Growth performance and nutrient retention of rabbits fed graded levels of dietary cooked mango seed kernel (Mangifera indica)
Keywords:Mangifera indica , Digestibility , Feed intake , Weight gain, Rabbits
Globally, maize is recognized as a major energy feed ingredient in the livestock industry. This has resulted in competition for maize between man and animals as a basic energy source in diets. The resultant effect is the high cost of maize translating into a high cost of animal feeds. This has necessitated the exploration of some unconventional ingredients such as mango seeds as substitutes or partial replacements for maize in animal feed. In an 8-week feeding trial experiment, forty-eight weaner chinchilla rabbits were randomly allotted to four treatments containing 0% (T1), 35% (T2), 40% (T3) and 45% (T4) inclusions of sun-dried cooked mango seed kernel (CMSK) as substitutes for maize in animal feed. Each treatment consisted of six replicates of two rabbits, each. Feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and, fat and protein retention were determined. Data obtained were analysed at P<0.05 level of significance. The inclusion of CMSK did not significantly affect feed intake. The daily weight gain of rabbits in T1 (8.01g), T2 (8.26g), and T3 (8.10g) were similar and significantly higher than the weight gain of rabbits fed T4 diet (7.23g). However, FCR did not significantly differ among treatments. The fat retention of rabbits ranged from 66.36% (T4) to 85.21% (T1), while protein retention was least for rabbits fed T4 (45.73%) and highest for those fed T3 (61.38%) diet. The study revealed that CMSK (40% substitution) could be incorporated into rabbit diets without deleterious effects on growth performance, fat and protein retention.
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