The utilization of leaves and leaf extracts in animal production is gradually being accepted.
Some leaf extracts have shown to have some appetizing and digestion stimulating properties, some of the leaf extracts have also been shown to have anti-parasitic, anti-diarrhoeric, anti-microbial, antidiabetic and some other beneficial properties. According to Ezekweusils et al (2004), when some of these plant leaves are crushed, the leaf juice is used to treat stomach pain, convulsion, catarrh and diabetic in human being. It is cleared that some of the agents contained in these leaf extracts are used in cure of fever. (Agomo, 1992) Some of the leaves are burnt to repel mosquitoes. It is possible that water extracts of some of these plant leaves may have similar beneficial effect on poultry.
Some of the common plant leaves available in Benin City include bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), Awolowo leaf (Chromoleana odorata) scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum and Bridelia ferruginea (Euphobiaceae).
The use of these various plants extract in broiler production, has been documented (Essien et al, 2007).
Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) scent leaf (Ocimum gratisimium) siam leaf (Chromolaena odorata) and Bridelia ferruginea are commonly found in south-eastern and south west part of Nigeria. These plants has been found useful to both man and animal either consuming the leaves, root, bark or stem.
The bitter leaf also known as Ewuro (Yoroba), Etidot (Cross River) is a shrub or small tree of 2 – 5m with petiolate leaf of about 6mm and elliptic shape.