Medicinal leeches are one of the neglected organisms in animal reproduction studies. In this study, the effects of feeding two different types of blood, mammalian (cattle blood) and poultry (chicken blood), on the reproductive efficiency, growth performance and survival of the southern medicinal leech, Hirudo verbana, were investigated. The type of blood fed did not have a significant effect on the growth performance and survival of leeches, but the leeches fed chicken blood had a 2.5-fold greater performance compared to those fed cattle blood in terms of the gravidity process and reproductive efficiency. The final weight and survival for the cattle group was 10.79 ± 4.80 g and 87% and for the chicken group was 10.12 ± 5.26 g and 85%. Gravidity was initiated in the 7th month in both groups; however, while all gravidities in the leeches fed with chicken blood occurred in 1-month period, the gravidity of the leeches fed cattle blood occurred in a 3-month period. The cocoon efficiencies were 6.67 ± 1.50 cocoons/broodstock and 2.67 ± 3.37 cocoons/broodstock in the chicken and cattle groups, respectively. There were larger cocoons in the chicken compared to the cattle group. The offspring efficiencies were 12.59 ± 4.17 offspring/cocoon and 9.81 ± 3.67 offspring/cocoon in the chicken and cattle groups, respectively. The results of this study indicate poultry blood can be used in the management of broodstock with greater reproductive efficiency in medicinal leech aquaculture. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.