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Use of non-classical feed resources and their influence on some performance indicators in rabbits

Never Assan

Abstract


Generally, it has been pronounced that the demand for animal products worldwide will drastically increase due to population boom in turn putting pressure on animal production systems. In view of meeting animal protein demand, suggestions have been put forward to the effect that mini-livestock production, which include rabbits should be part of the mainstream animal production strategies. However, it has been noted that commercial rabbit production has been adversely affected by the high cost of feeding and use of traditional feed stuff (grain and soya bean) that have direct competition with humans for food. There has been an unbearable continued increase in the cost of traditional feed resources (soya been, maize, millet, groundnut, fish meal etc.) in the past decade, which in turn has led to exorbitant rabbit feed prices and consequently expensive rabbit meat and their products. This on the backdrop that feeding is a very critical aspect of rabbit production enterprise that influence overall performance (growth, mortality, reproduction, carcass and meat quality) in rabbits. In this aspect, it has been recommended to explore non-classical (alternative or non-traditional or non-conventional) feed resources to depart from exorbitant cost of feeding and the cost related influence of feed resources due to direct competition between rabbits and humans for food, while maintaining improved rabbit productivity. A series of studies have been carried out targeted on some local non-classical feed resources on account of their nutritional values, as energy and protein sources in rabbits’ diets. The inferiority and unbalance nutritive quality of some of the non-classical feed resources is a major challenge which restrict their successful use in rabbit production. Initial assessment of some non-classical feed resources has reported low nutritive value that distinctly depress voluntary feed intake and nutrient digestibility which in turn adversely affect weight gain in rabbits. However, some non-classical feed resources tested have shown marked potential as energy and protein substitute sources in rabbits’ diets to enhance production. This point to the fact that successful use of non-classical feed resources can mitigate the current high cost and shortage of traditional feedstuffs, and also lessen the potential high competition between rabbits and humans on food. The purpose of this review is to discuss the use of non-classical feed resources and their influence on some performance indicators.

References


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