Carcass yield and gastro - intestinal tract morphometry of rabbits exposed to dietary cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) pod husk meal
In this study, the effect of different forms of dietary cocoa pod husk meal (CPHM) on the carcass yield and gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) morphometry of growing rabbits was investigated. A total of 60 rabbits with mean body weight of 606.42±1.3g were utilized across 12 experimental iso – caloric (2,592.04 Kcal/kg ME) and iso - nitrogenous (16.52% CP) diets containing sundried (T1 , T2 , T3 , T4 ); fermented (T5 , T6 , T7 , T8 ) and hot – water treated (T9 , T10 , T11 , T12 ) cocoa pod husk meal (CPHM) included at 0, 12.5, 25 and 37.5 percent levels, 10 11 12 respectively. The rabbits were subjected to 12 weeks feeding trial in a completely randomized design (CRD) experiment. The rabbits were slaughtered at the end of the feeding trial and the carcass yield and GIT morphometry were determined. The results showed that the average live weight was between 1616.67 ± 44.10 and 2483.33 ± 16.67 g/rabbit, while the dressed weight was between 966.67 ± 18.12 and 1500 ±28.87 g/rabbit with significant (P < 0.05) differences between treatments. The least values were recorded in rabbits fed the 37.5% level of CPHM inclusion. All primal cuts revealed no significant differences between dietary treatments. The GIT morphometry (relative weight and length of segments) recorded no significant effect that could be ascribed to diets. The study concluded that including sundried, fermented or hot – water treated CPHM up to 37.5% level will reduce the live weight, dressed weight and dressing percent of rabbits while GIT morphometry may be relatively unaffected. Hence, a lower level up to 25% fermented CPHM and levels <25% are recommended fosundried CPHM and hot- water treated CPHM are recommended for growing rabbits.