O. Pius1*, T. Ahemen1, A.H. Abu2
1Department of Animal Breeding and Physiology, College of Animal Science, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria
2Department of Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria
(Manuscript received 27 August 2018; accepted for publication 14 January 2019)
Abstract. Thirty (30) rabbit bucks of mixed breeds (New Zealand white x Chinchilla) with average live weight of 852g, aged between 12 and 14 weeks were subjected to a feeding trial for 14 weeks, to determine the effects of diets with different ratio concentrate to fresh leaves of Gmelina arborea (FLGA) on semen characteristics, testicular and epididymal morphometry of rabbit bucks. The rabbits were randomly allocated into five treatments: Treatment 1-T1 (100g concentrate /C/: 0g FLGA), Treatment 2-T2 (75g C: 25g FLGA), Treatment-T3 3 (50g C: 50g FLGA), Treatment 4-T4 (25g C: 75g FLGA), Treatment 5-T5 (00g C: 100g FLGA). The results obtained showed that sperm motility, concentration and percentage of live sperm cells showed significant effects (P<0.05), while semen volume and percentage of normal sperm cells were not significantly affected by the test diets. Rabbits on T4 did not ejaculate within the experimental period. Mean testis density was not significantly affected, while paired testes weight, mean testis length, paired testes volume, paired epididymal weight and mean epididymal length were significantly (P<0.05) influenced by the dietary treatments. The results revealed that rabbit bucks on T2 and T3 performed better, rabbits on T4 performed least, while rabbit bucks in T5 could not survive beyond two weeks. Concentrate to FLGA at the ratios of 75g C: 25g FLGA (T2) and 50g C: 50g FLGA (T3) are therefore recommended as the best combinations for rabbit breeding bucks.