Effect of Ensiled and Sundried Rumen Digesta from Cattle Sheep and Goat : Current School News

Effect of Ensiled and Sundried Rumen Digesta from Cattle Sheep and Goat on the Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Weaner Rabbit



Effect of Ensiled and Sundried Rumen Digesta from Cattle Sheep and Goat on the Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Weaner Rabbit.


Two feeding trials were conducted using a total of 35 weaner rabbits to evaluate the effects of ensiled and sundried rumen digesta from cattle sheep and goat on the performance of weaner rabbits. In experiment 1, the ensiled and sundried rumen digesta were included in the weaner rabbit diets at 20% dietary level in a completely randomized design. There were seven (7) treatments group including the control and each replicated 5 times with each rabbit as a replicate. The rabbits were randomly allotted to the treatment groups and housed individually in a cage.

The experimental diets were designated T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6 and T7, formulated to be isocarloric and iso-nitrogenous. The feeding trial lasted for 8 weeks during which experimental feed and water were given ad libitum. Parameters monitored were daily feed intake, daily body gain, daily water intake, feed to gain ratio, feed coat/kg gain, carcass and haemtology such as pack cell volume (PCV), red blood cells count (RBC), white blood count (WBC), haemoglobin (HB) total protein (TP) and the differentials.

Average daily feed intake and weight gain were significantly higher (P<0.05) and similar in rabbits fed the control and 20% inclusion of sundried sheep rumen digesta (SSRD) (69.21g, 59.99g and 18.5 12.8g) respectively. The feed to gain ratio and feed/kg gain also followed the same trend. The daily water intake was significantly higher (P<0.50) in SSRD than the others. All the nutrients in the control diets were better utilized (P<0.05) by rabbits than the rumen digetsa of the cattle, sheep and goat. 


Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of animal protein sources with livestock population of 13.8 million cattle, 34.4 million Sheep and goats, 22 million exotic poultry, 1.7 million domestic rabbit (RIM, 1992). Despite this, Nigeria has not been able to provide animal protein in sufficient quantity to meet the requirements of the citizenry. Many Nigerians consume less than 10 grams of animal protein daily as against the minimum requirement of 54 g/person/day considered consistent with a balance diet (FAO, 2007).

However, increasing the dietary animal protein intake at a reasonable cost using micro livestock has been part of the National Agricultural Policy (Sabayo et al., 2007). A lot of effort is therefore required in popularizing the raising of rabbits among the rural populace and other low income groups. Rabbits hold a lot of promise for increasing the supply and intake of animal protein among these classes of people. This is because they multiply and grow rapidly producing an average of 6-8 kittens and kindle 3-4 times yearly as a result of their short gestation period of 28-30 days.

Rabbits produces high quality meat and can utilize very cheap feed materials (Aduku, 1992). The type of feed provided for the rabbits must be given special attention to ensure it meets the requirements for energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients necessary for optimum growth and development. The key to abundant animal production is the availability of cheap and balanced feed. Feed cost and quality determines the growth rate and the population of the animals that can be kept on the farm (Aduku, 1992).

There is therefore, the need to intensify research into alternative feed sources that are affordable and available to cut down cost of 2 production. There is presently global concern for the proper disposal of waste hence the conversion of agro waste to flesh as a means of reducing environmental hazard have been suggested (Teguia et al., 1993). Studies on the utilization of agro-industrial by products in animal feed have increased in the last two decades in order to reduce the high price of feed stuffs (Alawa and Umuna, 1993; Onimisi, 2005; Onimisi and Omage, 2006). 


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CSN Team.



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