G. Mohammed, B. Saleh, U. M. Kolo, H. Umar, B. A. Adam, A. Musa


An eight-week feeding trial was conducted to determine the effect of different plant protein sources on the haematological parameter, carcass characteristics and nutrient digestibility of growing rabbits. Forty eight cross-bred rabbits (New Zealand White x Dutch) between six and seven weeks of age with average initial body weight of 489.80 g were housed individually and allotted to four (4) dietary treatments. Each treatment was divided into three replicates of four rabbits each. The rabbits were given diets and clean drinking water ad libitum throughout the period of the experiment. Diets 1, 2, 3, and 4 contained groundnut cake, sunflower meal, Bambara nut meal and soya bean meal respectively. The haematological indices measured were packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb) concentration, white blood cells (WBC) counts, red blood cells (RBC) counts, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and differential counts. The nutrient digestibilities as well as carcass characteristics were also measured. There were no significant differences in all the parameters measured for haematological parameters except haemoglobin concentration (Hb) where those fed groundnut cake gave significantly (p<0.05) higher Hb compared to those fed sunflower meal. Soya bean lowered the means for neutrophil and lymphocytes respectively. There were significant difference (p< 0.05) among treatment groups for slaughter weight, dressed weight and thighs/hind legs with soya bean giving consistently lower (P>0.05) mean, while others parameters were similar among the treatments. There were no significant differences among the treatments for nutrient digestibility. It was therefore concluded that the different plant protein sources can be fed to growing rabbits without deleterious effect on haematological parameters, carcass characteristics and nutrient digestibility.


Plant Protein, Growing Rabbits, Haematological Indices, Carcass Characteristics, Nutrient digestibility

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