Potential of Gmelina leaf meal diets on the productive and physiological characteristics of growing rabbits

P.C. Jiwuba1*, U.O. Ikpe2, N.L. Azodo1

1Department of Animal Production Technology, Federal College of Agriculture, P.M.B. 7008, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State, Nigeria 2Department of Animal Production Technology, Federal College of Land Resources Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

(Manuscript received 2 January 2020; accepted for publication 4 March 2020)

Abstract. Rabbit production is highly attracting attention in the world today due to its reputation in supplying one of the safest meat and other useful animal products. Hence, a 49-day study was carried out to determine the feed intake, body weight gain, serum biochemistry and haematological parameters of 80 growing rabbits fed Gmelina arborea leaf meal (GALM) in their diets. Four diets were formulated: T1, T2, T3 and T4 containing GALM at 0%, 10%, 20% and 30%, respectively. The rabbits were randomly divided into four experimental groups of twenty animals each, with five rabbits constituting a replicate. Blood samples were drawn from each animal on the last day of the trial and evaluated for serum biochemistry and haematological parameters. Results on proximate composition revealed that the nutrient requirements were met. Feed intake and body weight gain (p<0.05) were improved in T4 in comparison with other groups. Feed conversion ratio was however best for T3 and T4 (p<0.05). The haematological parameters differed significantly (p<0.05) and were improved at 30% GALM inclusion across the groups. Results showed that all the serum biochemical parameters studied except globulin differed significantly (p<0.05) among the treatment groups. Cholesterol was reduced at 30% GALM inclusion (p<0.05). All the blood parameters fell within the physiological range for clinically healthy rabbits; an indication that GALM had a beneficial effect on rabbits. Diet T4 had the best performance data among the treatment diets and is therefore recommended for rabbit enhanced production.

Effect of diets with raw garlic flour on growth performance and blood parameters in rabbits

M.U. Onyekwere1, P.C. Jiwuba1*, U.N. Egu2

1Department of Animal Production Technology, Federal College of Agriculture, P.M.B. 7008, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State, Nigeria 2Department of Agriculture, Abia State University, P.M.B. 7010 Umuahia, Abia state, Nigeria

(Manuscript received 6 August 2018; accepted for publication 16 October 2018)

Abstract. Ninety-six growing New Zealand rabbit bucks (male) and does (female) were randomly assigned to four treatment diets for a period of ninety (90) days. The treatments which contained 0% (T1) control, 5% (T2), 10% (T3) and 15% (T4) raw garlic flour meal were fed to the rabbits in a completely randomized design (CRD) to determine the growth performance, haematology and serum chemistry of the rabbits. The results on growth performance in both sexes showed significant differences (p<0.05) among the treatment groups except for final body weights. T4 recorded the best values in weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio (FCR) for both sexes. Results of hematological parameters (haemoglobin – Hb, Packed Cell Volume – PCV, Red Blood Cell – RBC, White Blood Cell –WBC, Mean Cell Volume – MCV, Mean Cell Haemoglobin – MCH and Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration – MCHC) showed significant (p<0.05) difference for all the parameters evaluated except for red blood cells in both sexes. Haemoglobin values for both sexes were higher and better for the treatment groups in comparison with the control. For the serum chemistry (Total serum protein, Albumin, Globulin, Urea, Creatinine and Cholesterol) all the parameters showed significant (p<0.05) difference among the parameters examined except albumin for both sexes. However, globulin was also similar (p>0.05) for the male rabbits. Significant (p<0.05) reduction in blood cholesterol was recorded in rabbits fed the treatment diets. The study indicated that raw garlic floor could effectively be added to rabbit ration to improve the quality of the feed and the physiological condition of the animals.

Influence of elevated platform (wire-mesh or wooden) in the cage on domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) activity

S. Peeva1*, E. Raichev1, D. Georgiev2, A. Stefanov3

1Department of Animal Production – Non-ruminants and Other Animals, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria,

2Department of Biology and Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, Stara Zagora, 6000, Bulgaria

3Student Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 29 June 2017; accepted for publication 12 August 2017)

Abstract. Placing an elevated platform in the cage of rabbits is an option to increase its area. The aim of this study was to determine whether raised platform affected the overall activity of breeding rabbits and to evaluate the influence of used material (wire-mesh or wood). Two experimental groups of three male Californian rabbits at four months of age, equal body mass and condition were formed. Their activity was examined in three cage types: without platforms, with wire-meshplatformsandwithwoodenplatformsusingcameratraps.Separationofcagevolumebymeansofanelevated platformincreasedtheactivityof breeding rabbits. The rabbit activity was also influenced by the platform material. It was almost three times higher when the platform was made from wood than from wire-mesh.

Development of the caecal microbiota in rabbits weaned at different age

B. Bivolarski, G. Beev, S. Denev, E. Vachkova, T. Slavov

Abstract. The experiment was conducted to study the post-natal development of the caecal microbiota in rabbits weaned at different age. A total of 60 healthy New Zealand White rabbits of both sexes, born the same day, were used in the experiment (after controlling for the effect of litter origin and weaning weight and variability). Rabbits were weaned both at 21 days (W21 group, 30 litters) and at 35 days (W35 group, 30 litters) of age. The weaned animals were randomly housed in wire net cages measuring in well-controlled experimental facility. They received standard commercial pelleted diet without antibiotics. Feed and drinking water were available ad libitum. Results of the microbiological examination of the caecal contents indicated that rabbits weaned at 35 day had higher total bacterial count (TBC) per g of caecal content, in comparison with rabbits weaned at 21 day (P<0.001). The TBC in the caecum of earlier and later weaned rabbits after weaning increased significantly (P<0.001). The obligate anaerobic bacteria, particularly Bacteroides spp. constitute an important group of microorganisms in the rabbit caecum. The population of Bacteroides spp. increased with advancing of age. The differences between groups on days 35, 42 and 49 were statistically significant (P<0.001). Sporulating bacteria and especially Cl. perfringens was present in low variable amounts in all the caecal samples obtained from healthy animals. Caecal counts of Cl. perfringens at weaning (21 and 35 day) were very low (1.656 and 1.654 log10 CFU/g, respectively) and not affected by weaning age. To the end of the study, earlier weaned rabbits had higher caecal count of Cl. perfringens (P<0.01). Enterococcus spp. and coliforms, including E.coli are an important part of the caecal microbial population of rabbits. The caecal number of coliforms was considerably high at weaning, then decreased linearly and stabilized on low level at day 49. Our study demonstrated the absence of Lactobacillus spp. in the rabbit caecal tract. The pH of the caecal content fell linearly throughout the experiment – there are not significant differences between groups at days 21 and 49. Compared to the W21 group, rabbits in the W35 group, had a higher live body weight (P<0.001) and low mortality during the trial