This study aims to evaluate the influence of dietary flavonoids on the growth performance, blood and intestinal profiles, and carcass characteristics of broilers by employing a meta-analysis method.
A database was built from published studies which have reported on the addition of various levels of flavonoids from herbs into broiler diets and then monitored growth performance, blood constituents, carcass proportion and small intestinal morphology. A total of 42 articles were integrated into the database. Several forms of flavonoids in herbs were applied in the form of unextracted and crude extracts. The database compiled was statistically analyzed using mixed model methodology. Different studies were considered as random effects, and the doses of flavonoids were treated as fixed effects. The model statistics used were the p-values and the Akaike information criterion. The significance of an effect was stated when its p-value was <0.05.
Dietary flavonoids increased (quadratic pattern; p<0.05) the average daily gain (ADG) of broilers in the finisher phase. There was a reduction (p<0.01) in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) of the broilers both in the starter (linear pattern) and finisher phases (quadratic pattern). The mortality rate tended to decrease linearly (p<0.1) with the addition of flavonoids, while the carcass parameter was generally not influenced. A reduction (p<0.001) in cholesterol and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations (both linearly) was observed, while super oxide dismutase activity increased linearly (p<0.001). Increasing the dose of flavonoids increased (p<0.01) the villus height and villus height and crypt depth (VH:CD) ratio (p<0.05) in the duodenum. Similarly, the VH:CD ratio was elevated (p<0.001) in the jejunum following flavonoid supplementation.
Increasing levels of flavonoids in broilers diet leads to an improvement in growth performance, blood constituents, carcass composition and small intestinal morphology.