Replacement value of shea nut meal for dietary maize on growth performance and economics of production of rabbits
Keywords:Non-conventional, Energy, oil-seed-mea, agro-industrial by-products, Rabbit, Shea nut meal in rabbit diets
Shea nut meal is a by-product that is cheaper than maize though its replacement value for min rabbit diet is not yet determined. It is however, hoped that the use of shea nut meal in diet would reduce the cost of production and increase profit. A twelve-week trial was therefore conducted to determine the replacement value of shea nut meal (SNM) for dietary maize on growth performance and economics of production of rabbits. Forty rabbits were divided into five, replicated eight times and allotted to five dietary treatments in a completely randomized design. Diet 1 had maize as major energy source and without SNM, while in diet 2, 3, 4 and 5, SNM replaced maize at 25, 50, 75 and 100% respectively. Proximate composition of SNM, feed intake, weight gain, feed cost, cost of production, revenue and profit were determined. The study revealed that SNM has 16.83 % ether extract (EE) and 46.66 % nitrogen free extract (NFE), low in crude fibre (CF) and 8.74% crude protein (CP). Daily feed intake was higher (p<0.05) for rabbits fed control (65.79g/day) than those fed the test diets (50.90- 60.10g/day). Rabbits fed control diet gained similar (p>0.05) weight as those fed diets 2 or 3, but higher (p<0.05) than those fed diets 4 or 5. Feed gain ratio by rabbit were similar (p>0.05) except rabbits fed diet 5 which were significantly less. Cost per kg diet decreased (p<0.05) as level of replacement increased, and the control diet cost (N 88.75) more than any (N 72.77 - N 84.76) of the test diets. Cost of feeding and total cost of production were reduced (p<0.05) by 16.86 – 36.55% due to replacement. The cost to gain a kg of weight was similar (p>0.05) for each of diets 1 to 4 but significantly (p<0.05) less than that of diet 5. The gross margin was lesser when SNM replaced maize in diets at 100%. Replacement of maize with SNM in diets up to 75% has no negative effect of growth performance and economics of production, however, at 100% replacement levels; there was a decreased feed intake, increased cost per kg weight gain, and a reduced gross margin.