Utilization of Neem Leaf Meal: Effect on growth response, haematology and serum biochemistry of rabbit does
This study determined the effect of Neem Leaf Meal (NLM) based - diets on growth response, haematological and serum biochemical indices of female rabbits (does). Twenty four (24) weaned rabbits (5 - 6 weeks old with average body weight of 600 ±1.05g) were used. The NLM was included in the diets at 0, 5, 10, and 15% levels as treatments TI , T2, T3, and T4, respectively. The rabbits were divided into four groups of six (6) each and randomly assigned to experimental diets using a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). Water was provided ad libitum and the rabbits were housed in disinfected wooden hutches for 56 days. Data on growth response, haematological and serum biochemical indices were collected and analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results revealed that the growth performance parameters showed significant (P<0.05) differences between dietary treatments with progressive decrease in values as the levels of NLM inclusion increased across the diets. The final weight gain ranged between 860 and 970 g/rabbit. The total weight gain was between 310 and 380 g/rabbit, total feed intake ranged between 2150 and 2221 g/rabbit while FCR ranged between 5.84 and 6.94. Growth parameters beyond 10% inclusion level were least compared with values in the control diet. The haematological indices showed that all parameters were significantly (P<0.05) affected by dietary treatments and within the normal ranges for apparently healthy rabbits. The serum biochemical indices were within normal ranges but not significantly affected (P>0.05) by dietary treatments. The study concluded that 10% NLM can be included in the diets meant for rabbits without fear of compromising growth performance and blood characteristics.
Key words: Neem, female rabbit, growth, blood indices