GROWTH AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF WEANER RABBITS
GROWTH AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF WEANER RABBITS
In order to study the growth and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits fed four dietary levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM), twenty four (24) cross-bred rabbits of both sexes, consisting of twelve (12) males and twelve (12) females, were used.
Treatments 1, 2, 3, and 4 received, respectively, 0, 10, 20, and 30% MOLM.
According to the results, rabbits on the T3 diet gained the most weight (1600.00 56.27g), while those on the T2, T4, and T1 diets gained, respectively, 1583.33 0.14g, 1441.67 47.29g, and 1366.67 77.10g.
Additionally, rabbits on T3 diets gained more weight each day (9.54 0.70g) than did those on T2, T4, or T1 diets (9.03 0.39g, 7.54 0.89g, and 6.65 0.85g), respectively. Additionally, there was a significant difference (P 0.05) in the cost of feed per kg of gain for treatment 3 (N77.08),
compared to Treatments 4, 2, and 1, whose feed prices were N85.57, N85.66, and N132.85, respectively. Feed consumption, feed conversion ratio, and feed price per kg feed (N) did not change significantly (P > 0.05) between treatments.
The results of the carcass investigation revealed a significant difference (P 0.05) in the weights of the liver, lungs, spleen, and thoraxic width of the lion.
On the other criteria, such as liver weight, dressed weight, carcass length, head weight, fore limb weight, hind limb weight, heart weight, and kidney weight, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05), according to the study.
A comparison of the haematological traits of rabbits given MOLM revealed no statistically significant differences in packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (HB g/d), red blood cell count (RBC), or white blood cell count (WBC) (P>0.05).
Therefore, this study reveals that for maximum performance, rabbits can take up to 20% of Moringa oliefera leaf meal (MOLM). Higher degrees of integration led to poorer performance and ought to be avoided.
Fast-growing animals with short generation intervals are becoming increasingly popular due to the rising demand for animal protein and tighter economic conditions.
Pigs and poultry are the preferred options, but due to the high cost of production and competition with humans for feed, their production is more difficult. Fetuga (1997) detailed the underwhelming rate and degree of performance in Nigeria's cattle sector.
He attributed this, among other things, to the high cost of feeds, which was primarily caused by variations in the supply of feed, rising ingredient prices, poor-quality feeds, and inefficiencies in the manufacture and distribution of feeds in the feed sector.
Numerous researchers have offered solutions for improving Nigerians' low consumption of animal protein. The rabbit is one of the cheapest meat producers that may readily fit into a larger segment of the population but has been overlooked in Nigeria.
The ability of the rabbit to transform foods like forages, the majority of agricultural byproducts, kitchen trash, etc. into very nutrient-dense meat.
Rabbits have a fast reproductive rate, are inexpensive to feed since they can consume roughage feeds, have a quick gestation period, a high dressing percentage, and a low purchase price.
However, proper nutrition is a key component of efficient rabbit production (Standford 1979). No rabbit is so good that poor nutrition won't spoil it, and no rabbit is so horrible that good nutrition won't make it better.
When it is discovered that the biggest expense in raising rabbits is nutrition, proper feeding becomes of the utmost significance to the rabbit producer. A poorly fed rabbit cannot deliver its best performance.
The type or quality of the feed is more crucial than the quantity since poor nutrition leads to delayed growth, ineffective reproduction, and illness susceptibility in the animals.
According to Aduku and Olukosi (1990), the ideal digestible energy range for rabbits in the tropics is between 10.00 to 10.46 MJ/Kg. However, the digestible energy (DE) level found by these researchers is comparable to the 10.46 MJ/Kg digestible energy (DE) level suggested by NRC (1977) for growing rabbits in temperate regions.
For rabbits to function at their best in the tropics, Aduku and Olukosi (1990) also suggested a range of 2390–2500 Kcal/Kg of energy and a crude protein level of 12–17%. According to Fielding (1991), the ideal crude protein (CP) range for developing rabbits is between 16 and 18%.
The use of unusual substances in the formulation of livestock feeds has recently attracted considerable interest. According to Standford (1979), rabbits may survive on a variety of different meals.
As a result, it's important to look at alternative feed sources like Moringa oleifera, whose leaves are widely utilised as animal feed.
In nations like Senegal, Niger, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Malawi, India, Spain, the United States, and Germany, among others, the leaves, stems, roots, and other components of the Moringa oleifera plant are frequently used as animal feeds (Fugile, 14 1999). Its potential as an addition to animal feed, meanwhile, has not been adequately studied in Nigeria.
The multifunctional browsing plant Moringa oleifera has advantageous traits. Man consumes the leaves and green, young pods as vegetables because they are high in carotene and ascorbic acid and have a favourable amino acid profile (Makkar and Becker 1996).
It is also used as livestock feed, and according to Sutherland et al. (1990), Sarwatt et al. (2002), and Kimoro (2002), its twigs have noticeable crude protein levels ranging from 26 to 27 percent and are particularly appealing to ruminants.
According to Fuglie (1999), Moringa oleifera leaves and stems have a high bioavailability, making them a superior feed for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and rabbits.
Methionine and cysteine, two sulfur-containing amino acids that are frequently deficient in the majority of animal feeds, are abundant in the leaves of Moringa oleifera (Maroyi, 2006).
For the production of tilapia fish, moringa oleifera leaves have also been employed as an alternate protein source (Becker et al., 2002).
According to Mathur (2006), feeding Moringa oleifera leaves and green stems to calves can boost milk output by 43–65% and daily weight growth by up to 32%. According to Onimisi et al. (2007),
adding up to 30% of Moringa oleifera leaf meal to a rabbit's diet won't have a negative impact on the animal's ability to grow. According to Kakengi et al. (2007), laying birds can consume up to 20% of moringa oleifera without experiencing any negative effects.
The authors continued by saying that Moringa oleifera leaf meal is a better diet for monogastric animals due to its high pepsin and total soluble protein content.
The fresh leaves of Moringa oleifera, especially in the north of Nigeria, are consumed as vegetables, the roots are used as medicines, and the stems and branches are used to mark property lines, field boundaries, and home fences (Muyibi and Evison, 1994).
The fact that Moringa oleifera plants are widely distributed throughout the nation as natural pasture is a strong indicator that the plant can be effectively employed to address the feed millers' existing issues with a lack of protein sources.
Similar to many other developing nations, Nigeria is now dealing with a lack of and high price for conventional feeds for chickens, rabbits, and other animals, with protein sources of both plant and animal origin accounting for the majority of the cost.
In order to determine how much Moringa oleifera can supplement or entirely replace other plant protein sources in animal meals, further research is required.
This study looked into how weaner rabbits responded to diets that contained varying amounts of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. The following were the study's particular goals:
i. To evaluate how well weaner rabbits grew after being fed graded amounts of Moringa oleifera leaf meal.
ii. To assess how the diets affected the rabbits' carcass features.
iii. To find out the rabbits' haematological characteristics after being fed Moringa oleifera leaf diet.
iv. To calculate the financial impact of feeding rabbits graded amounts of dietary Moringa oleifera leaves.
1.2 Justification Of The Study
The need to maximise the effective use of non-conventional feedstuffs has become necessary due to the high cost of protein feedstuff for livestock feeding as a result of the scarcity of feedstuffs like fishmeal, groundnut cake, and soya bean meal as well as the high competition that exists between man and animals for the conventional feed stuffs.
Reduce the amount of these pricey feedstuffs and replace them with less expensive non-traditional protein feedstuff, such as Moringa oleifera. This will significantly lower the cost of producing rabbit diets, making them more affordable for rabbit growers.