Effects of feeding layer faeces on performance and microbial diversity of the faeces of growing rabbits
Thirty-two (32) weaned rabbits of mixed breeds and sexes with mean weight (410 g) were randomly allocated to four dietary treatments at 0, 10, 20 and 30% in a completely randomized design experiment to evaluate the growth performance and microbial diversity in the faeces of rabbits fed dietary inclusion of layers faeces. A feeding trial lasting for nine weeks was carried out. The layer feces on analyses recorded crude protein (19.40%), crude fiber (21.60%) and ash (3.97%). The macro nutrients analyzed ranged between 23.50 for Sodium to 5921.24 mg/kg for Calcium, and for the micro minerals, the values ranged between 0.31 and 63.19 mg/kg for Zinc and Iron, respectively. Results on performance showed that dietary treatment was most encouraging at 20% layers faeces-based diet, judging from the highest (700.00 g kg-1) weight gain observed. There were no significant difference (p>0.05) between rabbits fed the reference diet and diet 2, and between diets 3 and 4, with respect to weight gain. Among the relative organ weights, only the liver and kidney weights were not significantly influenced (p>0.05) by dietary faeces inclusion. The number of bacteria isolates and concentration from the rabbit faeces were minimal, and their concentration showed no negative consequence on the health status of the animal, as no mortality was recorded throughout the period of the experiment. Some of the bacterial isolates were shown to exhibit high sensitivity to antibiotic preparations, such as ciprofloxacin, gentamycin and tarvid. It was concluded from the results of this experiment that layers faeces could replace up to 30% maize without any adverse effect on growth performance, carcass cuts, organ weights and health status on rabbits.
Keywords: Rabbits, poultry faeces, feeding trial, anti-biotic, microbial diversity,