Effect of feeding African Locust Bean (Parkia biglobosa) fruit pulp diets on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of weaner rabbits
A total of forty five weaner rabbits aged 5 to 6 weeks, with average initial weights of 700.00 ±0.05 g, were used to determine the effect of feeding Parkia biglobosa fruit pulp (PBFP) diets on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of weaner rabbits. They were randomly assigned to five treatments consisting of 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 % dietary inclusion levels of Parkia biglobosa fruit pulp, to form Treatments T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively, in a completely randomized design experiment. The feeding trial lasted for 12 weeks to determine: feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio. At the end of the 11 week of the experiment, a nutrient digestibility trial was carried out using two rabbits from each replicate that were randomly selected and transferred to specially constructed metabolism cages. Faecal collection was carried out for five days using the total collection method. Results showed that there were significant (P<0.05) differences in final body weight, body weight gain, total feed intake, feed conversion ratio and mortality among the treatments. Growth performance was significantly (P<0.05) improved for up to 20 % dietary inclusion level of PBFP, and significantly (P<0.05) declined as the level of PBFPincreased across the diets. The apparent nutrient digestibility was significant (P<0.05) for dry matter, crude fibre and ether extract; but not significant (P>0.05) for crude protein, ash and nitrogen free extract as well as for total digestible nutrients among the treatments. Hence, inclusion of PBFP in the diets of weaner rabbits at 20 % level gave the best results in terms of growth performance and apparent nutrient digestibility.