Great demand on poultry meat and competition among poultry companies or farmers force broiler chicken raisers to develop or enhance feeding strategy for efficient production. Feed additives that contain antibiotics and arsenic to promote growth on broiler chicken pose problems on health and the environment. Thus, this study, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Water as Natural Growth Enhancer for Gallus gallus domesticus (Broiler Chicken) was investigated. A total of 25 two-day old Gallus gallus domesticus chicks of mixed genders were used in the study and were randomly assigned to five treatment groups.
Five liquids were formulated representing the five treatments. The five treatments involved were: 1. ) Control or pure water; 2. ) Commercial; 3. ) 30% coconut water; 4. ) 60% coconut water 5. ) 100% coconut water. The indicators evaluated were the weight, height, feather size and the weekly feed consumption of broiler chickens, and the Return on Investment (ROI). Statistical tools like one-way ANOVA was used to determine the significant difference between the effects of concentrations of Cocos nucifera (coconut) water on the growth performance and weekly feed consumption of Gallus gallus domesticus.
Results showed that the use of 100% concentration of coconut water offers significant increase in weight and height of broiler chickens compared to other treatments. There were no significant difference observed among the different treatments to the feather size and feed consumption. The broiler chickens that were provided with 100% coconut water obtained the highest net income and ROI.
Poultry farming has been considered as one of the most progressive animal enterprises that provides meat and eggs for food. Production of meat from broiler chicken or Gallus gallus domesticus has become increasingly popular. In 2003, approximately 42 billion of broiler chickens were produced, and in 2012, recent data projected an increase in the production of broiler meat reaching 82. 9 million metric tons. In 2018, growth in production is expected to increase its average of 2 percent annually, rising its output from 65. 4 million metric tons in 2008 to 79. 5 million metric tons (Evans, 2012).
Increase in production of broiler chickens is caused by excessive demand on poultry meat which is cheaper compared to other animal meats. In the Philippines, broiler production reached 665 thousand metric tons in 2009, and increased by 4 percent in 2010. The total annual demand in 2009 for broiler meat reached nearly 689 thousand metric tons, up more than 3 percent from 2008. Population growth and high retail price of pork may result in the increase of chicken by consumers (Ang, 2010).
Broiler chickens are raised to reach a marketable weight (1 kg. or over) just within 40 to 50 days (De Leon, 1995). This promising quick return of investment or ROI encourages poultry raisers to raise broiler chickens even in backyards by low income families. Greater demand on poultry meat and competition among poultry companies or farmers force broiler chicken raisers to develop or enhance feeding strategy for efficient production that is, to achieve fast growing, heavy weight, healthier, and low mortality rate of broiler chickens.
Over the years, growth promoter feed additives have been added in poultry diets to promote growth, protect health and maximize the genetic potential of modern broilers and other poultry hybrids (Bozkurt et al, 2005). These additives contain antibiotics that act to prevent disease, enhance growth and to obtain feed conversion efficiency. Excessive use of feed additives poses danger to human’s health. It contains arsenic which is used to control intestinal parasites, reduce stress, stimulate growth, improve the color of the chicken meat and produce bigger-breasted chickens. Its use of this could cause human disease like cancer (Basu, 2008).
Laboratory analysis conducted by Basu (2008) in Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of Duquesne University, showed that the antibiotic arsenic compound roxarsone, which promotes the growth of blood vessels or angiogenesis in chickens to produce pinker meat, does the same in human cell lines. This is a critical first step in many human diseases, including cancer. Oral exposure to inorganic arsenic compounds causes cardiovascular effects. The cardiac effects of arsenic exposure are numerous, and include hypertension, altered myocardial depolarization, cardiac arrhythmias, and ischemic heart disease (Basu, 2008).
Basu (2008) added that workers in the commercial chicken farming industry are at risk of developing cancer and respiratory diseases due to their inhalation of the dust from the chicken feed and waste containing these additives in chicken feeds. These harmful side effects of feed additives prompted the search and development of alternatives to achieve safe and healthier growth enhancer or promoter additives to broiler feeds. Different researches have been made to investigate the effects of some natural products like natural materials from plants on the growth performance of broiler chickens.
Cocos nucifera or coconut is abundant in tropical countries worldwide. It is known as the “tree of life” because of the variety of products and by-products made from the tree namely: coconut meat, oil, juice, husk, shell, shell charcoal, leaves husk, pith, trunk and roots (Banzon,1982). In the Philippines, the Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA) reported that coconut export earnings for year 2011 reached 1. 9 US dollars. Some 39 coconut products and by products are exported to at least 100 countries.
For coconut water alone, the Philippines exported 16. 68 million liters of coco water valued at $15. 11 million. The value of shipments rose 174. 36% to $6. 6 million from $2. 4 million in the same period last 2011 (Alave, 2012). Forbes added that only a small volume of coconut water is being processed and 80% have been wasted in farms and that the government is making plans on how to retrieve all coconut water to meet the growing demand. Coconut water has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink due to its high potassium and mineral content.
Marketers have also promoted coconut water for having low fat and very low amounts of carbohydrates, calories, and sodium (Conis, 2011). The researchers believed that the vast amount of minerals, sugars, protein, vitamins, lipids, and others present in coconut water could be a good source as growth enhancer for boiler chickens. Thus, this study, Cocos nucifera water as natural growth enhancer for Gallus gallus domesticus or broiler chickens was investigated to have a safer and less expensive alternative source to feed additives that causes harmful effects to health and environment.