Effects of dietary oil palm, plantain and Calopogonium spp. leaves on performance and sensory values of rabbit meat
Performance and organoleptic indices of rabbits fed plantain, oil palm and calopogonium leaves was assessed using 48, eight weeks old bucks. They were allotted to four groups of 12 animals and three replicates of four animals each. Group A (control) was fed calopogonium leaf while groups B, C, and D were fed plantain leaf, oil palm leaf, and 50% oil palm + 50% plantain leaves, respectively. Animals consumed fixed amount of commercial pellets while forages and water were given ad libitum. Completely randomized design, one-way analysis of variance was used. Proximate analysis of pellets and forages as well as feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio were assessed. At the end of the experiment, meat from one rabbit per treatment was used for sensory evaluation by 20 semi-trained panelists using 7-point hedonic scale. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. Significant means were separated using Least Significant Difference. Crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract, nitrogen free extract and ash contents of the leaves ranged from 25.11±1.50 (calopogonium) to 4.90±0.92 (oil palm), 38.40±2.12 (oil palm) to 15.38±0.07 (plantain), 9.71±0.01 (plantain) to 2.30±0.01 (oil palm), 47.80±0.56 (oil palm) to 32.27±0.02 (calopogonium) and 11.93±0.02 (plantain) to 2.99±0.01 (oil palm), respectively. Groups A and B had the highest (p<0.05) final weight and weight gains while groups A, B and C had the highest (p<0.05) forage intake. Feed conversion ratios of groups A and B were better (lower) than others. Forages had no effect on meat colour and texture. Groups B and D meats tasted better than others. Group D meat aroma was better than those fed single forages. Meats from groups C and D were the juiciest while meats from groups A, C and D were the most acceptable. Consideration of final weights, weight gains, feed conversion ratio and taste of meat would require that plantain leaves be used to feed meat rabbits.
Keywords: Organoleptic indices, Dry season feeding, Forage