Performance characteristics of weaner rabbits on cassava peel-based balanced diets
An eight-week trial was conducted to determine the optimum level of substitution of dried cassava peel meal (DCPM) for maize in rabbit diets balanced for varying energy, nitrogen and fibre contents. Six experimental diets were compounded such that DCPM replaced maize at 0%, 50%, 62.5%, 75%, 87.5% and 100% levels. Each diet was fed to live replicates of a weaner rabbit, averaging 0.49kg initial body weight. Water and feed were provided ad libitum throughout the 8-week period and their intake as well as faecal output were measured daily. Body weight gain and efficiency of feed conversion were determined weekly. No significant effects of replacement of maize in the control diet with graded levels of DCPM were observed on final body weight (FW), daily weight gain (DWG), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and feed cost per unit weight gain (FC/WG). However, there were significant effects of dietary treatments on daily faecal output (DFO) (P<0.05) and daily feed (DFC) and daily water (DWC) consumption (P<0.01). The results of this study demonstrate that DCPM could replace 100% of dietary maize without adverse effects on rate, efficiency and economy of weight gain. Savings in feed cost were also achieved as a result of the use of DCPM and these ranged from 13.2 to 18.7%.
Keywords: Cassava peels, balanced diets, rabbits