of health and wellness, it has been extensively reported that rosemary essential oils have antimicrobial properties against a wide range of micro-organisms, although there is little information regarding the specificity and efficacy of non-volatile phenolic compounds such as microbicides (Shahidi and Naczk, 2004, santoyo et al., 2005).
Rosemary extracts (RE) have a wide range of different  phenolic compounds with biological activities eg, Carnosic acid (CA), Carnosol, rosmanol, epirosmanol (Galobart, J. et al., 2001). Carnosic acid is the most active anti-oxidant present in rosemary extracts (RE) (Cuvelier et al., 1996; Richheimer et al.,1996; offord et al., 1997), with an anti-oxidant activities approximately three times higher than carnosol and seven times higher than Butylated hydro oxytoluence and butylated hydroxyanisol (Richheimer et al., 1996). Rosemary has high amount of a rosmaric acid (Nielsen et al., 1999). Flavonoids and phenolic acids (Ho, et al., 2000)  that have antioxidant capacities. (Karpinske et al., 2000), also demonstrated that the addition of Rosemary leaves meal extract delayed the appearance of rancidity in poultry products. Tekeli et al., (2006) determined that the rosemarinus officinalis leaves could be used to decrease blood glucose. The efficacy of utilization of thyme and rosemary in broiler chicks will be determined by evaluating the growth performance, hematological and serum biochemistry and economics of production of broiler chicks fed with dietary thyme and rosemary.

The objectives of this study are:  
1.         To determine the effects of dietary thyme and Rosemary on the growth performance of broiler chicks.
2.         To investigate the effect of dietary thyme and rosemary on the hematological and serum biochemistry characteristic on broiler chicks
3.         To evaluate the economics of production of broiler chicks, adding dietary thyme and rosemary on feed.

            Poultry feeding is one of the important branches of poultry science since feed cost alone accounts for 60 – 85% of the total farm expenses, (Nwakpu, 2010). So in a developing country like Nigeria, which are still undergoing series of changes in animal nutrition. The low level of supply of animal protein is due to the poor performance of livestock (Aletor, 1986), which has been attributed to factors such as inadequate nutrition, high price and poor quality of feed and inefficiency in production and distribution the feed industry (Tewe, 1997).
            There are resultant losses in birds performance, when they are fed low-quality feed, the resultant effects are delay in market weight gain in broiler and high mortality rate due to disease and malnutrition. Options advocated towards alleviating/eliminating these problem of low quality in poultry feed, high mortality rate have included the use of natural growth promoters such as probiotics, prebiotics or their combination, and medicinal plants as feed medicinal plants as feed additives in poultry diet to enhance the performance of poultry birds (Khan et al., 2010, 2011a). These materials are nutritionally adequate and locally available as to sustain and enhance the development of poultry industry in Nigeria.
            Some of such materials that can be beneficial to poultry feeding are thyme and rosemary. They have been found to have a positive effect on the performance and immunity of the animals. How ever the efficacy of utilization of dietary thyme and rosemary will be determine by evaluating the growth performance, hematological and serum biochemical characteristics and economics of production of broiler chicks, fed with dietary thyme and rosemary.

Experimental Site:
            The experiment will be carried out at the poultry unit of the teaching and research farm of the Department of Animal Science, Ebonyi state University, Abakaliki. Which lies approximately on latitude 7o 30E and 8o 30 E and longitude 5o 40N and 6o 45N. (Nwakpu, 2008).

            The thyme and rosemary to be used for the experiment will be purchased dry, from the market, it will be measured and ground to fine particle (powder) that will be add to the formulated broiler starter mash feed for the experiment.

            85 day old broiler chicks will be purchased from any reputable commercial Hatchery. Before the arrival of the birds, the old litter materials will be removed and the house will be washed and disinfected, restoration of the lights, closing Opens, washing of the drinkers and feeders and sun dry, heater, all will be made available for the birds in the poultry house. Two hours before the arrival of the chicks, the poultry house will be preheated.
            On arrival the birds will weighted and counted for appropriate/accurate record keeping, followed by given vitamins and glucose in water against stress, likewise feeds on they feeders respectively, adequate heat will also be provided following they behaviours, and feeds and water will be made available for them in their feeders and drinkers respectively. Before the experiment commences, the chicks will be kept to acclimatize for 7 days. Within this period the chicks will be fed commercial broiler starter diet and given drinking water ad libitum, on the 8th day, 72 birds will be randomly selected and divided into 4 treatment groups in a completely randomized design (CRD) with 18 birds each. Each treatment will be replicated 3 times with 6 birds per replicate. Feed and water will be provided for the birds throughout the experimental period of 4 weeks, the birds will be housed in a deep litter compartment, ventilation and heat will be provided and adjusted as necessary to maintain the birds comfort and body temperature. All the necessary vaccination and other routine poultry management practices will be maintained.

            The dietary thyme and rosemary so processed will be added to four experimental broiler starter diet formulated such that Diet 1: Which will serve as the control diet which contains no additive. Diet 2: will contain 5g of thyme per kg feed, Diet 3:  will contain 5g of rosemary per kg feed respectively. Diet 4: will contain a combination of 5g of dietary thyme and rosemary per kg of feed.
Data will be collected based on the objectives of the experiment, on the following parameters.

Weighed quantity of feed, will be served to each replicate group daily. The leftover feed will be collected the next day, weighted and recorded from this, the daily feed intake of each replicate group will be determined by the difference between the feed served and the leftover feed.
Feed intake                =          Total feed served minus leftover
:.          Feed intake    =          total feed served – leftover feed.

Before the commencement of the experiment, the birds will be weighed to obtain the initial body weight  and subsequently weekly. At the end of the experiment, the total body weight gain will be determined by subtracting the initial body weight. The daily body weight gain will be determined by dividing the body weight gain by the number of days of the experiment. Such that,
 Weight gain = final body weight – initial body weight.
Daily body weight gain = total body weight gain / number of days of experiment.

Feed conversion ratio will be calculated by dividing the average daily feed intake by the average daily weight gain.
Feed conversion ratio (FCR) =  Average daily feed intake               
                                                       Average daily weight gain

At the end of the feeding trial (4 weeks), three birds which will be randomly selected, from each replicate group. Blood sample will be collected from the wing vein of the birds with the aid of a Sterile  hypodermic needle, into a well labeled sterile bottle, that contains EDTA as an anticoagulant, to evaluate /determine the following.
(a)  packed cell volume (P.C.V),                              
(b)  Red blood cell (R B C)
( c)  white blood cell (WBC) counts, and hemoglobin (H b)
            At the end of the feeding trial (4 weeks) of the experiment. Three birds will be randomly selected from each replicate group and blood samples will also be collected using a sterile hypodermic Needle, into a well labeled sterile bottles that didn’t contain anti coagulant, to determine the serum biochemistry which includes. The blood protein and cholesterol level of the blood.
A cost benefit (gross margin) analysis will be carried out, to determine whether the dietary thyme and rosemary inclusion on the formulated broiler starter mash/ diet, will have some economic benefit. The cost of production will include the cost of feed formulation, procurement of birds, vaccination/ medications, labour, Equipments, and other exigencies and miscellaneous expenses.
Feed cost  N/kg weight gain/bird/treatment
            = total cost of feeding (N)   
            Total  weight gain (kg)
Total revenue generated  =  final body weight x No. of birds x cost per kg live weight.
Net returns (N) = total revenue generated – total cost of production
Cost benefit ratio =   total cost of  production
                                                  Net returns    

The data that will be collected from the experiment will be subjected to a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA), where significant differences are observed, mean will be separated using fisher least significant difference (F – LSD) as outlined by Obi, (1995).

Xjjk    =          U + Hi + Mj  + Eij
Kijk    =          Any Observation made in the experiment
m          =          the population mean
Hi        =         Effect of type of herb (i = thyme  and rosemary).
Mi       =          Effect of method of feeding (j = feeding diet).
Eij       =          Experimental error.

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