Response of growing rabbits reared in a hot humid environment to four hours daily feed deprivation. (175)
Keywords:Growth rate, morphological parameters, nutrient digestibility
AbstractThis study was carried out to investigate the response of growing rabbits reared in hot humid environment to four hours daily feed deprivation. Twenty-four 6 weeks old unsexed mixed breeds (Chinchilla x Dutch x California White) rabbits with an average weight of 849.38±29.97 g were divided into two treatment groups each with 4 replicates of 3 rabbits per replicate. The rabbits on treatment one were fed ad libitum throughout the experimental period while those on treatment two were offered their daily ration at 07:00 am daily and later withdrawn from 12:00 noon till 04:00 p.m. daily for 60 days experimental period. Data were collected on these performance characteristics, linear body measurements, nutrient digestibility and cost of production. Data obtained were subjected to student’s T-test at the 5% significance level. Results showed that four hours feed withdrawal had no influence (p>0.05) on growth performance, linear body measurement, cost of production of rabbits. Rabbits fed ad libitum had high numerical values in final body weight (1322.92 g vs 1298.75 g), total feed intake (1702.01 g vs 1688.45g), protein intake (4.82 g/day vs 4.57 g/day) and water intake (21.69 cl vs 21.51 cl) compared to the results obtained from those on 4-hours daily feed deprivation. The linear body measurement parameters considered showed that rabbits on 4-hours feed deprivation had higher numerical values in body length, heart girth and ear length. Four hours of feed deprivation had a significant effect on the crude fibre (82.63%) and ether extract (82.58%) digestibility of rabbits. It was concluded that 4-hours daily feed deprivation did not have negative effects on growth performance, linear body measurement, nutrient digestibility and cost benefits, hence, it can be used to enhance the productivity of the rabbits.