The Effects of Turnip (Brassica rapa) Extract on the Growth Performance and Health of Broilers
Department of Animal Science, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht 4135-3516, Iran
Curtin University Sustainable Policy (CUSP) Institute, Curtin University, Kent St., Bentley, Western Australia 6102, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gunther Antonissen and Evy Goossens
Received: 13 February 2021
Revised: 5 March 2021
Accepted: 5 March 2021
Published: 18 March 2021
Antibiotics are commonly added to the diet of chickens grown for meat to reduce bacterial contamination of their gastrointestinal tract. The bacteria reduce the efficiency of feed utilization and, hence, growth. However, there are concerns about the inclusion of antibiotics in the feed of chickens grown for meat, because of the development of resistance in the bacteria. As a result, scientists are searching for alternative feed additives. Turnip extract is known to have antibacterial properties but has not been tested in the diet of broiler chickens. We tested several levels of turnip extract in the water for chickens and compared their growth and the level of bacterial contamination of their gut with that of chickens given a standard antibiotic. Although chickens with the highest level of turnip extract initially had slow growth, those given a medium level of turnip extract had faster growth overall, better feed conversion, fewer Gram-negative lactose bacteria in their cecum and fewer antibodies in their blood, compared with those fed the antibiotic. This suggests that inclusion of turnip extract in the diet of chickens could provide an alternative to conventional antibiotics.