Growth Performance and Nutrients Digestibility of Weanling Rabbits Graded Levels of Sesame Seed Meal (Sesamum indicum) in Semi-Arid Region of Nigeria
An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of various levels of sesame seed meal inclusion on the performance and apparent nutrient digestibility of weanling rabbits. Sixteen, (New Zealand White) rabbits of mixed sexes were used for the experiment. They were weighed and randomly allotted to four dietary treatments with four rabbits per treatment. The levels of sesame seed meal in T1, T2, T3 and T4 were 0, 4, 8, and 12% respectively. The diets and clean water were offered ad libitum throughout the experimental period of 63 days. The parameters measured were feed intake, live weight gain. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) and apparent nutrient digestibility. Rabbits on treatment 3 significantly (p<0.05) consumed more feed than those on treatments 1, 2, and 4. The highest (54.48g/day) and the lowest (46.70g/day) feed intake were recorded in T3 (8%) and T1 (0%) respectively. The live weight gain and FCR were significantly different (p<0.05) better in diets 2, 3 and 4 than the control (T1). There were significant difference (p<0.05) among treatment for apparent digestibility of nutrient. The dry matter, crude fibre, crude protein, ether extract and ash were inferior in the control (0% sesame meal) than the other treatment. Based on these results, growing rabbits could tolerate 12% sesame meal in their diets without adverse effects on their performance.
Key words: Growth, nutrients digestibility, rabbits and sesame seed meal