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Performance of growing rabbits fed concentrate and Stylosanthes (Verano) combinations under tropical conditions

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The performance of growing crossbred rabbits fed concentrate and Stylosanthes hamata (stylo) at different ratios was evaluated. The following ratios were used: 25:100, 50:75, 75:50, 100:25 and 125:10 (g : g; weight supplied per day). Total weight gain was lower and the feed : gain ratio (FGR) was higher with the 25:100 combination than with the other combinations. Daily feed intake significantly (P < 0.01) decreased, whereas feed cost and cost per kg intake increased as the concentrate level increased. Cost per kg gain increased with increases in concentrate levels up to 100 g before decreasing at 125 g. Weight gain, cost per kg intake and cost per kg gain had a quadratic relationship with concentrate level, whereas FGR and feed cost had a linear relationship. Time required to attain a market weight of 2.5 kg and total feed required to attain market weight decreased, whereas total cost of feeding increased with increases in concentrate level. Dry matter and ash digestibility were similar for all the treatments. Ether extract digestibility was lower for the 25:100 combination compared with the other treatments. Crude protein, nitrogen-free extract digestibility and nitrogen retention were significantly lower for the 25:100 combination (0.74, 0.66 and 0.64) compared with the 100:25 combination (0.83, 0.75 and 0.79). The dressing percentage was similar for all treatments, whereas the proportion of live weight represented by the head increased with an increase in concentrate level. This study shows that rabbits are able to utilize leaf protein in stylo for growth even at the lowest level of concentrate.
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Keywords: Stylosanthes; concentrate; digestibility; performance; rabbits

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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