Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Cover Image

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

Never Assan


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.


Abd El-Galil, K., Khalil, F.S., El-Ganzoury, E.H., 2001. Utilization of leucaena leaf meal by growing rabbits under the recently reclaimed areas. Egypt. J. Rabbit Sci., 11(2), 151-165.

Abonyi, F.O., Iyi, E.O., Machebe, N.S., 2012. Effects of feeding sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) leaves on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of rabbits. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 11(15), 3709-3712.

Akinfala, E.O., Matanmi, O., Aderibigbe, A.O., 2003. Preliminary studies on the response of weaner rabbits to whole cassava plant meal basal diets in the humid tropics. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., (15), 4.

Akinmutimi, A.H., 2004. Evaluation of sword bean (Canavaliagladiata) as an alternative feed resource for broiler chickens. P.H.D Thesis Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, 10-26.

Akinmutimi, A.K., Osuagwu, C.C., 2008. Response of weaner rabbits fed graded levels of sweet potato meal in place of maize-based diet. Pakistan J. Nutr., 7(5), 705-709.

Alawa, J.P., Amadi, 1991. Voluntary feed intake and digestibility of diets containing corn cobs, brewers dried grains and wheat bran by rabbits. J. Anim. Prod. Res., 11, 9-20.

Alvarez, J.L., Marguenda, I., García-Rebollar, P., Carabaño, R., De Blas, C., Corujo, A., García-Ruiz, A.I., 2007. Effects of type and level of fibre on digestive physiology and performance in reproducing and growing rabbits. World Rabbit Science, 15(1), 9-17.

Amaefule, K.U., Iheukwumere, F.C., Nwaokoro, C.C., 2005. A note on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of rabbits fed graded dietary levels of boiled pigeon pea seed (Cajanuscajan). Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 17(5).

Amata, I.A., Bratte, L., 2008. The effect of partial replacement of soybean meal with gliricidia leaf meal on the performance and organ weights of weaner rabbits in the tropics. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 3, 169-173.

Amber, K.H., Isshak, N.S., El-Abd, Niamat, M., 2002. Effect of dietary fiber source on performance of growing New Zealand White rabbits. Egypt Poult. Sci., 22, 127-146.

Anon, 2001. The rabbit welfare fund guide to feeding your pet rabbits;

Asar, M.A., Mona, O., Yakout, H.M., Safoat, A., 2010. Utilization of corn-cob meal and faba bean straw in growing rabbits’ diets and their effects on performance, digestibility and economic efficiency. Egypt Poult. Sci., 30, 415-442.

Baba, L., 2003. Comparison of growth performances of two batches of rabbits fed with meal and pellet diets. Bachelor of Science Report, University of Abomey Calavi, EPAC/UAC, Benin.

Bamikole, M.A., Ikhatua, M.I., Ikhatua, U.J., Ezenwa, I.V., 2005. Nutritive value of Mulberry leaves in the growing rabbits in Nigeria. Pakistan J. Nutr., 4(4), 231-236.

Bawa, G.S., Ajide, S.O., Adeyinka, I.A., Ajala, M.K., 2008. Effect of varying levels of groundnut haulms and cowpea shells on the performance weaned rabbits. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 3, 54-61.

Bonomi, A., Bonomi, B.M., Quarantelli, A., 2003. L’impiegodella farina di semi dipisello (Pisum Sativum L.) Nell’alimentazione del coniglio da carne. Ann. Fac. Medic. Vet. di Parma., XXIII, 203-215.

Castellini, C., Cavalletti, C., Battaglini, M., 1991. Proteic peas in the feeding of rabbits during fattening. Rivista di Coniglicoltura, 28, 33-36.

Cheeke, P.R., 1986. Potentials of rabbits’ production in tropical and subtropical agricultural systems. J. Anim. Sci., 63, 1581-1586.

Cheeke, P.R., Raharjo, C., 1988. Evaluacions de forrajes tropicales y subpcoductos agric descomo alimento pava conejos. In: Sistemas intensivos para la produccion. Animal y de Energia Renovable con Recursos Tropicales (Editors: Preston, T.R., Rosales, M.,) CIPAV: Cali Tomo II, 33-42.

Chikaodi, E.U., Madziga, I.I., Iyeghe-Erakpotobor, G.T., 2017. Proximate composition and carcass characteristic of rabbits fed graded levels of sweet potato vine supplemented with methionine and lysine. J. Anim. Prod. Res., 29(2), 43-62.

Clement, K., Viguerie, N., Diehn, M., Alizadeh, A., Barbe, P., Thalamas, C., Storey, J.D., Brown, P.O., Barsh, G.S., Langin, D., 2002. In vivo regulation of human skeletal muscle gene expression by thyroid hormone. Genome Res., 12, 281-291.

Cunha, L.F., Peres, H., Freire, J.P.B., Solla, L.C., 2004. Effects of alfalfa, wheat bran or beet pulp, with or without sunflower oil on caecal fermentation and on digestibility in the rabbit. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 117, 131-149.

Djago, Y., Kpodekon, M., Lebas, F., 2010. Practical guide of rabbits farmer in tropics, CECURI, Benin, 2nd edition.

D'Mello, J.P.F., 1982. Toxic factors in some tropical legumes. World Rev. Anim. Prod., 4, 41-46.

Eiben, Cs., Gódor-Surmann, K., Kustos, K., Maró, A., Vörös, G., Gippert, T., 2012. Alternative feed ingredients and their effect on the production of growing rabbits. World Rabbit Science Association, Proceedings 10th World Rabbit Congress, September 3-6, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 559-562.

Ekpo, J.S., Solomon, I.P., Isaac, L.J., Ekpo, K.O., Leo, O.O., 2009. Carcass characteristics and economic benefits of weaner rabbits fed cassava tuber meals. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 4, 214-218.

Elamin, K.M., Elkhairey, M.A., Bakhiet, A.O., Ahmed, H.B., Musa, A.M., 2012. Carcass and non-carcass traits of local rabbits fed different sources of fodder in Sudan. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 7, 341-345.

El-Sayaad, G.A.E., 1997. Evaluation of sun dried whole corn plant as feed for growing rabbits. Egypt. J. Rabbit Sci., 7, 57-65.

Falcao-e-Cunha, L., Peres, H., Freire, J.P.B., Castro-Solla, L., 2004. Effects of alfalfa, wheat bran or beet pulp, with or without sunflower oil, on caecal fermentation and on digestibility in the rabbit. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 117, 131-149.

García, G., Galvez, J.F., De Blas, J.C., 1993. Effect of substitution of sugar beet pulp for barley in diets for finishing rabbits on growth performance and energy and nitrogen efficiency. J. Anim. Sci., 71, 1823-1830.

Gasim-Boubaker, A., Abdouli, H., Elhichi, M., Faiza, K., Tayachi, L., 2007. Feeding rapeseed meal to rabbits: Digestability, performance and carcass characteristics. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 2, 38-41.

Gidenne, T., 2000. Recent advances in rabbit nutrition-emphasis of fibre requirements. World Rabbit Sci., 8, 23-32.

Gidenne, T., Perez, J.M., 1993. Effect of dietary starch origin on digestion in the rabbit. 1. Digestibility measurements from weaning to slaughter. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 42, 237-247.

Gidenne, T., Travel, A., Murr, S., 2009. Limited intake and deliver mode of diet. Consequences on feeding behavior, digestion and carcass quality. In: Proceeding of the 13th Rabbitry Research Days, INRA-ITAVI, Le Mans, France, November. 43-46.

Gugołek, A., Juśkiewicz, J., Wyczling, P., Kowalska, D., Strychalski, J., Konstantynowicz, M., Zwoliński, C., 2015. Productivity results and physiological response of the gastrointestinal tract of rabbits fed diets containing rapeseed cake and wheat distillers dried grains with solubles. Anim. Prod. Sci., 55, 777-785.

Hamouda, M., Salwa, K., El-Gaied, J., 1990. Crossing of local rabbits with the Hyla strain: Growth and reproductive performance in the first generation. Mediterranean Options, Serie A, 8, 103-108.

Hongthong, P., Kongvongxay, S., Ty, C., Preston, T.R., 2004. Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) and Stylo 184 (Stylosanthes guianensis CIAT 184) as basal diets for growing rabbits. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 16.

Houndonougbo, M.F., Chrysostome, C.A.A.M., Attakpa, S.E., Sezan, A., Dehou, H.B., 2012. Growth performance of rabbits fed palm-press fibres-based diets. Int. Sch. Res. Netw., 1-5.

Ibrahim, M.R.M., 2000. Efficiency of using peanut hay and carrot-tops hay for feeding growing rabbits. Egypt. J. Rabbit Sci., 10, 147-156.

Idowu, O.M.O., Sogunle, O.M., Idowu, O.A., Jegede, A.V., Alabi, E.E., Adenugba, A.O., Bamgbose, A.M., 2006. Performance and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits fed diets containing cassava root peel and cassava root sievate. Trop. J. Anim. Sci., 9, 81-87.

Inthapanya, S., Preston, T.R., 2009. Effect of supplementation with sweet potato root and paddy rice on growth performance of local rabbits fed water spinach (Ipomoea aquatic) and paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) as basal diets. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 21(10).

Ismail, F.S.A., Gippert, T., 1999. Using sunflower by-product in growing rabbit diets. Egypt. J. Rabbit Sci., 9(2), 285-293.

Iyeghe-Erakpotobor, G.T., 2007. Effect of concentrate and forage type on performance and digestibility of growing rabbits under sub-humid tropical conditions. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 2, 125-132.

Iyeghe-Erakpotobor, G.T., Aliyu, R., Uguru, J., 2004. Evaluation of concentrate, grass and legume combinations on performance and nutrient digestibility of grower rabbits under tropical conditions. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 4(20), 2004-2008.

Jokthan, G.E., Alawa, J.P., Adeyinka, I.A., Adamu, A.M., 2006. The effect of fibre sources on the performance of young rabbits. Niger. J. Anim. Prod., 33, 192-196.

Kandeepan, G., Anjaneyulu, A.S.R., Rao, V.K., Pal, U.K., Mondal, P.K., Das, C.K., 2009. Feeding regimens affecting meat quality characteristics. srpanj-kolovoz | broj 4. XI, 241-249.

Lounaouci-Ouyed, G., Berchiche, M., Gidenne, T., 2014. Effects of substitution of soybean meal-alfalfa-maize by a combination of field bean or pea with hard wheat bran on digestion and growth performance in rabbits in Algeria. World Rabbit Science, 22, 137-146.

Marchii, H., 1989. Varietal differences of nitrogen and amino acid contents in mulberry leaves Actasericologica et entomologica (Japan) 1, September. 51-61.

Martínez, M., Motta, W., Cervera, C., Pla, M., 2005. Feeding mulberry leaves to fattening rabbits: Effects on growth, carcass characteristics and meat quality. Anim. Sci., 80(3), 275-280.

Mehrez, A.Z., Mousa, M.R.M., 2011. Growth performance of rabbits fed olive pulp in North Sinai. Asian J. Anim. Sci., 5, 317-329.

Mohammed, G., Igwebuike, J.U., Alade, N.K., Adamu, S.B., Raji, A.O., 2011. Performance of growing rabbits fed varying levels of camel blood-rumen content mixture. Res. Opin. Anim. Vet. Sci., 1(10), 673-676.

Mutetikka, D.B., Carles, A.B., Wanyoike, M.M., 1990. The effect of level of supplementation to diets of rhodes grass (Chorisgayana) hay, maize (Zea mays) leaves and sweet potato (Ipomeabatatas) vines on performance of grower rabbits. J. Appl. Rabbit Res., 13.

NRC (National Research Council), 1977. Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. 8th Rev. Edn., National Academy of Science, San Francisco, USA., 71p.

Ogbuewu, I.P., Okoli, I.C., Iloeje, M.U., 2008. Serum biochemical evaluation and organ weight characteristics of buck rabbits fed graded levels of Neem (Azadirachta Indica) leaf meals diets.

Olafadehan, O.A., 2011. Carcass quality and cost benefit of rabbits fed cassava peel meal. Arch. Zootec., 60(231), 757-765.

Olorede, B.R., Sadu, Y., Abdurahim, I., Ajagbonna, O.P., Akinloye, O.A., 2002. Blood chemistry and histopathology of cockerel fed cassava flour. ASAN Proceedings, 38-40.

Omar, S.S., Shayo, C.M., Uden, P., 1999. Voluntary intake and digestibility of mulberry (Morus alba) diets by growing goats. Tropical Grasslands, 33, 177-181.

Omole, T.A., 1990. The use of cassava in rabbit feeding: A review. J. Appl. Rabbit Res., 13.

Ortiz, V., De Blas, J.C., Sanz, E., 1989. Effect of dietary fiber and fat content on energy balance in fattening rabbits. J. Appl. Rabbit Sci., 12, 159-162.

Radwan, M.A.H., Partridge, G.G., Allan, S.J., Fordyce, R.A., 1985. The use of cassava root meal in diets for growing rabbits. Agr. Res. Rev. Egypt, 63, 121-127.

Ranjhan, S.K., 1980. Animal Nutrition in the Tropics. 3rd edn., Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., Sahibabab, Ghaziabad, New Delhi. 335p.

Ravindran, V., Rajadevan, P., Goonewardene, L.A., Rajaguru, A.S.B., 1986. Effects of feeding cassava leaf meal on the growth of rabbits. Agr. Waste., 17(3), 217-224.

Reed, J.D., McDowell, R.E., Van Soest, P.J., Horvath, P.J., 1982. Condensed tannins: A factor limiting the use of cassava forage. J. Sci. Food Agr., 33, 213-220.

Sarhan, M.A., 2005. Utilization of agro-industrial by-products of pea (Pisum Sativum) in growing rabbit diets. Egypt. J. Rabbit Sci., 15(2), 157-172.

Sese, B.T., Okpeku, M., Igirigi, A., 2014. Impact of tropical velvet bean (Mucuna Utilis) leaf meal on performance, organ weight and haematological indices of young rabbits. J. Anim. Sci. Adv., 4(4), 777-786.

Strychalski, J., Juśkiewicz, J., Gugołek, A., Wyczling, P., Daszkiewicz, T., Zwoliński, C., 2014. Usability of rapeseed cake and wheat-dried distillers’ grains with solubles in the feeding of growing Californian rabbits. Arch. Anim. Nutr., 68, 227-244.

Tag El-Din, T.H., 1996. Productive performance of meat rabbits as affected by partial replacement of clover hay by okra and sugar beet processing by-products. J. Agr. Sci. Mansoura Univ., 21(12), 4339-4350.

Tag El-Din, T.H., El-Sherif, K., El-Samra, H.A., Hassan, H.A., 2002. Effect of using graded levels of Phaseolus Vulgaris straw in growing rabbit diets. 3rd Science Congress Rabbit Production in Hot Climates, October 8-11. 643-659.

Taiwo, A.A., Adejuyigbe, A.D., Adebowale, E.A., Oshotan, J.S., David, O.O., 2005. Performance and nutrient digestibility of weaned rabbits fed forages supplemented with concentrate. Niger. J. Anim. Prod., 32, 74-78.

Tangendjaja, B., Raharjo, Y.C., Lowry, J.B., 1990. Leucaena leaf meal in the diet of growing rabbits: Evaluation and effect of low-mimosine treatment. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 29, 63-72.

Teillet, B., Colin, M., Armengol, J., Prigent, A.Y., 2011. Effect of a partially decorticated carob seed extract on the viability and the growth of the rabbits. In: Proc. 14émes Journées de la Recherche Cunicole, November, Le Mans, France. 5-8.

Volek, Z., Marounek, M., 2009. Whole white lupin (Lupinusalbus cv. Amiga) seeds as a source of protein for growing-fattening rabbits. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 152, 322-329.

Wafar, R.J., Tarimbuka, L.I., 2016. Effects of substituting groundnut cake with water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) leaf meal on performance, carcass yield and blood profile of weaner rabbit. FUW Trend. Sci. Technol. J., 1(1), 238-242.

Yakubu, B., Wafar, R.J., 2014. Effects of processing methods of Leptadenia hastata on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and carcass characteristics of weaner rabbits. IOSR J. Agr. Vet. Sci. (IOSR-JAVS), 7(I&II), 53-58.

Zeweil, H.S., 1992. Use of a residue from pea (Pisum sativum) processing in feeding growing rabbits. Egypt Poult. Sci., 12, 17-30.

Zwoliński, C., Gugołek, A., Strychalski, J., Kowalska, D., Chwastowska-Siwieck, I., Konstantynowicz, M., 2017. The effect of substitution of soybean meal with a mixture of rapeseed meal, white lupin grain, and pea grain on performance indicators, nutrient digestibility, and nitrogen retention in Popielno White rabbits. J. Appl. Anim. Res., 45(1), 570-576.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.