Full Project – Performance of rabbits fed diet containing graded levels of sweet detar (Detarium Microcarpum) fruit meal

Full Project – Performance of rabbits fed diet containing graded levels of sweet detar (Detarium Microcarpum) fruit meal

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1.1       Background Information

The shortage of animal protein in the developing countries in the tropics has been long recognized and has remained one of the major limiting factors to the attainment of food security in Nigeria. The minimum protein requirement is estimated at about 75g/person/day out of which 40grams should come from animal protein (Akinwumi, 2011). Presently, animal protein consumption has been given as 7g/person/day by FAO (2014), which suggests a less than 16% contribution of the animal products to protein consumption. The situation is degenerating with time as the population growth is not equated with the corresponding increase in animal per capital production (Akunwumi, 2011). The demand and supply of meat have not been able to agree. The problem lingers due to the fact that 85% of the country’s meat supply comes from the cattle whose nomadic system of production does not encourage rapid production (Dung, 2012).

The federal government through its Agricultural Transformation agenda of 2011 has devised means of increasing domestic production of livestock, utilizing improved technologies and management practices towards this end but the impact of these projects are yet to be seen. The utilization of the advantages of short gestation period, high reproductive potential, rapid growth rate and ability to utilize forage which rabbit (Mailafia et al., 2010) and other micro-livestock animals have over cattle to bridge gap between meat demand and supply still leaves the country with a short fall in supply due to myriad of problems facing it (Nworgu, 2007). To maximize food production and bridge this meat demand supply gap in Nigeria, it is pertinent to assess and weigh viable options (Owen et al. 2008) which involves using fast growing livestock species like rabbits which posses advantageous features in the small holder subsistence type integrated farming in developing countries (Mailafia et al., 2010). The set-backs in animal meat production in Nigeria have been attributed partly to diseases, availability of affordable feeds and also the competition between these food animals and humans for available grains. Therefore need to increase the awareness of the high potentials of the rabbit meat production and advocating its use in the developing countries as a veritable means of alleviating  animal protein  shortage (Ajala and Balogun, 2014) both in Nigeria and other tropical African countries using cheap values of feed ingredients.

Sweet detar, (Detarium microcarpum ) is one cheap and available feed ingredients that could be used in feeding rabbits. It belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is very common locally in wooded savannahs; shrub savannahs and semi-cleared dry forest areas and is one of the most abundant species in fallows (Kido and Kim, 2012). The leaves, stems, roots, barks, as well as the fruits have found tremendous usage in treatment of various ailments like tuberculosis, meningitis, itching and diarrhoea (Obun et al., 2010). It is a leguminous tree from West Africa that bears pods containing sweet sour pulp which is popularly eaten by local people. The fruit is rich in vitamin C and the leaves and seeds are also used in cooking. The fruit may be eaten raw or cooked, but traditionally, the mesocarp is transformed into flour used in the preparation of cakes, bread, couscous, baby food and local beer. Seed kernels are added to egusi soup (generic name for seeds of some Cucurbitaceae species) or are cooked and eaten as a vegetable (Vautier et al.,2007).

1.2 Objective of the study

The objective of this study is to determine the effect of graded levels of Sweet Detar (Detarium microcarpum) fruit meal on the growth performance of rabbits.

1.3 Specific Objectives

The specific objectives are;

  1. To determine the proximate composition of the different part of thee sweet detar fruit.
  2. To determine the weight (%) of the various part of the sweet detar fruit
  • To assess the feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion ratio, protein intake, and protein efficiency ratio of rabbits fed with sweet detar (Detarium microcarpum) fruit meal.

1.3  Justification of Study

Livestock production in Nigeria is still faced with the case of high cost of production rising from feed cost. Feed accounts for 60% – 70%of the total cost of many livestock production. This cost is as the result of the cost of procuring the feed ingredients which are mostly conventional feed ingredients. The ever increasing competition between man and livestock for cereals and other feed stuffs necessitate the search for alternative sources that will guarantee cheaper cost of production if the target of 65g protein consumption per day recommended by the FAO is to be attained. It is on this background that this research work is carried out to determine the effect of replacing maize with sweet detar fruit meals in the diets of rabbits. The result of this experiment will be used in the formulation of cheaper feed for rabbits and it will improve the knowledge of the utilization of sweet detar fruits in the livestock industry.


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Full Project – Performance of rabbits fed diet containing graded levels of sweet detar (Detarium Microcarpum) fruit meal