An 84 day experiment was conducted to evaluate the response of rabbits fed toasted kidney bean seed (Phaseolus vulgaris) meal (TKBSM) as a replacement for soybean meal. Five iso-nitrogenous and iso-caloric diets tagged T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, were compounded to contain 18 and 15% crude protein and 2700 and 2500 kcal/kg of metabolizable energy for weaner and grower phases, respectively. The TKBSM was included at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% levels of inclusion in treatments such that T1 served as the control diet. A total number of 25 rabbits were randomly divided into 5 treatment groups which were replicated 5 times in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). Twenty five cross-bred rabbits of 3-4 weeks old were obtained from local farmers within Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. At the commencement of the feeding trial, the animals were administered anti-stress drugs and multi-vitamin as well as deworming drugs to treat against possible presence of endo-parasites. Feeds were offered into feeding troughs, clean and fresh water was made available to the animals ad-libitum. Data collected include growth parameters, nutrient digestibility, carcass characteristics, haematological indices and serum biochemical variables. The results showed that KB seed was rich in energy (3337.78 kcl/kg, ME) and carbohydrate (66.23%). The crude protein (18.38%) content indicates that it is not a good source of protein as compared to soybean. However, the fat content (3.78%) suggests it to be a good energy source. There was no significant (P>0.05) variation in all the parameters evaluated except forPER and FCR in the weaner and grower phases, respectively which were significantly improved (P<0.05). Rabbits fed diets T2 (73.83%) and T5 (78.60%) had the best (P<0.05) dry matter digestibility followed by those fed diets T3 (70.19%) and T4 (64.87%). Consistently, rabbits fed diet T2 and T5 produced the best (P<0.05) digestibility of crude fibre (58.38 and 65.50%), ash (2.34 and 2.57%) and NFE (69.98 and 75.98%), respectively. However, those fed diets T3 and T4 performed similarly compared to those fed the control for dry matter crude fibre, ash and NFE. There was significant (P<0.05) improvement in the weight of the neck (90.00g/rabbit) and weight of stomach (17.70g/rabbit) of rabbits fed the T5 and T4, respectively as compared to the other treatment groups. There was significant increase (P<0.05) in the values recorded for total protein, triglyceride, cholesterol and glucose. Rabbits fed diets T2 and T3 had the highest total protein of 70.50 and 71.00 g/l, respectively; on the other hand, those fed the T5 diet had the best triglyceride (1.15mmol/L) as compared to other treatment groups. Cholesterol was significantly increased (P<0.05) in those rabbits fed diet T2 (3.55 mmol/L), T3 (3.40 mmol/L) and T4 (3.35 mmol/L) followed by those fed the control (3.35 mmol/L) and T5 (3.10 mmol/L. There was no variation (P<0.05) in the values of albumin and globulin. From the results of this experiment, nutrient digestibility, absorption and rate of conversion of feed to flesh were not impaired by the inclusion of Kidney bean seeds even at 100% replacement. Rabbit farmers can therefore, use Kidney bean seeds as dietary source of protein and energy without affecting the meat quality and health status of the rabbits.



Rabbits, weaners, growers, toasting, Kidney bean seed (Phaseolus vulgaris), replacement value.

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