Performance characteristics, nutrient digestibility and blood profile of rabbits fed diets containing graded levels of Moringa oleifera seed powder
A ten-week feeding trial was conducted to determine the performance, nutrient digestibility and blood profile of rabbits fed diets containing graded levels of Moringa oleifera seed powder (MSP). Twenty-four male growing rabbits of mixed breeds were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments. Each treatment group was further sub-divided into three (3) replicates of two (2) rabbits each in a completely randomized design (CRD). Four diets were formulated to include MSP at varying inclusion levels of 0, 0.5, 1 and 2% for treatments T1, T2, T3 and T4 respectively, which were pelletized. Feed and water were provided ad-libitum. Data were collected on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of rabbits fed the experimental diet while at the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected to determine the effect of different inclusion levels of MSP on haematological and serum biochemical indices of rabbits. Result revealed that the average daily feed intake (68.76-78.93g) decreased significantly (p<0.05) across the dietary treatments as the MSP inclusion levels increased but a rise was noticed at the highest inclusion level of MSP (T4). The weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were not significantly influenced (p >0.05) by the dietary treatments. No significant differences (P>0.05) among treatments were observed on all the blood profile except the lymphocyte, monocytes, total protein and globulin. Rabbits on T4 recorded the highest values in total protein (6.91 g/dl) and globulin (3.03 g/dl). Digestibility studies however showed that all the parameters were significantly affected (p<0.05) by dietary treatments in which rabbits on T2 had the highest dry matter (82.03%), crude protein (62.23%) and ash (89.48%) digestibility values. It can be concluded that Moringa oleifera seed powder (MSP) can be supplemented in growing rabbit’s diet without any deleterious effects on performance, blood profile and nutrient digestibility.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera, Performance, Blood profile, Nutrient digestibility, Rabbits