Reproductive performance of rabbits fed combinations of Moringa oleifera and Moringa stenopetala leaves.
In a 12-week trial, thirty five cross bred does (New Zealand White, Chinchilla, Californian breeds) weighing 1.5 – 2.0kg and aged 1- 2 years were allotted into five treatments in a completely randomized design. Fresh Moringa oleifera (MO) and Moringa stenopetala (MS) leaves were harvested and air dried. Five concentrate diets were compounded with the
inclusion of the air dried Moringa oleifera (MO) and Moringa stenopetala (MS) leaves in ratios 100%: 0 (T1), 75%: 25% (T2), 50%: 50% (T3), 25%: 75% (T4) and 0: 100% (T5) respectively. The reproductive parameters evaluated were weight before parturition, parturition weight, gestation length, litter size at birth and at weaning, litter weight at birth
and weaning, total milk yield and average daily weight gain per kit. The chemical composition of the experimental diet indicated that the basal diet (concentrate) had higher dry matter (92.64%) compared to MO (14.61%) and MS (18.48%) while MO and MS had higher crude protein content (24.45 and 27.20% respectively) than concentrate (17.20%).
There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the total dry matter intake (g/day) of the rabbits fed basal, MO and MS diets. There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the reproductive performance parameters such as gestation length, weight at birth, litter size at weaning, weight gain, milk yield and survival rate (%). However, there was significant difference (p<0.05) in the parturition weight wherein T1 (1.82kg) and T2 (1.97kg) were significantly higher (p<0.05) than T3 (1.72kg), T4 (1.65kg) and T5 (1.76kg) which were significantly similar (p>0.05). It could be concluded that Moringa oleifera and Moringa stenopetala leaves are suitable for feeding rabbits does at any level of inclusion without any deleterious effect on their reproductive performance.
Keywords: Rabbit, reproductive, performance, Moringa oleifera, Moringa stenopetala