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Effect of Feeding Locust Bean on Nutrient Intake and Digestibility of Rabbits

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Abstract: This study was conducted to determine the dietary effect of roasted locust bean meal (LBM), an unconventional plant protein source, on the nutrient intake and digestibility of rabbits. The experiment was carried out using forty male and female Dutch and Chinchilla rabbits, between six to eight weeks old with an average initial live weight of 950g. The rabbits were randomly allocated to four dietary treatments, with ten rabbits per treatment and two rabbits per replicate. The experimental design used was the completely randomized design (CRD). Locust bean was roasted at about 80°C for about four to five minutes. The heat treated locust bean was milled into a coarse meal (LBM) and this was used in compounding the experimental diets. Treatment 1 (control) was maize-soybean based diet with 0 LBM while treatments 2, 3 and 4 contained 10, 20 and 30 LBM in the diets respectively. Diets were isonitrogenous and isocaloric. Nutrient intake and digestibility of rabbits were evaluated during the feeding trial which lasted for five weeks. Dry matter intake (DMI), organic matter intake (OMI), crude protein intake (CPI), acid detergent fibre intake (ADFI) and neutral detergent fibre intake (NDFI) and nutrient digestibility; dry matter digestibility (DMD), organic matter digestibility (OMD), crude protein digestibility (CPD), acid detergent fibre digestibility (ADFD) and neutral detergent fibre digestibility (NDFD) all showed non-significant differences among dietary treatments. The results obtained exhibited that LBM can be included up to 30 in the diets of weaner rabbits without negatively affecting nutrient intake and digestibility.

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