Nutrient intake, digestibility and growth rate of rabbits fed varying levels of cassava leaf meal
Forty young rabbits were fed on five diets varying in cassava leaf meal (CLM} levels from 0% to 60%. Dry matter and nutrient intake and digestibility, weight gain and economics of CLM inclusion were determined The DMI (g/d) ranged from 44.24 (60% CLM) to 66.85 (15% CLM); daily live weight gain (LWG, g/d) from 8.43 (60% CLM) to 21.36 (15% CLM); feed conversion ratio (FCR) from 3.13 (15% CLM) to 5.27 (45% CLM). Differences between treatments in these production criteria were significant (P<0.01). Water consumption (l/kg) increased with increasing levels of CLM inclusion (P<0.05). The digestibility of dry matter (DMD) and other nutrients decreased with increasing level of CLM inclusion (P<0.05). Economic analysis showed that diet 1 (0% CLM) was the least economical. Feed cost (N/kg gain) was similar for diets 2 to 5 (P>0.05). It may be concluded that CLM included at between 15 to 30% of the diet is adequate for growing rabbits.
Keywords: Nutrient intake, digestibility, growth rate, cassava leaf meal, rabbit