Performance characteristics of growing rabbits fed diet based on a non-conventional ingredient
A feeding trial using twenty four cross bred 8-9 weeks old rabbits was conducted to investigate the effect of feeding cerelac waste - CW (a by-product of the infant food industry considered as waste) on the performance and organ characteristics of growing rabbits. Three experimental diets were formulated with diet 1 serving as the control. Diets 2 and 3 had CW included at 25 and 50% respectively. The rabbits were randomly allocated into 3 treatment (after weight balancing) groups of 8 rabbits each and the groups were assigned randomly to the three diets with each rabbit serving as a replicate in a Complete Randomized Design experiment. The experiment lasted for 8 weeks. Dietary treatments had no significant (p>0.05) effect on the average daily gain, which was 11.3, 11.6, 11.3 g/d for the control, 25 and 50% inclusion respectively. In addition, the feed conversion rate was not significantly (p>0.05) affected by the inclusion of CW, which were 6.64, 6.24 and 6.45 for the control, 25 and 50% inclusion of CW respectively. However, the feed cost per kg as well as feed cost per kg weight gain decreased linearly with increasing level of CW. The relative organ weights showed no significant differences (p>0.05) across the dietary treatments. In conclusion, 50% CW can be included in growing rabbit diets without negative effect on performance.
Keywords: Cerelac waste, daily weight gain, growing rabbit, haematological parameters, relative organ weight