NUTRIENTS UTILIZATION AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF WEANER RABBITS AS INFLUENCED BY DIFFERENTLY PROCESSED RATTLE BOX (Crotolaria retusa) LEAF MEAL

Authors

  • Yashim, S. M. Department of Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
  • Gadzama, I. U. National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Shika-Zaria.
  • Anene, D. O. Department of Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Keywords:

Rattle box, Crotalaria retusa, Nutrient Utilization, Carcass, Rabbits.

Abstract

In an experiment to evaluate the effect of feeding differently processed rattle box (Crotalaria retusa) leaf meal on nutrient retention, digestibility and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits in Northern Guinea Savannah zone of Nigeria, twenty four (24) weaner rabbits of mixed breeds with an average weight of 658±0.12 g were randomly allotted to four (4) dietary treatments with six (6) rabbits per treatment in a Completely Randomized Design. The leaves of Crotalaria retusa were harvested fresh and divided into three portions of 4kg each. The first portion was ensiled in a polyethene bag for 14 days, the second portion was oven dried at 60oC for six (6) hours while the third portion was shade-dried for three (3) days. After proper drying, all the samples were ground using hammer mill and taken to the laboratory for proximate analysis. The results of the nutrient intake and digestibility revealed that dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF), ether extract, minerals (ash) and nitrogen free extract (NFE) were significantly higher (P<0.05) in the diet containing ensiled Crotalaria retusa leaf meal as compared to other treatment diets. Nutrients intake and digestibility were significantly similar (P >0.05) in oven-dried C. retusa and air-dried C. retusa diets. Dietary treatments have no significant (P >0.05) effect on chest, loin, stomach, length of large intestine, empty weight of the small intestine and large intestines. But significant (P<0.05) difference were observed across the treatments for pre-slaughter weight, dressing percentage, heart, lungs, head, liver, kidney, thigh, tail, fat, spleen, weight of small intestine and empty weight of the small intestine. It was concluded that processed leaves of Crotalaria retusa could be efficiently utilized by weaner rabbits without any deleterious effect. However, further studies into the long term effect on internal organs and reproductive performance is suggested.

Published

2017-06-30