Blood profile, carcass yield and offal weight of growing rabbits subjected to four hours feed withdrawal period
The early-life fast growth rate of modern strains of domestic animals comes with a number of problems which may include high body fat deposition, incidence of metabolic disorders and skeletal diseases, mortality and morbidity. Short term feed restriction might reduce the occurrence of these problems. To this effect, this study was carried out to investigate the effect of four hours feed withdrawal period on blood profile, carcass yield and offal weight of growing rabbits raised in a hot humid environment. Twenty four (24) 6 weeks' old rabbits were randomly assigned to two treatment groups of 4 replicates with three rabbits per replicate. Rabbits on treatment one were fed ad-libitum while those on treatment two were offered their daily ration at 07:00 hour and later withdrew during the hot hours of the day (12:00-16:00 hours) for eight weeks. Data obtained were subjected to Studentized T-test. Haematological and serum biochemical indices considered were not significantly (P? 0.05) influenced by four hours feed withdrawal period. The mean values obtained for packed cell volume, haemoglobin, white blood cell, neutrophil and heterophil:lymphocytes were higher in rabbits on four hours feed withdrawal period compared to ad-libitum fed rabbits whereas, total protein, albumin, glucose, ghrehin and cortisol showed higher values in rabbits fed adlibitum. Four hours feed withdrawal period had no effect (p>0.05) on carcass yield, retail cut and offal except kidney weight. It was concluded that four hours feed withdrawal period could be adopted since welfare indices and carcass characteristics of rabbits were not compromised.
Keywords: Ad-libitum, haematology, rabbit, restriction, welfare