Combined physical, chemical and biochemical methods were used to process virgin seed meal of Jatropha curcas L. into treated Jatropha Seed Meal (JSM). Graded levels (0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25%) JSM treated by the various methods was included in the test diets which were fed ad libitum to 360 albino rats for a month in a single factor design trial. The results revealed that feed intake was numerically highest (p > 0.05) for the rats on the 5 % treated JSM diet, while feed efficiency was highest (p > 0.05) for those on the 10 % treated JSM diets. Weight gain was significantly highest (p< 0.05) for the rats on 10 and 15 % treated JSM diets. Lowest survival rate (17%) was observed on treated JSM diet processed by boiling, roasting followed by fermenting. Biochemical indices measured on treated JSM based diets were comparable with those obtained on the conventional diet (p > 0.05) except for blood cholesterol level (p < 0.05) which was elevated with increasing treated JSM in diets. There were also no significant differences recorded on AST and ALP activities (p > 0.05) between the treatments. Haematological indices investigated including PCV, RBC, Hb were insignificantly influenced by the 5% dietary treated JSM compared with the control diet (p > 0.05) and there was non-significant effect of the dietary treatment on the WBC differential counts of lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes and neutrophils. It was established in this study that inclusion of 5% treated JSM in diets had no detrimental effect on albino rats. Further researches are in progress to investigate inclusion of the treated JSM in diets at levels higher than the 5% used in this study.
Key Words: JSM, Cockerels, Performance, Biochemical and haematological parameters