Carcass Yield and Cost Benefits of Weaner Rabbits Fed Doum Palm (Hyphaene thebaica) as Replacement for Dietary Maize
The utilization of conventional energy sources for livestock feed formulation is being seriously challenged due to hike in prices. Consequently, alternative ingredients that are cheaper and readily available need to be explored. An 8-week study was conducted to evaluate the carcass characteristics and cost benefit of weaner rabbits fed diets containing doum palm pulp (DPP) as replacement for maize. Thirty-two Mongrel weaner rabbits of mixed sex weighing between 737.50 – 787.50 g each were randomly allotted to four diets containing 0, 10, 20 and 30% levels of DPP as replacement for maize, designated as diets 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. Each treatment was replicated four times with two rabbits each in a completely randomized design. Feed and water were served ad libitum. Results indicated that carcass weight and dressing percentage were higher (P<0.05) on diets 4 (1.11 kg; 54.80%) and 3 (0.98 kg; 49.34%). However, most of the organ weights were not significantly affected by diet. Cost benefit analysis revealed a reduction in feed cost per kg from N95.54 on diet 1 to N80.64 on diet 4 while feed cost per kg gain decreased progressively from N239.42 on diet 1 to N150.53 on diet 4. Accordingly, the highest cost saving of N88.89 (37.13%) was made on diet 4. It was therefore concluded that doum palm pulp can replace maize up to 30% level in the diet of weaner rabbits with increase carcass yield and concomitant reduction in feed cost.
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