Response of rabbits to varying levels of cassava and Leucaena leucocephala leaf meal diets
An experiment was carried out to determine the performance, haematology, carcass characteristics and sensory evaluation of meat from rabbits (n = 30) fed varying levels of cassava and Leucaena leaf meal diets. Rabbits were randomly allocated to five dietary treatments of 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40% CLM replaced with LLM for treatments 1 to 5, respectively. Results showed that rabbits fed dietary treatment 30%CLM and 10%LLM had the highest (p<0.05) feed intake (94.49±3.63g/day), body weight gain (12.65±0.62g/ day), with those fed 40%LLM having the lowest values of 58.37g/day and 5.22±0.62g/day, respectively. Best (p<0.05) nutrient digestibility values were observed in 30%CLM and 10%LLM diets. Data on carcass characteristics shows significant (p<0.05) differences across dietary treatment. Dressing percentage ranged from 52.28% to 56.49% with rabbits fed 30% CLM having the highest (p<0.05). The sensory properties of the meat samples from loin of rabbits ranked the same (p>0.05) across dietary treatments. There were no significant differences (P<0.05) among groups for the haematological parameters, except for mean cell haemoglobin and mean cell haemoglobin concentration. It was therefore concluded that 30% of cassava and 10% Leucaena leucocephala leaf meals can be best incorporated in the diet of rabbits to achieved optimum production without any adverse effects on the animals.
Keywords: Rabbits, cassava, Leucaena, leaf meal, performance, haematology, carcass