Growth performance of weaner rabbits on diets containing varying levels of dried okra leaves (Abelmoschus esculentus)
Keywords:Okra leaves, Feed intake, Feed efficiency, growing Rabbits
The need to seek for alternative feed materials with nutritional and medicinal values to support livestock growth necessitated this study. Forty-five unsexed rabbits crosses (Chinchilla × Newzealand white) 5- 6 weeks old with average weight of 720g were used in a 10- week feeding trial to evaluate the performance of growing rabbits fed on varying levels of dried okra leaves. The rabbits were assigned into five treatment groups containing dried okra leaves (DOL) at 0%, 2.5%, 5%, 7.5% and 10% inclusion levels for dietary treatments (T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5) respectively. Each treatment consisted of 9 rabbits and replicated thrice with each replicate consisting of 3 rabbits in a completely randomized design. Data collected were subjected to one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results indicated that daily feed intake was significantly (P<0.05) largest in rabbits fed 5.00% inclusion level of dried okra leaves (84.57g) and least in rabbits fed 0.00% level of inclusion of dried okra leaves (72.12g). Feed efficiency (FE) was poorest (P<0.05) in rabbits fed 10.00% DOL (0.15%) and best (0.20%) in rabbits fed 2.50% dried okra leaves. It was concluded that okra leaves can be included in diets for growing rabbits and 2.50% level of dried okra leaves inclusion is recommended for adoption by farmers to maximize profit.