Reproductive Response of Rabbit Does to Diets Containing Varying Levels of Horseradish (Moringa oleifera) Leaf Meal

Iyabode Comfort Alemede, Edith Akudo Onyeji, Daniel Nma Tsado, Emmanuel Legbo Shiawoya


Twenty-four females and four male rabbits (New Zealand White and Chinchilla breed) aged between four to five months, with  initial body weight of 1363-1460 g were used to evaluate  the  reproductive performance of rabbits fed diets containing varying levels of horseradish (Moringa oleifera) leaf meal (MOLM).The rabbits were assigned into four treatment groups consisting of six rabbits per group and replicated thrice in a complete randomised design and fed four diets designated T1, T2, T3 and T4 with 0, 10, 20 and 30 % MOLM. The study lasted for 16 weeks. The treatment diets were offered to the rabbits at 8:00 am and 5:00 pm daily. The rabbitry, faeces trays, feeders and drinkers were washed daily and clean water was provided ad-libitum throughout the experimental periods. The does (female rabbits) were mated at five months of age at a mating ratio of 1 buck to 6 does and at weight not less than 1.5 kg. Mating was carried out in the morning and evening and the does were taken to the bucks hutches for mating. twelve days after mating, the does were palpated for pregnancy and if no foetus were detected; the does were re-mated. The does were weighed prior to mating, weekly thereafter and following parturition. The  birth traits  evaluated were Gestation Length (GL), Gestation Gain (GG), Litter size at birth (LS), Litter birth weight (L B W), Kindling loss (KL), Neo-natal mortality (NNM) which is expressed in percentage. Also, co-efficient of milking capacity was computed. The weaning traits measured were Litter size at weaning (LSW), Litter weight at weaning (LW), Litter weight gain (LWG), Weaning sex ratio (WSR), Survival ratio to weaning (SRW) which is usually expressed in percentage. All data obtained were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA).The litter birth weight ranged from 32.10 – 38.07 g for T1 –T3 (0 - 20 % MOLM) while T4 (30 % MOLM ) and T3 (20 % MOLM) recorded the highest values (P<0.05) of 55.20 and 59.10, respectively for gestation gain. The weaning traits were significantly affected by the dietary treatments, with T3 having the highest (P< 0.05) litter size (3.33) at weaning and survival rate at weaning 66.60 %. T2 (10 % MOLM) and T3 (20 % MOLM) recorded excellent performance 442.30 g, 408.40 g and 462.52 g, 421.84 g for mean litter weight at weaning and litter weight gain, respectively. Consequently, it was concluded that up to 20 % MOLM can be included in the diet of rabbits without any deleterious effect.

Keywords: Reproductive Performance, Rabbit Does, Moringa

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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