Growth Rate and Health Status of Weaned Rabbits Fed Ensiled Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia Crassipes Mart. Solms- Labauch) Based Diet
In a 6 week feeding experiment, twenty five New Zealand white breed of weaned rabbits, with an average age of 8-10 weeks were used to assess the effect of ensiled water hyacinth (WH) with different additives on growth rate and blood parameters of the animals. The animals were randomly allotted to five dietary groups, with five animals per group. The feeding trial assessed the performance of weaned rabbits, the parameters measured include feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio. Blood samples were collected before, during and on the last day of the experiment for haematology and serum biochemical analyses. Results showed that the dry matter intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio varied significantly among the treatment means with values ranging from 66.59 - 67.26; 21.13 – 23.62 and 2.85 – 3.11 g/d respectively. However, it was observed that the animals on WH ensiled with brewers dry grain recorded the highest (67.26 g/d) dry matter intake and daily weight gain (23.62 g/d). Same trend was observed for the feed conversion ratio. All haematological and serum biochemical values were within normal range and did not vary significantly among the treatment means. Values for haemoglobin (g/dl), packed cell volume (%), white blood cells (x 103) and red blood cells (x 106) ranged form11.01- 13.80; 35.10- 41.00; 6.80-8.00; 4.70- 5.70 respectively, while total protein (g/dl),albumin, globulin (g/dl) and creatinine (mg/dl) ranged from 5.40- 6.00; 1.93-2.50; 2.80-3.22; 0.61-0.90 respectively. Diets of WH ensiled with different additives have no detrimental effect on growth rate and blood parameters indicating good performance and excellent health status of the animals.
Key words: Additives, chemical composition, ensiled water hyacinth, growth