The use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal nutrition, especially poultry is facing a reduced acceptance due to the appearance of residues and resistant strains of bacteria.    
   But today, herbal agents could serve as safe alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters due to their suitability and preference of the broiler meat consumers, reduced risks, and minimal health hazards.

            Natural feed additives of plant origin are generally believed to be safer, healthier and less subject to hazards for humans and animal. Many herbs and plant extracts have antimicrobial activities and antioxidant properties which make them useful as natural animal feed additives (Faixova and faix 2008).
            There is an increase interest in the use of natural antioxidants such as Rosemary (Rosemarinus officianalis) and Thymus vulgaris. Rosemary, belongs to a lamilacease family and is known for its anti oxidative properties used for flavouring foods and beverages, several pharmaceutical applications.
            Rosemary (Rosemarinus official) is also used as a stimulating effects of digestion, antiparasictic and antibacterial on Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium (Cabuk et al., 2003) and antifungal (Solimon and Badea 2002).
            Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a plant that possesses antioxidant properties (Seung et at., 2004) and belongs to family of Lamiaceae, with the main components of phenols, thymol (40%) and carvacrol (15%). It is used traditionally for several medicinal purposes: Respiratory diseases, Antimicrobial, Antinomciceptive.
            Thymol and carvacrol are the main antibacterial active substances and the product of thyme extraction are thyme oil extract which contain approximately 15% essential oil (soluble in alcohol) and the thyme water extract (soluble in water).
            Essential oil is extracted from fresh or partially dried flowering tops and leaves of the plant by water or steam distillation providing a yield of 1.0% (Evas et al., 2001)
            The compounds which comprise the essential oil of thymus vulgaris have been identified as phenollic compounds such as thymol (44.4-58.1%), carvacro (2.4-4.2%) and terpipene (6.9-18.9%) and these compounds have strong antibacterial effects (Baranauskiene et al., 2003) and are also found in the extracted water  soluble fraction of thyme.
(1)       To determine the effects of different plant extracts (Rosemary and Thyme) on the performance of broiler.
(2)       To investigate the effect of Rosemary and Thyme on the haematological and serum biochemistry of finisher birds.
(3)       To evaluate economics of production of finisher broilers fed with thyme and Rosemary extracts.
            Studies have shown that the use of antibiotics and some organic acids as growth promoters in livestock production has a big side effect on human consumption. 
            On this, the best way of solving the problems facing the livestock farmers and the consumers is on the use of natural feed additives of plant origin, examples Rosemary and Thyme extract.
Some experiments conducted on plant extract have shown that they play a vital roles in maintaining human health and improving the quality of human life (Osman et al., 2005), their antimicrobial effects and stimulating effects on animal digestive system, their rapid gain, higher production and better feed efficiency (Sabra and Metha, 1990).
            This arose my interest to go on research on the importance of plant extracts and their effects on performance of the broilers.

            Global consumption of poultry products especially poultry meat, has consistently increased over the years. The global demand for poultry products will be in developing countries and such growth in the poultry industry is having a profound effect on the demand for feed and raw materials.
            The requirements for the four traditional feed ingredients such as maize, soy bean meal, fishmeal and meat meal is becoming clear but cannot be met even according to optimistic forecasts. A wide rage of alternative feedstuffs are available for feeding in the three poultry production systems and the greatest potential for efficiently utilizing of these feedstuffs will be in tradition poultry systems (scavenging and backyard) and the semi commercial system.
            In the semi – commercial system, only part of the feed requirement is purchased from commercial compounders, so there is opportunity for on farm mixing or dilution of purchased feeds with locally available and alternative feedstuffs.

            Alternative feedstuffs are often referred as “non-traditional feedstuffs” because they are not normally used in commercial animal diets. Some feedstuffs may have started as non – traditional, but are now being used increasingly in commercial diets, example palm kennel meal, which is a non-traditional feedstuff in Western Africa.
            It is recognized that in a developing African and Asian countries, the existing feed resources in many circumstances are either unutilized and wasted or used in efficiently and these alternative feedstuffs have obvious potential but their use has been negligible owing to constraints imposed by Nutritional technical and socio – economic factors.
            The major criteria that determines the regular use of feedstuff in commercial diets are as follows:
-              It must be available in economic quantities, even if its availability is seasonal
-              The price must be competitive against the main feedstuff
-              Its nutritive value must be understood, including its nutrient content, existing variation and nutrient digestibility.
Energy supplements feed:
It is advisable to offer small amounts of grains such as millets, maize and sorghum as energy supplements as well, small and damaged tubers and roots of cassava, sweet potatoes and yams, which are unfit for human consumption are available in many areas and could be processed into a high energy animal feed.
            Residues from the production of fermented cassava products can also be useful energy supplements and a number of locally available fruit by products can as well be used to provide energy, example banana peels.
            Protein supplements feed:
Green materials are the cheapest sources of protein available to poultry and a wide range of materials are available, which include herbs, fodders leaves, examples Leucaena, Calliandra, Sesbania leaves from cultivated plants, example cassava and aquatic plants, example Azolla, water hyacinth, Duckweed.
            The advantage in using green materials is their high dry matter yields, which can be harvested and fed directly to poultry in fresh form. The green materials are also rich in pigments, vitamins and minerals,
Minerals and Vitamin Supplements Feed:
            The scavenging birds have a great opportunity to balance their own micronutrient requirements. The minerals and vitamins are often provided from organic and non-organic materials pecked from the environment by the birds. Examples include snail shells, insects, fruits and fresh green material.

2.2 Ban of Antibiotics
Antibiotics as growth promoters have a long side effects on products like microbial resistance and increase of the blood cholesterol level in the livestock which lead to the ban of the antibiotics.
            Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned certain uses of Cephalosporins in food producing animals like cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys. The use of antibiotics in food producing animals, whether for treatment, disease prevention or growth promoters, allows resistant bacteria and resistance genes to develop and spread from those animals to humans through the food chain.
            The ban of antibiotics is to protect health of both humans and animals according to Micheal R. Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Food and Drug administration. The food and Drug administration said that the reason for the ban is to preserve the effectiveness of Cephalosporin drugs for food producing animals that have not been approved for use in those animals for instance; some Cephalosporins are approved only for treating humans or companion animals and to prevent disease in the food producing animals.
2.3       Thyme and Rosemary:
            Thyme (thymus vulgaris) a perennial shrub, which belongs to the Labiatae family of shrubs that grows up to 15cm to 30cm in height. Thyme has a dark lilac flowers and tiny green leaves.
            According to aronmatherapy, the aroma of Thyme is pervasive, persistent, strong and has a powerful disinfectant and bactericidal effects, which are helpful in preventing infections and have been used as a herbal remedy for many other ailments. Thyme is also called Banajwain in Hindi. Thyme has been recognized for its miraculous medicinal benefits in patients suffering from lung disorders. According to Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher, thyme is use for people suffering from Joint disorders and he also considered thyme as the most powerful antiseptic.
            Rosemary herb (Rosematinus Officianlis), also known as the herb of love, is a perennial herb mostly grown as an ornamental plant. Rosemary is well known for its herbal and therapeutic properties and its oil is now being used for various purposes.
            It is one of the most fragrant herbs, most popularly used as incense. Biologically, rosemary extract improved feed conversion efficiency of broiler fed diet supplemented with rosemary herb (Singletar and Rokusek, 1997)
2.4       Origin and important or thyme and Rosemary thyme existence is quiet unknown some historians believe that it wad Romas who introduced thyme in England and some say that thyme began from North of Alps between 850 and 1250.
In 16th century, thyme was cultivated everywhere in the world. Neumann, the German chemist, was the first person who extracted the essential oil of thyme in year 1725. thyme is stillin use for various pharmaceutical, cosmetic preparations, natural and alternative medicine.
Rosemary originated from the Mediterranean.
2.5       Important of thyme and Rosemary
            The essential oil of thyme has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
-           Inhalation of thyme oil has expectorant effect, flu of the bronchial origin.
-           Thyme essential oil massage tones the skin
-           Thyme essential oil inhalation stimulates appetite.
-           thyme is anti-fungal herb
-           Medicinal use of thyme essential oil helps the body’s immune system.
-           Rosemary when in used in teas, meat substitutes or as a marinade, it add flavor to the food and improves digestive health, cures disorders related to the digestive system like constipation and diarrhea.
-           rosemary herb is abundant in vitamin E which helps in fighting against free radicals rosemary herb is known to have cancer prevention which is an important health benefit and the use of rosemary leaves in culinary has proven to reduce the risk of the development of cancer like colon caner and lung cancer.
-           Rosemary oil is an important aromatherapy and have properties that are excellent in relaxing musdes, relieving stress, tension, anxiety, and in treatment and cure of insomnia if use as a massage oil for head and back.
-           Rosemary oil is beneficial as a hair oil and can be used to treat hair problems like thinning hair, hair loss and Dandrug.
-           Rosemary is used in treatment of asthma and other respiratory disorders.
-           Rosemary stimulates the central nervous system and circulation for low blood pressure and sluggishness.
-           rosemary oil and rosemary extract essential oil are used to alleviate the pain of sprains, arthritis, sciatica and neuralgia and as well a way to stabilize and extend the shelf life of cosmetics, creams, lotions and other herbal compounds.
2.6       Haematology and serum Biochemistry.
Blood samples were randomly samples were randomly collected from two birds form each treatment on the last day of the experiments in the morning hour. 2mls was collected into a treated bottle  with ethylene Diamine tetre acetic acid (EDTA) labeled coated for hematological assay.
The Blood samples were analyzed and the following haematological parameters were determined, packed cell volume (PCV) haemoglobin content (HB), Red Blood cell (RBC), white blood cell (WBC).
2.7       Serum Biochemistry: Serum was separated from the blood samples centrifugation at 400 RPM for 15 minutes and there after stored at-20oC. An minutes and there after stored at -20oC. An auto-analyzer was used to determine the concentration of serum protein, albumin, globulin and urea. All analysis followed the procedure described by Jerry et al.

This experiment/ study was carried out at the poultry unit of Animal Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources management, Ebonyi State University Abakaliki.
            Thyme and Rosemary leaves was purchased from Abakaliki main market, 200g of thyme and rosemary leaves each was used for the extraction.
            Thyme and Rosemary aqueous extract was prepared by soaking the ground thyme and rosemary in water for 24 hours, then filtered. The homogenous extract was store in the refrigerator, from there it was served to the birds on daily bases according to treatments.
            A total of sixty five day old broilers chicks were used. The birds were brood in deep litter system, where light was supplied to them (kerosene stoves, lantern) or electricity to provide the necessary heat needed to maintain their body temperature. At the 5th week, sixty (60) birds were randomly assigned to four treatments in a completely randomized design.
            Each treatment was replicates three (3) times with five (5) birds per replicate. Feed and water was provided ad libitum throughout the experimental period of 5 weeks.
            Other routine poultry management procedures which include daily inspection of birds for symptoms of diseases, mortality, cleaning of troughs and fresh feed was maintained.
            Commercial broiler starter diet was used for the experiment. The birds were served 0.4ml thyme extract / liter of water (T2), 0.4ml rosemary extract / liter of water (T3) and a combination of 0.4ml thyme and rosemary extract / liter of water (T4) respectively. Treatments one (T1) was served 0.0ml extract (control). This was served daily.

1.         Weight gain
2.         Feed intake
3.         Feed conversion ratio
4.         Hematology and serum biochemical indices
5.         Economics of production.
3.3       WEIGHT GAIN: Before the experiment starts, the birds were weighed to obtain their initial body weight. Then the birds were  weighed on weekly basis subsequently. Weight gain = initial body weight-final body weight.
DAILY BODY WEIGHT: It was body weight gain per number of days the experiment lasted.
3.5       FEED INTAKE: A weighed quantity of feed was given to the birds per replicate in the morning. The left over was collected and weighed every morning. Feed intake was then determined by subtracting the left over form the quantity given the previous day.
3.5       FEED CONVERSION RATION: The feed conversion ratio was determined by feed intake daily per weight gain.
WATER INTAKE: A measured quantity of water was given to the birds per replicate daily, and same amount of water measured was left in a separate drinker to determined the rate of evaporation after which, the left over was weighed and water intake was equally  weighed and recorded.
            Water intake was determined by adding the amount of water evaporated to the atmosphere and the left over and then substrate it from the water served.

            The daily protein intakes of the birds was obtained. Protein efficiency ratio was determined by using the values of daily protein intakes obtained to divide the daily weight gain of the birds.
            At the end of the experiment, 2mls of blood sample was collected from two (2) birds in each treatment for the evaluation of haematological indices. The blood sample was collected through the wing veins using sterile needle and syringes.
            The blood sample was done in the morning hour to avoid too much bleeding. The collection site was swabbed with alcohol cotton wool.
            The blood sample was collected into a sample bottle containing dispotassium salt of ethylene diamine tetracetic acid (EDTA-K2+) which was then served as anticoagulant.
            The blood sample was analyzed for packed cell volume (PCU), total erythrocyte (RBC) hemoglobin (Hb) and differential leucocytes (WBC) count according to the methods described by vein (1984). Erythrocyte (RBC) count was done in a haemoctometer chamber with Natt and Hardrics dilvents to obtain 1:200 dilution. The number of leucocytes will be estimated as total WBC x 200
            Packed cell volume (PVC) was measured as micro haematocrit with 75 x 16 cm capillary tubes filled with blood and centrifuge at 300 R.P.M A 5 minutes.
            The differential count of leucocytes was made from blood, stained with wrights dye and each type of cell counters with laboratory counter.
            Hemoglobin concentration (H.B.C) level was calculated according to Bush (1991) mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration was also calculated according to standard formula deduced by Schalm et al., (1975) and Jaiin (1986) as shown below

MCV               =          PCV x 10
                        RBC count (M106/mm3)

MCH               =          Hb (g1d1) x10
                                    RBC (M106/mm3)

MCHC            =          Hb(g1d1)x100
Blood samples 2mls 4 serum biochemical was collected and put in a vial bottle without an anticoagulant. The serum protein albumin, Globulin and Urea were analyzed using sigma kits according to (Igene and Oboh, 2004).

            A cost benefit analysis was carried out for the four treatments to ascertain whether thyme and Rosemary in the water have some economic benefits. The cost of production includes the cost of feeding, buying of the birds, labour, medication and vaccination. The revenue is being based on N950.00 per kg live weight of birds.
            The following parameters were obtained feed cost/feed consumed/bird/Treatment.
=          Total cost of feed (N)
            Total cost of consumed (kg)
Feed cost (NKg) weight gain / bird treatment
=          Total cost of feeding (N)
Total weight gain (kg)

Total weight x No of birds x Cost per kg live weight.
Net return (N) = total revenue generated – total cost of production.
            All the data collected was subjected to one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) Stell and Torie, 1978) significant difference between treatment means was separated using the New Duncan Multiple range test as outlined by Obi (2002).

The experimental model that was adopted is the linear additive model for completely randomized design experiment which is given as follows:
Xij       =          m + ti + Sij
Xij       =          Individual observation taken
m          =          The population or overall mean
ti          =          Treatment effect
Sij       =          Experimental error or residual
i           =          Number of treatment
j           =          Number of replicate.

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