keywords: Breed, feed intake, feed efficiency, humid tropics, rabbit
In this study, feed utilization of ninety-six (96) rabbits which include New Zealand white, Californian, Palomino brown and Havana black rabbits raised in the humid tropics were appraised. The experiment was carried out at the rabbitry unit of the Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, Ondo state. Feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency were determined after weaning (at 4 weeks) for a period of 8 weeks. The analysis of variance showed that the breed of rabbit had significant effect (P < 0.05) on feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency. The highest feed intake (79.95±3.43 g) was recorded for New Zealand White rabbit followed by Palomino Brown and Californian breed while the least value of 68.35±3.94 g was recorded for Havana Black rabbit. There was no significant difference in the weight gain of Palomino Brown and Havana Black breed with 803.42±23.58 g and 798.54 ±19.37 g, respectively. New Zealand White rabbit had the highest value for feed efficiency (0.24±0.02) followed by Californian (0.20±0.01) while the least value of 0.18 ±0.01 was recorded for Havana Black rabbit. The effect of sex of animal was significant on the feed utilization of rabbit in this study. Male rabbits were superior to female counterparts with respect to feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency. In conclusion, New Zealand White rabbit had better feed intake and feed efficiency when compared with Californian, Palomino Brown and Havana Black rabbit in the humid tropics.
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