Effects of feeding sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) leaves on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of rabbits
Forty-five (45) weaner rabbits were randomly allotted to five dietary treatments (T) to evaluate the effects of graded levels of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) leaves (SPL) and pelletized concentrate feed (PCF) on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of rabbits. The treatments were: T1 (0% SPL; 100% PCF); T2 (25% SPL; 75% PCF); T3 (50% SPL; 50% PCF); T4 (75% SPL; 25% PCF) and T5 (100% SPL; 0% PCF), respectively. Significant differences (P<0.05) in final body weight, total weight gain, daily weight gain, daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio were observed. Rabbits on T1 and T3 had higher values for final body weight (1542.13 and 1518.62 g), total weight gain (899.12 and 877.30 g) and daily weight gain (16.03 and 15.47 g), respectively. Also, they had the least feed conversion ratio and consumed less feed when compared with those on diets T2, T4 and T5. Apparent nutrient digestibility results showed significant differences (P<0.05) in dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF) and energy among the dietary treatment groups. From the result of this study, it was concluded that diet having 50% SPL and 50% PCF should be fed to rabbits for optimum growth performance and subsequent reduction in the overall cost of rabbit production in the humid tropics.
Key words: Sweet potato, digestibility coefficient, crude protein.