TRADITIONAL LEAFY VEGETABLES COMBINATIONS ENHANCE GROWTH PERFORMANCE AND IMPROVE HEALTH STATUS OF NEW ZEALAND WHITE x CALIFORNIAN RABBITS

Franck K. YAO, Athanase K. OTCHOUMOU, Raïssa M.F.L. WOGNIN, Sébastien NIAMKE

Abstract

Fifty five rabbits (35 days old; average initial body weight: 550g) were used to assess their growth performance and health status when they were fed with leafy vegetables combinations (Vigna unguiculata, Abelmoschus esculentus, Ipomoea batatas, Solanum melongena, Corchorus olitorius). Ten treatments composed of 50% (dry matter) of three leafy vegetables combination and 50% of pellet were given to rabbits until 98 days of age. The control treatment contained only commercial pellets (100%). The results showed that the daily weight gain and the body weight gain did not differ between treatments. However, the final weights (1866.94-2200 g) were significantly different (p<0.05).Average daily feed intake (61.55 g/day) and feed conversion ratio (2.69) of the control group were different (P< 0.05) to those obtained with the other diets. However, the daily feed intake (162.10-188.97g/day) and the feed conversion ratio (6.91-8.21) of rabbit fed with leafy vegetables combination were similar (P< 0.05). Apparent coefficient of dry matter digestibility (70.52-86.21%) and of protein digestibility (86.28-91.30%) differed between treatments (P< 0.05). The digestibility of diets supplemented by mixture of Corchorus olitorius, Vigna unguiculata and Abelmoschus esculentus, was better compared to other treatments. The blood parameters tested did not differ between treatments (P>0.05), except for Low Density Lipoprotein which was high for diet F group and low for diet I group. This work revealed thatthe use of leafy vegetables combination facilitated the digestibility of diets contributing therefore to the improvement of growth performance and rabbits’ health status.

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