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NUTRIENT INTAKE, DIGESTION AND UTILIZATION BY RABBITS FED COWPEA HULL AND SOYBEAN HULL BASED DIETS

Animal Science Project Topics & Materials

ABSTRACT
A study involving two experiments was conducted to investigate the growth performance of rabbits fed diets containing graded levels of cowpea hull (CPH) and soybean hull (SBH). Thirty-two weaner rabbits of about 6 weeks old were used for the study. In experiment1, sixteen 6-week old hybrid (Chinchilla x New Zealand white) weaner rabbits of both sexes with initial average weight of 730-790g were randomly divided into four groups of 4 rabbits each. The groups were randomly assigned to four treatment diets containing 0, 10, 20 and 30% levels of cowpea hulls. Each treatment group was replicated four times with a rabbit constituting a replicate placed in a four –tier rabbit cages that had a total of 16 hutches per tier. In experiment two, 16 six-week old hybrid (Chinchilla x New Zealand white) weaner rabbits of both sexes with initial average weight of 730-790g were randomly divided into four groups of 4 rabbits each. The groups were randomly assigned to four treatment diets containing 0, 10, 20 and 30% levels of soybean hulls. Each treatment group was replicated four times with a rabbit constituting a replicate placed in a four –tier rabbit cages that had a total of 16 hutches per tier. The experiments lasted for 8 weeks during which the daily feed intake body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, protein efficiency ratio and feed cost per kg weight gain were determined. The haematological parameters, digestibility coefficients, carcass and organ weights were also determined. Results (experiment I) showed that while increasing levels of CPH in the diets had no significant effect (P>0.05) on the average daily feed intake, daily protein intake and protein efficiency ratio, they had significant effect (P<0.05) effect on average final body weight and average daily weight gain of rabbits. Differences between the treatments in nutrient digestibility coefficients were significant (P<0.05). Generally, digestibility coefficients decreased with increasing level of CPH in the diets. The inclusion of CPH in the rabbits’ diet resulted in the reduction of the cost of feed per kg gain. Dietary treatments did not have any adverse effect on such haematological values as the Hb, PCV, RBC, MCH, MCHC and MCV of rabbits. However, the WBC was observed to decrease at the 30% level of inclusion. While dietary treatments had no significant effect (P>0.05) on organ weights of rabbits, they had significant (P<0.05) effect on live body weight, dressed carcass weight and dressing percentage. In experiment 2, dietary treatments had significant effect (P>0.05) on final body weight, feed conversion ratio, and daily protein intake. However no significant (P>0.05) differences were observe among rabbits in daily feed intake and average daily weight gain. The effect of treatments on nutrient digestibility coefficients were significant (P<0.05). Both DM, CP, crude fibre, ether extract and nitrogen-free extract digestibility coefficients were significantly (P<0.05) decreased beyond 10% SBH inclusion level. The inclusion of SBH in the diets reduced significantly the cost of feed per kg weight gain. Inclusion levels of SBH did not have any adverse effect on such haematological values as the Hb, PCV, RBC, MCH, MCHC and MCV of rabbits. However, the WBC was significantly (P<0.05) decreased at the 30% SBH inclusion level. While dietary treatments had no significant effect (P>0.05) on organ weights of rabbits, they had significant (P<0.05) effect on live body weight, dressed carcass weight and dressing percentage. The results obtained in the present study show that up to 10% cowpea hull and 30% soybean hull can be included in rabbits’ diet without any deleterious effect on growth performance, haematology and internal organs of rabbits.

TABLE OF CONTENT
Contents
Table of Contents
Title Page…………………………………………………………………… …i
CERTIFICATION…………………………………………………………. …ii
DEDICATION…………………………………………………………… ….iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT……………………………………………… …….iv
ABSTRACT…………………………………………….……………… ….….v
TABLE OF CONTENT……………………………….………………. …….viii
CHAPTER 1…………………………………………………..………………..1
1.1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.2 Objective of the study 4
1.3 Justification and Significance of Study 5
CHAPTER 2 6
2.1 Rabbit: An Overview 6
2.2 The Attributes of rabbit in small farming system. 6
2.3 Nutrient Requirements of Rabbit 9
2.4 Protein & Energy Requirements 10
2.5 Fats as an energy source in rabbit diets 13
2.6 Vitamin and mineral 13
2.7 The importance of fibre in Rabbit Nutrition 16
2.8 Caecotrophy –Mechanism and nutritional significance. 16
2.9 Feeding of rabbits 18
2.10 Use of alternative feed ingredients 18
2.11 Use of forages 22
2.12 Nutritive value of soybean hull. 23
2.13 Anti-nutritional factors in soybean seeds 26
2.14 Use Of Cowpea Hull In Feeding Rabbit 28
CHAPTER 3………………………….…..………….……………………… 29

MATERIALS AND METHOD 29
3.1 Materials ………………………………………29
3.2 Experimental Animals and Management…………………………………29
3.3 Experimental procedure…………………………………………………..30
3.3.1 Experiment 1……………….…………………………………………30
3.3.2 Experiment 2………………………………..……….…………………31

3.4 Digestibility Study………………………………………………………………….33
3.5 Haematological determination……….………………………………….. 34
3.6 Carcass and Organs-Evaluation…………………………………………..34
3.7 Proximate analysis………………………………………………………..35
3.8 Experimental design………………………………………………………35
3.9 Statistical design…………………………………………………………..35

CHAPTER 4 36
RESULTS 36
4.1 Experiment 1 36
4.1.1 Proximate composition of diets and test ingredient….…………………36

4.1.2 Effect of Graded levels of Cowpea hull on performance of weaner Rabbits…………………………………………………………….37

4.1.3 The effect of graded levels of cowpea hull on the digestibility coefficients by rabbits……………………………………………..39

4.1.4 Effect of cowpea hull on haematological parameters of rabbits……………………………………………………………..41

4.1.5 Cost implication of feeding graded level of cowpea hulls based diets to rabbit……………………………………………………………43
4.1.6 Effect of dietary levels of cowpea hull on carcass yield and organ weights of rabbits…………………………………………………45

4.1.7 Effect of dietary levels of cowpea hull on relative organ weights of rabbits…………………………………………………………….46

4.2 Experiments 2 ………………………………………………………… 47
4.2.1 Proximate composition of diets and test ingredient…………………47

4.2.2 Growth performance of rabbit fed soybean hull based diets…….….48

4.2.3 Digestibility coefficient of soybean hull based diets fed to rabbit………………………………………………………………50

4.2.4 Effect cowpea hull on haematological parameters of rabbits………………………………………………………………51

4.2.5 Cost Implication of feeding graded level of soybean hull based diets to rabbits……………………………………………………………..53

4.2.6 Effect of dietary level of soybean hull on carcass yield and weights of rabbit……………………………………………………………55
4.2.7 Effect of dietary levels of soybean hull on relative organ weights of rabbits……………………………………………………………..55
CHAPTER FIVE 58
DISCUSSION 58
5.1 Experiment1 58
5.1.1 Performance of weaner Rabbits………………………..…………….58
5.1.2 Digestibility coefficient of cowpea hull…………………..………….59

5.1.3 Haematological evaluation……………………………………………61

5.1.4 Cost implication of feeeding gradeded levels of cowpea hull……62

5.1.5 Carcass and organ evaluation…………………………………….62

5.2 Experiment 2…………………………………………………………….63
5.2.1 Performance of rabbits…………………………………………..63

5.2.2 Haematological evaluation……………………………………….64

5.2.3 Digestibility………………………………………………………66

5.2.4 Cost Implication………………………………………………….. ..67

5.2.5 Internal Organ Evaluation……………………………………….67

CHAPTER SIX………………………………………………………………66
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION………………………………………….67
6.1 SUMMARY………………………………………………………………67
6.2 CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………..68
REFERENCES……………………………………………………………….72

CHAPTER ONE
1.1 INTRODUCTION
Although Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world with great potentials and brilliant experts in different fields of endeavour, her inability to break away from the class of the world’s poorest nation and from the shackles of poverty despite her rich natural and human endowment is a thing of pain (Olatunbosun, 2001). According to Nigerianet (2003), Nigeria is the largest geographical unit in Africa with a land area of 923,768 square kilometer. Central Bank of Nigeria (2002) reported Nigeria’s population to be 129.9 million in 2004 based on the projected annual growth rate of 2.8% of the revised 1991 census. At this given growth rate, the estimated population of Nigeria would be 141.1 million in 2007. In spite of Nigeria’s numerous natural resources which are sufficient to make her self-reliant in animal protein production and even become main exporter of all kinds of food items, there is an acute shortage of animal protein in Nigeria. The demand for animal protein is far higher than the supply. The high cost of animal protein has put it out of the reach of the average Nigerian (Ani and Adiegwu, 2005; Ugwuene 2003). Mbanasor (2000) estimated Nigeria’s livestock resource to consist of about 14 million cattle, 34 million goat, 22 million sheep, 100 million poultry and 1 million horses. In a similar report, Abubakar et al. (2003) estimated the livestock population of Nigeria to be about 14 million cattle, 22.1 million sheep, and 345 million goats. In spite of Nigeria’s high population of domestic animals, animal protein supply is still far below the minimum level of 35g per day as recommended by FAO (1997). The fact that some developed countries with lesser natural resources can boast of self sufficiency and their ability to export animal protein calls for sober reflection among Nigerians. On this note, for quick increased supply of animal protein and products to be met, it is necessary that animals with short generation intervals be reared. One of the domestic animals with short generation interval to be considered in this study is the domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
The domestic rabbit has the potential to become one of the world’s most important livestock specie (Daily Times, 1981). In terms of commercial production, the rabbit excels other livestock; cattle, sheep and goat and ranks close to broiler chicken in terms of growth rate, feed conversion efficiency and meat quantity, (Adegbola et al., 1986). Lebas and Metheron (1982) found that the production of 1 kg of rabbit meat requires only a quarter of the feed energy needed to produce the same amount of Pork. El Amin (1978) reported that it was theoretically possible to obtain 206kg of meat in a year from a doe (assuming 15kits per litter, 10 litters in a year at market weight of 2.5kg and 55% carcass yield on slaughter). Abe (1988) reported that about 20% of feed protein consumed by the rabbit is converted into edible meat. Nutritionally, rabbit has a higher protein (20-21%), low fat content (10-11%), when compared with meat from other species (Ajayi et al., 2007). Furthermore Janieri et al. (1987) had reported that rabbit meat has the cholesterol value of 169mg/100g (dry matter basis) when compared with beef (200mg), chicken (220mg), and low sodium content. Consequently, rabbit meat has been listed in United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) as an approved meat source for hypertensive patients. The resurgence of interest in rabbit production in Nigeria calls for research into alternative sources of energy and protein yielding ingredients to replace or supplement the expensive conventional cereal grains and legumes. The prices of such conventional protein and energy feed ingredients such as maize, rice, sorghum, ground nut, soybean have escalated in recent times that it is becoming uneconomical to use them in rabbit feeds (Esonu et al., 2001, Esonu et al., 2004; Oduguwa et al., 2004). There is therefore an urgent need to search for alternative cheap and available feed ingredients that do not attract competition between man and animal to formulate balanced rations for non ruminant animals like the domestic rabbit. Two of such alternative materials that meet the above criteria are soybean hull and cowpea hull.

 

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