Growth indices and economic implications of weaned rabbits fed Leucaena leucocephala leaf protein concentrate
This study assessed the performance and economic implications of rabbits fed Leucaena leucocephala leaf protein concentrate (LLPC) as protein source to replace soybean meal in rabbit diet. Five experimental diets were formulated in which LLPC replaced soybean meal at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% (representing 0, 1.20, 2.40, 3.60 and 4.80 g/100g, respectively in the gross feed composition). Three hundred and fifty (350) weaned rabbits with weight range 380-415g were randomly distributed to the five experimental diets at 70 rabbits per treatment of 14 rabbits per replicate. Results showed that total feed intake (TFI) (3401.30-3377.60g), average daily feed intake (ADFI) (60.74-60.31g), final live weight (FLW) (1160.32-1208.24g), total weight gain (TWG) (754.32-828.24g) and average daily weight gain (ADWG) (13.47-14.79g) were similar (P>0.05) up to 10% substitution of soybean with LLPC. Average daily weight gain was highest (14.79g) at 10% LLPC-based diet, which though was not significant (P>0.05) from the 13.47g weight gain on rabbits fed the control diet but statistically (P<0.05) lower (11.30g) than rabbits fed 20% LLPC-based diet. Feed conversion ratio was significantly (P<0.05) better (4.08) in rabbits fed 10% LLPC-based diet but significantly poor (4.91) at 20% LLPC-based diet. Results showed that while rabbits on 10% LLPC-based diet utilized their feed efficiently well as evidenced in their weight gain, those fed 20% LLPC-based diet poorly utilized their feed as revealed in their decrease body weight gain. Economics of LLPC inclusion in rabbit concentrate diet was most encouraging at 10% LLPC inclusion level where rabbit production generated the highest net profit of ₦418.62 vs ₦106.28 - N317.67, and the profit/rabbit over the control group was N177.40 vs N134.94 - 76.45 with the least cost of feed N/kg weight gain of N269.50 vs N291.63- N332.21 for other test diets. The better relative cost benefit (18.88%), economic efficiency and relative economic efficiency of 0.35 and 194.44%, respectively indicated the optimal level and economic benefit of LLPC inclusion at 10% (representing 2.40g/100g in the gross feed composition) replacement level for soybean meal in rabbit diets.
Keywords: Economic implications, Leucaena leucocephala, Mimosine, Protein concentrate, Rabbit