Nigerian Journal of Animal Science

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Physical Performance and Thermoregulatory Response of Male Breeder Rabbits Fed Dietary Protein and Selenium Supplementation under Tropical Condition.

M. Abdulrashid, D.T. Juniper


The study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary protein and selenium supplementation of male rabbits on changes in physical performance and thermoregulatory response under tropical conditions. Fourty eight New Zealand rabbit bucks of 23 ± 1.4 weeks of age, weighing 2.8 ± 1.131kg, were allotted to six isocaloric dietary treatments ( n = 8 animals/ treatment) that differed in either protein (14g/100g, 18g/100g and 22g/100g) or selenium (0.4 and 0.7 mg Se/ kg diet). Animals were distributed in a 2 x 3 factorial design, and housed individually in conventional rabbit cages. The temperature humidity index (THI) was determined on six different periods. Total body weight increases linearly (P < 0.001) with advancing time. Although values are within normal range, the rectal temperature and respiratory rates varies significantly (P < 0.001) as the THI changes. Daily feed intake, total body weight and feed intake scale significantly increases linearly (P< 0.001) as the dietary protein levels increased. There were significant interactive effects (P < 0.001) of protein and selenium dietary treatments on feed intake, with higher values on non selenium and higher protein supplemented groups. Most of the values were within normal range, hence the dietary treatments provided optimum performance.

Keywords: Physical performance, Protein, Selenium, Thermoregulation, Rabbits

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