Growth and Reproductive Performance of Rabbit Does Fed Replacement Levels of Fermented Jatropha (Jatropha curcas) seed meal
This study was designed to evaluate the growth and reproductive performance of rabbit does fed fermented Jatropha seed meal (FJSM) as a replacement for soya bean meal at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100%. A total of 30, twelve weeks old crossbred rabbits (American chinchilla × New Zealand white) were used for the experiment. The rabbits were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments. Each treatment was replicated thrice with two rabbits per replicate in a completely randomised design (CRD) and each dietary treatment had a buck for mating. The results from the study showed that growth performance was significantly (P<0.05) affected by the replacement levels of FJSM. Final body weights and total weight gain decreased progressively as the level of FJSM increased in the diets. Rabbits fed T1 (0% FJSM) diet recorded significantly higher (P<0.05) final and total body weights (2555.58 g and 1330.58 g, respectively). Feed conversion ratio also differed significantly (P<0.05) across dietary treatments. Rabbits fed T1 (0% FJSM) recorded superior feed conversion ratio followed by T2 (25% FJSM) and the inferior values were recorded in T3 (50% FJSM), T4 (75% FJSM) and T5 (100% FJSM). The reproductive performance of does fed replacement levels of Jatropha seed meal was highly significant (P<0.001). Average litter size at kindling and average weight of kits at weaning were influenced. The average kit weight at kindling for does fed T1 diet (72.14 g) was significantly higher than those fed T2 (60.12 g). Does on T3, T4 and T5 diets had stillbirths of between 3 and 4 kits. Average weight of kits at weaning were within the range of 500.11 g and 540.75 g for T2 and T1, respectively. It was therefore, concluded that fermented Jatropha seed meal can be incorporated in the diet of does up to 25% without adverse effect on their growth and reproductive performance.
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