Effect of feeding processed Cassia tora seed based diets on growth performance and biochemical indices of weaner rabbits
The effects of feeding Cassia tora seed based diets on the growth performance and biochemical parameters of growing rabbits over a 10 week period was investigated. Four dietary treatments were formulated such that diets 1, 2, 3, and 4 contained 0, 5, 10 and 15% Cassia tora seeds, respectively. Forty-eight mixed breeds weaner rabbits with an average weight of 500g were randomly distributed into four treatment groups in three replicates. Each replicate had 4 rabbits (2 males and 2 females). Chemical composition and anti-nutritional factors of Cassia tora seeds and the diets were determined. Cassia tora seeds were processed using dry heat at temperatures of 800C for 20 minutes. The roasted Cassia tora seeds were milled and included in rabbit diets at 0, 5, 10 and 15% and designated T1, T2, T3 and T4 respectively. An average daily feed intake of 60g of concentrate diets and 90g of fresh Tridax forage was recorded for the Cassia tora groups, while an average daily feed consumption of 70g of concentrate diet and 95g of Tridax forage was observed for the control group. Data were collected on growth parameters, digestibility, carcass components of the rabbits, organ proportions and some biochemical parameters. The results showed that Cassia tora seeds contained high levels of phytate, saponins and alkaloids and low levels of cyanogens, tannins and trypsin inhibitor. Rabbits fed the control diet T1 had significantly (P<0.05) reduced performance when compared to the performance (P>0.05) of the rabbits fed Cassia tora diets (T2, T3 and T4). Cassia tora based diets significantly (P<0.05) lowered the serum blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels of the rabbit compared to the control diet. Conversely, the inclusion of Cassia tora seed in rabbit diets significantly (P>0.05) increased the total blood protein contents of rabbits. This study suggests that Cassia tora inclusion at the levels of 5 to 15% improved rabbit growth performance, and lowered blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Keywords: Rabbits, Growth, Cassia tora seed, Biochemical indices
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