Effect of concentrate feed restriction with ad libitum forage feeding on performance and carcass yield of growing rabbit
Electronic Journal of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Department of Animal Production, Health College of Animal Science and Livestock Production, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
Effect of concentrate feed restriction in the presence of ad libitum forage (Tridax procumbens) feeding on performance, carcass yield and relative organ weights were investigated in weaner rabbits in a humid tropical environment in Nigeria. 36 growing rabbits of mixed breed (Chinchilla x Dutch x California White) and sexes with an average weight of 600g were assigned to three feeding regimen in a completely randomized design. The study lasted for 8 weeks. The three feeding regimen were: (A) ad libitum concentrate feeding + ad libitum forage feeding (control), (B) skip-a-day concentrate feeding/week + ad libitum forage feeding and (C) skip-2- days concentrate feeding/week + ad libitum forage feeding. The forage used was air-dried Tridax procumbens. Drinking water was supplied free-choice throughout the duration of the experiment. Each treatment group was replicated six times with two rabbits housed in the same cage serving as replicate. Weight gain (Total and Average daily), final body weight, Feed intake (Total and Average daily) and feed: gain ratio of rabbits were not significantly (P>0.05) different among the treatment groups. Although feed intake was not different among the three treatments, however concentrate intake (Total and average daily), forage intake (total and average daily) as well as percentage concentrate and forage in daily feed intake were significantly (P<0.05) influenced by treatments. Total concentrate intake was significantly higher in rabbits on treatment A (ad libitum feeding) compared with rabbits on treatment B which was also significantly higher than the intake on treatment C. ad libitum fed rabbits consumed 10.75 and 25.94% concentrates more than rabbits on skip-a-day and skip-twodays per week concentrate feeding. Daily concentrate intake reduced from 33.35g on treatment A to 29.76g and 24.69g in treatment B and C respectively. The daily forage intake however increased with severity of concentrate restriction, the trend being C > B > A. The Concentrate percentage of daily feed intake reduced with increased severity of concentrate restriction while that of forage increased with concentrate restriction from 56.15% in ad libitum concentrate fed group to the highest amount of 68.45% in rabbits on skip-two-days of concentrate feeding per week. Dressing percentage and retail cuts were not significantly (P > 0.05) affected by feeding regime. Similarly the physical structure and weights of internal organs (livers, kidneys, lungs and hearts) were not affected by experimental treatments (P>0.05). The results obtained from this study showed that rabbits can be subjected to two days skipping of concentrate feed per week with ad libitum forage feeding without compromising performance and carcass measurements.
Menticirrhus undulatus; Oryctolagus cuniculus; Tridax procumbens