NUTRIENT COMPOSITION AND FEED VALUE OF THE FRESH LEAVES AND SUCCULENT STEMS OF FICUS THONNINGII FOR GROWING RABBITS

Authors

  • Dzungwe, E. N. Department of Animal Production, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria
  • Shaahu, D. T.
  • Carew, S. N.
  • Tuleun, C. D.

Keywords:

Concentrate, fresh leaves, Ficus thonningii, rabbits, sole feed

Abstract

Four groups of weaner rabbits were each offered one of the following diets: grower concentrate diet, ad libitum, a sole diet of the fresh leaves and succulent stems (FLSS) of Ficus thonningii, ad libitum, both concentrate diet and FLSS of ficus, ad libitum, or FLSS of ficus, ad libitum, plus 50% of the concentrate intake of rabbits fed only concentrate. The ficus forage was found to contain 56% DM, 11% CP, 24% CF, 3667 kcal/kg GE and 8.22 mg HCN/kg among other secondary plant metabolites. Arginine, methionine and lysine content of ficus FLSS were found to be higher than for most other plant proteins (4.08, 0.82, 3.60g/100g protein respectively). Rabbits fed only concentrate gained weight faster than the other rabbits, but production cost was lower for rabbits fed both FLSS and concentrate. Rabbits fed only ficus FLSS lost weight at the rate of 9g/day and all died before the end of the 4th week of the study. It was concluded that, whereas FLSS of ficus was not a suitable sole feed for young rabbits, it can be advantageous if fed in combination with concentrate feed.

Published

2017-06-30