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Sarwatt et al., 2003. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 15 (11)

Document reference 
Sarwatt, S. V. ; Laswai, G. H. ; Ubwe, R., 2003. Evaluation of the potential of Trichanthera gigantea as a source of nutrients for rabbit diets under small-holder production system in Tanzania. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 15 (11)

A digestibility trial and a growth performance study were carried out to evaluate the potential of Trichanthera gigantea as a substitute for the conventional protein sources in the diets of growing rabbits. In the digestibility trial, 12 male rabbits were allocated to four dietary treatments in a completely randomised design and repeated twice to give six observations per treatment. Diet 1 was a control formulated to contain conventional ingredients for rabbit diets. Diets 2, 3 and 4 contained 9%, 18% and 27%, respectively of Trichanthera gigantea replacing similar portions of the control diet. A preliminary period of 7 days was followed by similar number of days for collection period. Digestibility of nutrients of each diet was estimated and metabolisable energy predicted. In the growth study, 48 weaned rabbits (24 males and 24 females) were randomly allocated to the four diets in a completely randomised block design. Feed intake, growth performance, feed conversion ratio and slaughter parameters were measured on the animals for a period of 8 weeks.

The crude protein and crude fibre contents of Trichanthera gigantea were 23.9 and 23.8% in dry matter (DM), respectively. The mean values of crude protein and ether extract digestibility decreased significantly (P<0.05) from 83.6 to 74.5% and 91.0 to 76.4%, respectively and that of crude fibre increased from 13.9 to 25.0% with increased levels of Trichanthera gigantea in the diets. Inclusion of Trichanthera gigantea in the diets significantly (P<0.05) increased daily average DM intake from 51.4 to 73.6 g, protein intake from 11.2 to 16.7 g, growth rate from 12.8 to 18.2 g/d and hot carcass weight from 1203 to 1301 g, relative to the control. The average feed conversion ratio was not significantly (P>0.05) influenced by the diets. The differences between sexes for most parameters were not significant (P>0.05).

It was concluded that levels up to 27% of Trichanthera gigantea could be included in the diet of growing rabbits to promote feed intake and growth performance without influencing the feed conversion efficiency.

Citation key 
Sarwatt et al., 2003