PROJECT TOPIC: UTILIZATION OF MORINGA OLEIFERA PLANT BY GROWING RABBITS
The study was carried out to investigate the feeding value of Moringa oleifera plant on the performances characteristics of growing rabbits. A total of it, seven weeks old weaned rabbits sourced from KALESTINE CONSULT (N.G) ENTERPRISES, a reputable rabbit farm along Abeokuta-Ibadan Road Eleweran, Abeokuta were randomly allotted into four dietary treatments group. Each group was further subdivided into two replicates pretreatment and of two rabbits per replicate. The dietary treatments were of four diets/rations. Diet 1 comprised of control (Compounded ration) diet 2 contained Dried Moringa oleifera seeds, diet 3 (Dried Moringa oleifera leaves) while diet 4 contained Dried Moringa oleifera bark) as the source of fibre in the diet. The performances characteristics measured were weekly body weight gain and carcass characteristics. The result of the analysis of value (ANOVA) showed that the inclusion of Moringa oleifera plant (bark) had led to the higher mean weekly body weight gain (P<0.05) percent carcass yield also followed the similar trend as obtained in weekly body weight gain. The study however suggests the inclusion of Moringa oleifera bark at 100% replacement for wheat offal in the diet of growing rabbits.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The acute shortage of animal protein in the diets of Nigerians (Olubajo 1976) demands that efforts be directed to animal that are prolific and have short generation intervals such as pigs poultry and rabbits.
However poultry and pigs have the disadvantages of competing directly with man for the scarce feed available, but rabbit can be raised on high Fibre diet not utilized by man. Rabbit have been maintained solely on all forage diets with encouraging weight gains (Selepou, 1964 Perez and San Sebastrain 1970 Akanni 2012). However, these investigators used temperate forages which are known to have on the average, higher crude protein and lower fibre contents. (Oyenuga 1968, Akanni, 2012, Miltroy 1972) and have higher nutrive value than tropical forages. The estimated protein intake in North America, Western and Eastern and Europe has been put at 66g, 39g and 35g per head per day respectively, While in Africa and indeed Nigeria the figure stands at per head day (Lamorde 1990) In the recent time of recent rabbits have been introduced into west Africa as farm animal at economic value, low infact succulent, nicely flavoured and providing a palatable change for chicken and other meats (Akanni 2012). This increasing competition between man and livestock for available grains, feed and industrial materials coupled with Nigeria’s neglect of agriculture, has led to high cost of available feed sources. Agunbiade et al (2002) and Akanni and Omoyinmi, 2011) further reported that, apart from the fact that those ingredients keenly competed for in terms of consumption by humans, they are being imported into the country resulting in a situation that degenerated into a continuous risk in the cost of feed for human feed pushed out of production leading to a high cost of available livestock and livestock products. This scenario has led to closure of a number of livestock farms with its resultant increase in the number of the unemployed (Sogunle et al, 2004).
Measures aimed at alleviating the hardship of escalating feed cost on the economics of intensive animal’s production system in Nigeria center on the introduction of many new feed stuff, often by products of human food processing and agro-industries.
1.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Rabbit’s meat is higher in protein (20-21) lower in calorie, and serves as alternative to both beef and poultry meat which are very expensive to obtain by common man (Akanni et al., 2007, 2011, 2012). They are medium size hoping animals with characteristics future of long ear, short train and stuff stain with nice looking far, the front legs are shorter that the hind leg or behind leg. The rabbit meat is very nutritious and low in fat content. Rabbits are of paramount in importance in the following economic purposes.
i. Meat: Is the primary product of the rabbit for human consumptions
ii. Fur: used for the manufacturing of wears mostly used by babies rumen
iii. Pelt: It is the skin from the slaughter rabbits which can be used for making carpet.
iv. Rabbit manure: is good for flower production or vegetable garden. It can also be used in permanent crop production as manure
Biobaku and Oguntona (1997) and Akanni et al., (2007) reported a high productive potential for rabbits, with respect to their high prolificacy, their rapid growth rate, short gestation period (31-35 days), ability to breed again immediately after parturition and the capability of one female rabbit (doe) to produce over 60 litter in a year. Looking at the meat output of rabbits, it is interesting to known that rabbits have great potential in solving the prevailing problem of protein malnutrition and under nutrition in Nigeria. Realizing this potential, good quality, highly nutritious feed must be available. Owing to the high prices of the major ingredients, that is, maize and wheat meal in rabbit diets, it will be necessary to exploit a cheaper and readily available dried cassava peal, meal (DCPM), dried plantain peel meal (DPPM) and dried Maringa Oleifera seeds, leaf and bark meal as partial replacements of greens and wheat meal in compounding rabbit diet.
1.3. BROAD OBJECTIVES
The broad objective of the study is to evaluate the utilization of dried Moringa oleifera plants by growing rabbits.
1.3.1 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
i. To evaluate the potentials of Dried Moringa oleifera (DMO) seeds, leavesa and bark in rabbit growth performance.
ii. To determine the growth responses of rabbit to Moringa oleifera browse plant meal.
iii. To determine the carcass characteristics of the weaned rabbit fed the experimental diets.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The researcher was limited to the use of four different Compounders Fations dried namely Moringa oleifera seeds leaf, bark peel, wheal offal, rice husk and plantain peel. Also it was restricted to Agricultural department of the federal college of education, Abeokuta where 16 rabbits were stocked for the study.
1.4 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Evaluation: Find out or state the value of the experiment
2 Source: The place from which something comes or is obtained
3 Energy: The ability to put effort and enthusiasm into an activity
4 Growth: the process of growing physically, mentally or emotionally
5 Diet: a special restricted course of food adopted to lose weight or for medical reasons.
6 Due: A Matured female rabbits used for crossing/Mating
7 Buck: A mature male rabbit used for cross/Mating
8 Kit: A newly born rabbit
9 Kindling: Act of giving birth in rabbit
10 Ad-Libitum: Unrestricted feeding in rabbit rearing
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