Performance of Weaner Rabbits (Oryctolagus Cunniculus) Fed Different Levels of Processed Foetid Cassia (Cassia tora) Seed Diets Supplemented with Tridax (Tridax procumbens) Forage
A ten-week feeding trial was conducted to investigate growth and carcass characteristics of forty-eight mixed breeds weaner rabbits. The rabbits were fed different levels of processed Cassia tora seed based diets supplemented with tridax (Tridax procumbens) forage. The rabbits aged about 5 weeks, had an average weight of 500g. They were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments each with three replicates. The processed Cassia tora seeds were milled and included in the diets at 0, 5, 10 and 15% levels, respectively. Data were collected on growth parameters, digestibility, carcass components, organ proportions and some biochemical parameters, (total blood protein, cholesterol and triglyceride levels). Although all the rabbits showed a positive growth rate, dry matter (DM) intake varied significantly (P<0.05) between animals on control diet and those on Cassia tora diets. Rabbits fed the control diet had significantly (P<0.05) reduced performance of feed conversion ratio (FCR), dry matter digestibility (DMD), protein efficiency ratio (PER) and final body weight. Rabbits fed Cassia tora diets also had higher percentage values of most of the cut-up parts and organs except for neck weight percentage, leg and skin proportions which were not significantly different (P>0.05) for all the treatment. The results of the study showed that Cassia tora inclusion at 5 to 15% levels improved rabbits performance and carcass quality. It was concluded that for optimum performance, Cassia tora could be included in the diets of rabbits at upto 15% levels.
Keywords: Performance, Weaner rabbits, Cassia tora seed, Tridax forage
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