Growth performance and linear body measurements of gestating rabbit subjected to varying level of feed restrictions
To optimize production and ensure sustainability, there is need for judicious management of the resources employed in livestock production enterprise. For inefficient utilization of resources can jeopardize or hamper livestock production and availability. This present study was conducted to determine the performance and changes in morphological parameters of rabbit does subjected to quantitative feed restriction at different periods of gestation. A total of seventy-two rabbits does with initial live weight range of 1.7-2.0 kg were employed in this study. The study was arranged in a 3x3 factorial layout. The rabbits were divided into nine treatments of eight does per treatment and exposed to three levels of feed restrictions (0, 15, 30%) at different gestation periods (15-19, 20-24, 25-29 days). Water was supplied ad libitum throughout the experimental period. Data were collected and documented for analysis on feed intake, weight gain, changes in linear body parameters and gestation length. Significant (p<0.05) differences were noted for final weight, weight gain, feed gain, feed intake and gestation length. Restriction at 15% recorded highest final and weight gain. Longest gestation length was recorded for does on 30% restriction. Interaction between restriction and periods of gestation shows significant (p<0.05) differences in weight gain, feed gain, feed intake and gestation length. All the morphological parameters considered in this present study were not influenced (p>0.05) by restricted feeding and periods of feed restriction. Therefore, it can be concluded that 15% feed restriction could be applied at 20-24 days of gestation without any adverse effect on maternal well-being.
Keywords: Gestation, morphology, maternal, pregnancy, realimentation