Fortification of cassava peel meals in balanced diets for rabbits
An eight-week feeding trial was conducted with twenty-four individually caged growing rabbits weighing initially 300 - 380g. Six experimental diets were formulated such that diet 1 was a maize-soyabean based control while in diets 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, cassava peel meal totally replaced maize. There was also a stepwise reduction in the quantity of soyabean meal utilised in diets 3, 4 and 5 while the quantity of palm kernel cake was increased. Diet 6 was an extruded version of diet 4. The diets were fortified with palm oil for energy and soyabean and palm kernel cake for protein. Each diet was fed to four replicates of rabbits consisting of one rabbit per replicate and water was supplied ad libitum. Feed intake, weight-gain and feed cost/unit weight-gain were significantly affected by dietary treatments (P<0.05) while treatments had no effect on water intake and Feed: Gain ratio (P>0.05). The feed cost was reduced to N13.8/kg in diet 5 compared with N17.8 in the control diet. The extrusion process was not efficient in all indices of measurement as rabbits on the diet showed poor performance. A major finding of the study is that up to 50% of the protein supplied by soyabean meal when fed in conjunction with cassava peel meal can be replaced with palm kernel cake without adverse effects. It is recommended that future studies look into alternatives to palm oil as energy booster in diets containing cassava peel meal so as to further improve the economy of feed utilization.
Keywords: Rabbit performance, cassava peel meal, palm kernel cake, soyabeans, extrusion.