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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2003;16(9): 1309-1314.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2003.1309    Published online January 1, 2003.
Growth Performance and Caecal Fermentation in Growing Rabbits Fed on Diets Containing Graded Levels of Mulberry (Morus alba) Leaves
Rajendra Prasad, A. K. Misra, S. K. Sankhyan, A. S. Mishra, M. K. Tripathi, S. A. Karim, R. C. Jakhmola
Growth performance, nutrient digestibility and changes in caecal fermentation pattern was studied on four groups of 8 grower rabbits (soviet chinchilla) each, fed on diets containing 17 to 18% CP and 10.4-11.00 MJ DE kg-1 feed. The complete diets contained mulberry leaves along with other feed ingredients at 0 (LH), 15 (ML15), 30 (ML30) and 45% (ML45) levels. In LH diet ground lucerne hay was added at 15% of the diet as roughage source. The diets were uniform in other nutritional parameters except the higher amount of hemicellulose (18.7 and 16.5%) in LH and ML15 diets. The performance of grower rabbits was better (p<0.05) on LH and ML15 diets in terms of twelve weeks weight (kg), total gain (g), average daily gain (ADG) and feed efficiency (%). Different levels of mulberry leaves in the diet did not influence the dry matter intake. Digestibility of nutrients for DM, OM, CP, NDF and energy was uniform in all the diets but the digestibility of CF, ADF and cellulose was higher (p<0.01) on ML15, ML30 and ML 45 diets. The hemicellulose digestibility was significantly higher (p<0.01) on LH (44.52%) and ML15 (48.00%) compared to ML30 (33.54%) and ML 45 (39.17%) diets. The nitrogen retention (% of intake) was higher (p<0.05) in LH and ML15 diets than ML30 and ML45 diets. The caecum weight as percent of intestine weight consistently increased (p<0.05) with increasing content of mulberry leaves in diets. Total nitrogen and NH3-N was higher on LH and ML15 diets. It is concluded that incorporation of mulberry leaves can replace Lucerne hay in complete rabbit feed (15% in diet). Even at higher level i.e. 30 and 45% of the diet mulberry leaves based complete feed gave promising results.
Keywords: Rabbit; Growth; Tree Leaves; Mulberry Leaves; Caecal Fermentation; Nutrient Utilization

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