over the control, with higher levels of abdominal fat in the folic acid birds than the control. There was however no
difference between the folic acid treated birds. A second trial was conducted with the same levels of folic acid supplement
The result of the later trial showed a clearer picture of the effect of the different levels of folic acid supplementation on
broiler performance. There were conspicuous and significant higher levels of abdominal fat pads in the folic acid treated
birds than the control, with 30 mg level of supplementation eliciting a better effect than the other two levels (15 and
45mg) in all the performance parameters measured.
The high levels of abdominal fat pads in the folic acid treated birds recorded in the two previous trials calls for a
further research to clarify the mechanism underlying adipose tissue development in broilers. This may enhance efforts to
develop measures to reduce the accumulation of excess body fat in broilers. This is necessary since excessive
accumulation of fat in adipose tissue of broilers have been a major problem in the broiler industry. This is because high
body fat in broilers is associated with obesity and several metabolic disorders especially those affecting the
cardiovascular system which are responsible for a majority of flock mortality in broilers (Whitehead, 2001). The use of
abdominal fat content has been reported to be very useful in reducing fat deposition in broilers in the short- term than the
use of selection procedures in the long-term. This is because, abdominal fat grows faster than other fat tissues and it is a
reliable parameter for judging total body fat content because it is directly linked to total body fat content in avian species
The present research was designed to feed the pre-determined 30mg of folic acid per liter of drinking water for
varying durations from day-one of age of the broiler and determine the effect on performance and carcass characteristics
with emphasis on abdominal fat. The objective was to confirm the high levels of abdominal fat pads recorded in the folic
acid treated birds in the previous trials so as to clarify the mechanism underlying adipose tissue growth in broilers.
Parameters measured were: performance (body weight, body weight gains, feed intake, folic acid intake, feed conversion
ratio, feed efficiency and mortality), carcass (dressed weight, dressing percentage, breast with wings, thigh with drumstick
and back), internal organs (Heart, gizzard, abdominal fat and liver).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Chickens were handled and managed in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and use of
Animals, at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Obubra Campus, Cross River University of Technology, Cross River State
The research was carried out at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Department of Animal Science, Faculty of
Agriculture and Forestry, Obubra Campus. Cross River University of Technology, Cross River State Nigeria. The location of
Experimental treatments and design
The treatments comprised: a control and three different durations of folic acid administration from day-one of age.
These includes: T1 (control)= no folic acid supplementation; T2= 30mg of folic acid /litre of drinking water for 7 days (0-7
days of age); T3= 30mg of folic acid / litre of drinking water for 10 days (0-10 days of age); T4= 30mg of folic acid / litre
of drinking water for 14 days (0-14 days of age); Each treatment was replicated three times in a complete randomized
design i.e. twelve experimental units (pens). The folic acid supplements were purchased from one of the patent medicine
stores within the vicinity of the experiment. The folic acid pills were put into the drinking trough of water and allowed to
dissolve before stirring with a spatula to avoid loss of particles.
Management of experimental birds
Sixty day-old broiler chicks were purchased from a commercial distributor. The birds were divided into twelve groups
and each group was randomly assigned to an experimental unit. Each group was brooded separately in deep litter pens
measuring 1m × 1.5m (width × length). The birds were raised in these pens by dismantling the brooding compartments
after brooding. Feed and water were given ad libitum throughout the duration of the experiment which lasted for eight
weeks (56 days). Management during the brooding and rearing periods was based on standard husbandry practices for
broiler production. Commercial diets were used for the experiment. Chemical compositions of the experimental diets are
presented in table 1.
Table 1 - Chemical composition of experimental diets for broilers.
Crude protein (g/kg)
Crude fibre (g/kg)
Metabolizable energy (Kcal/kg)
*Source: Grand Cereal and Oil Mills Limited (Jos, Plateau State Nigeria).
Citation: Meremikwu VN and Izuki ED (2021). Effects of pre-determined level of folic acid supplement on performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens.