Effect of Dietary Shea Nut Cake on the Growth and Blood Parameters of Rabbits
A 72-day feeding trial was conducted to determine the effect of dietary shea nut cake (SNC) on the growth, hematological and blood biochemical parameters of weaner rabbits. The double 3 x 3 Latin square design was employed for the experiment. The control diet (T1) contained 0% SNC, while the treatment diets T2 and T3 contained 5% and 10% SNC respectively. The feed intake and growth performance of the rabbits were not affected by SNC. Apparent DM digestibility did not also differ between treatment groups, although a gradual increase was observed as SNC inclusion level increased. The feed conversion efficiency (FCE) of the diets also increased with increasing inclusion levels of SNC (0.150, 0.171 and 0.209). The haematological and blood biochemistry results showed no significant differences (p>0.05) between T1 and T3, and T2 and T3 but there was a significant difference (p<0.05) between T1 and T2 for hemoglobin concentration (Hb), parked cell volume (PCV) and red blood cell count (RBC). The highest values for Hb, PCV and RBC were recorded for T1 (control). There were no significant differences (p>0.05) among the treatment means for WBC, neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, basophils, cholesterol, albumin and total serum protein. WBC, neutrophils, eosinophils and monocytes were highest in T2 (5% SNC) but lymphocytes was highest in T1 (0% SNC). Values for albumin and total serum protein were highest in T2 (5% SNC) but cholesterol was highest in T3 (10% SNC) even though it was within the normal range for rabbits. Feeding SNC up to 10% inclusion level did not negatively affect the growth, hematological and blood biochemical parameters of weaner rabbits.