Growth performance, carcass and organ characteristics of growing rabbits fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal in diets
An experiment was conducted at the Department of Animal Science teaching and research farm, Bayero University Kano, to evaluate the effect of feeding graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) in diets on growth performance, carcass and organ characteristics of weaned rabbits. Twenty eight grower rabbits of averagely 975g in weight were allotted into four treatments of seven rabbits each in a completely randomize design. Four isonitrogenous diets (16% CP) were formulated in which MOLM was included at 0, 15, 30 and 45% for treatments 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively. The diets were fed to the animals for eight weeks. The result showed that daily weight gain (5.95-13.39g/day) and carcass weight (497.70-727.65g) increased (P<0.05) with increasing levels of MOLM in diets, but dressing percentage (42.49-45.96%) was not affected by dietary treatments. Similarly, the weight of liver (40.35-57.05g), lungs (10.22-11.24g), heart (2.95-4.10g), kidney (8.30-10.70g), kidney fat (11.10-12.65g), small intestine (81.25-99.80g), large intestine (102.45-117.95g), caecum (20.50- 30.50g), stomach (90.75-114.65g), spleen (1.00-1.80g) and abdominal fat (7.89-11.25g) characteristics were not different across the treatments. The results indicate that weaned rabbits can utilize Moringa oleifera leaf meal at up to 45% level of inclusion in diets without any deleterious effects on growth performance, carcass yield and organ characteristics.
Key words: Carcass yield, growth, Moringa oleifera, organ characteristics, rabbits