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Forty eight crossbred (California X New Zealand White) rabbits were used to evaluate energy partitioning of rabbits fed forages supplemented with concentrate. The rabbits were randomly allocated to three treatments consisting of sole Stylosanthes hamata (stylo),sole Arachis hypogea (groundnut) haulms and 50:50 mixture of both forages (mixed), and four class groups: weaners, 6-8 weeks old (0.79kg), growers, 11-12 weeks old (1.15kg), pubertal, 15-16 weeks old (1.36kg) and adult, >16 weeks old (1.55kg) in a completely randomized design (3 x 4 factorial experiment). The rabbits were individually housed and offered 150g forage and 50g concentrate diet in separate feeders at 08.00hr. Feeding sole or mixed forages did not significantly affect daily gain or body composition of rabbits. DE intake, DE retention as protein, fat and growth, DE requirement for maintenance, protein synthesis, fat synthesis and for growth were similar for sole and mixed forages. Efficiency of utilization of DE for growth was significantly higher for mixed forage than sole stylo and ranged between 0.41-0.43. DE intake was similar for all classes of rabbits. Weaners had significantly higher retained energy as protein, fat and growth, DE requirement for protein and fat synthesis and for growth and efficiency of DE utilization for growth than growing, pubertal and adult rabbits. Efficiency of DE utilization for growth ranged between 0.39-0.47. Retained energy as protein, fat and for growth were similar for weaner and grower rabbits on mixed forage but higher than for pubertal and adult rabbits. For sole stylo, weaner rabbits retained more energy as protein, fat and growth than grower, pubertal and adult rabbits while for sole groundnut haulms, weaner and pubertal rabbits retained more energy as protein, fat and growth than grower and adult rabbits. DE utilization was better for mixed than stylo. It is concluded that feeding a mixture of groundnut and stylo forages slightly increased gain and improved efficiency of DE utilization resulting in better performance of the abbits.
Keywords: concentrate, energy, forages, groundnut, partitioning, rabbit, Stylosanthes.