Performance and cost-benefits of weaner rabbits fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal
Ayo-Ajasa*, O. Y, Egbeyale, L. T., Sanusi, G.O., Ibrahim, K., Hamzat, O. A and Falako, M. F.
Department of Animal Production and Health, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.
Malaysian J. Anim. Sci. 2017 20(1): 59-68
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Moringa has been acclaimed to be beneficial especially in livestock production. Its leaves and green fresh pods are said to be rich in carotene and ascorbic acid with a good profile of amino acids while its twigs are reported to be very palatable to ruminants and have appreciable crude protein levels. However, Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) has been observed to contain higher pepsin and total soluble protein than other parts of the plant which makes it more suitable to monogastric animals. MOLM has been widely used in poultry production but with limited use in rabbits’ diets; hence this study was conducted to determine the performance of weaner rabbits fed graded levels of MOLM. A total of 48 unsexed weaner rabbits of mean initial weight of 744.56±29.25 g were assigned to 4 experimental diets, namely T1, T2, T3 and T4 containing 0%, 15%, 30% and 45% MOLM, respectively, having 3 replicates and 4 animals per replicate. The results showed that the dry matter intake of T1-T4 ranged 53.17 - 55.31g/day. Though not significant, highest crude protein digestibility coefficient was recorded for experimental animals on diet T4 (71.36%) followed by diets T1 (69.67%), T2 (69.17%), T3 (68.25%), respectively. The keel length for T1, T2, T3, and T4 rabbits were 225.39, 201.64, 246.66 and 217.26cm, respectively Rabbits fed 30% MOLM were found to be most profitable numerically (N1320.10) while the least profit was obtained with 0% MOLM with N1305.40. Hence, it can be concluded that Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) can replace soya bean meal up to 45% in the nutrition of weaner rabbits.
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