Department of Animal Science, Qaemshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr, Iran
Objective: A research was carried out to investigate the effects of nettle (Urtica dioica) powder (NP) and essential oil (NE) on performance, blood metabolites, carcass characteristics and antioxidant stability in broiler chicks. Methods: The treatments were T1: control diet, T2: control diet + 5g/kg NP, T3: control diet + 10 g/kg NP, T4: control diet + 5g/kg NE and T5: control diet + 10 g/kg NE. Blood sampling was performed at 35 days of age to evaluate the blood hepatic enzymes and biochemical parameters. At the end of experiment carcass characteristics were determined. The thigh meat samples were used to evaluate meat oxidative stability. Results: There were no significant differences in broiler performance among the treatments. In contrast, some of the carcass internal organs such as liver, bile sac, gizzard, proventriculus, and lungs weight were affected by the different level of NP and NE (p<0.05). The results of blood metabolites indicated that use of NP and NE decreased AST (IU/L) in birds (P<0.05). However, blood parameters such as ALP, ALT, glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride were not affected by dietary treatments. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), as an indicator for meat lipid oxidation after storage, were not influenced by adding NP and NE in broiler diets. This study concluded that inclusion of 10g/kg nettle (Urtica dioica) essential oil in diet probably can induce a potential toward improve internal organs. However, broilers performance did not altered by dietary nettle supplementation.