growth and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits fed moringa (moringa oleifera) leaf meal

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GROWTH AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF WEANER RABBITS FED MORINGA (moringa oleifera) LEAF MEAL

ABSTRACT
Twenty four (24) cross bred rabbits of both sexes, made up of twelve (12)
males and twelve (12) females were used for the experiment to investigate, the
growth and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits fed four(4) dietary levels
of Moringa oleifera leaf, meal (MOLM). Treatments 1, 2, 3, and 4 received 0,
10, 20, and 30% MOLM, respectively.

Results obtained showed that rabbits on T3 diet achieved the highest weight gain
(1600.00 ±56.27g) while T2, T4 and T1 recorded weight gains of (1583.33 ±
0.14g, 1441.67 ± 47.29g and 1366.67 ± 77.10g), respectively. Rabbits on T3
diets also recorded a higher daily weight gain (9.54 ± 0.70g) than those on T2,
T4 and T1 (9.03 ± 0.39g, 7.54 ± 0.89g and 6.65 ± 0.85g), respectively. There
was also significant difference (P< 0.05) on the feed cost per kg gain (N) as
Treatment 3 feeds was cheaper (N77.08), than T4, T2 and T1 whose feed costs
were N85.57, N85.66 and N132.85, respectively. Feed intake, feed conversion
ratio, and feed cost per kg feed (N) had no significant difference (P > 0.05)
across the treatments. Results of carcass evaluation showed a significant
difference (P < 0.05) on the; thoraxic width, lion weight, liver weight, lungs
weight and spleen weight.

However, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) on the other parameters
such as, liver weight, dressed weight, carcass length, head weight, fore limb
weight, hind limb weight, heart weight and kidney weight, as was observed
from the study. Evaluation of hematological characteristics of rabbits fed
MOLM showed no significant difference (P>0.05) in packed cell volume (PCV)
haemoglobin (HB g/d), red blood cell count (RBC) and white blood cell count
(WBC). This investigation therefore suggests that, rabbits tolerate Moringa
oliefera leaf meal (MOLM) up to 20% level, for optimal performance. Higher
levels of incorporation resulted in decreased performance and should be
discouraged

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