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MEKARN Workshop 2008: Organic rabbit production from forages

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Utilization of vegetable wastes as rabbits feed in the Royal Project Foundation areas
 

Supharoek Nakkitset, Raksina Timkhlai*, Choke Mikled*, Wichit Sonloi and Khanitta Tikam
 

Royal Project Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thailand

                                                                       inalaw@yahoo.com                                                                      

*Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University,

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Abstract

 

The experiment was carried out at three locations to evaluate the utilization of vegetable wastes from the Royal Project Foundation areas as rabbits feed compare with available local grasses or natural foliages. The rabbits of about 7 weeks old and initial weight about 937 g. were randomly allocated into two treatments with 7 replications. Treatment 1 was leafy vegetable wastes (location 1-3) and Treatment 2 was Napier grass (location1) or natural foliages (location 2 and 3). The foliages were fed ad libitum and a basal diet of a commercial concentrate for growing pigs was fed at a restricted level of 2 % of body weight on dry matter (DM) basis.
 

There were significant differences in final weight and daily gain for the location 1 and 3 (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively) by the rabbits fed vegetable wastes were significantly higher than group fed local grasses and natural foliages (2,520, 2,240, 1,682 and 2,080 g, respectively). Daily gain was significantly higher in rabbits fed vegetable wastes, 22.45 g and 16.07 g/day, respectively compared to 10.31 g and 14.41 g/day for Napier grass and natural foliages, respectively. 

Daily DM intake was non-significant difference between vegetable wastes fed group and Napier grass in the location 1. However, there were significant differences (P<0.001) in the location 2 and 3, 81.99 g and 93.72 g/day, respectively for the rabbits fed vegetable wastes compare to natural foliages fed group (122.88g and 122.24 g/day, respectively). There were significant differences (P<0.001) in FCR for all of location by the rabbits fed vegetable wastes was low FCR than the rabbits fed Napier grass and natural foliages.

It was concluded that the rabbits fed vegetable wastes showed the better growth performance than local grasses and natural foliages.

 
Key words: Vegetable wastes, Napier grass, natural foliages, rabbit.

 

Introduction

At the present time the rabbits raising in the Royal Project Foundation extended areas become to a famous livestock activity for the farmers. As the rabbit can be raised in small scale or backyard systems for subsistence with low level input (Phimmasan, 2005). Rabbits can exist on inexpensive diets base on forages under small-scale farm conditions in arid and tropical regions (Ruiz-Feria, 1998). Leng (2006) reported that rabbits efficiently utilize fibrous feed by courtesy of their feeding and digestive strategies.

The main problems that farmers face were feeding management and high feed cost. Also they are lack of knowledge to selected fibrous feed for their rabbits, although the plenty of good quality fibrous feed was available around their areas. Mikled (2005) reported that the crop production process in the Royal Project Foundation areas, can get the waste products from product grading before selling to the market, such as vegetable wastes, which are well utilized as feed resources for livestock. It was found that head lettuce residues offered to rabbits, the results on growth performance were higher than rabbits fed ruzi grass (Nakkitset, 2007).

This study was carried out to evaluate utilization of leafy vegetable wastes compare to available grasses and natural foliages in the areas and to promote alternative feed resources to farmers.

Objective

To evaluate the utilized vegetable waste from the Royal Project Foundation areas as rabbits feed compare with available local grasses and natural foliages.

Materials and methods

 
Location

The experiment was carried out at the Livestock Demonstration and Research Farm of Royal Project Foundation (location 1) and 2 farms at Khun-Pae Royal Project Development Centre, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand, in 2007 – 2008. 

Experimental design

There were 2 treatments by the replacement of local grasses by vegetable wastes as roughage feed for rabbits.

The 7 rabbits were allocated as replication in each treatment and kept in individual cages.  

Animals

The experimental animals were weaned rabbits (crossbred between New Zealand White and native rabbit) about 7 weeks of age and average body weight about 937 (SD=81.9) g.

Feeds and management

The commercial concentrate for growing pig from 30 to 60 kg was used as the basal diet and CP content was about 160 g/kg DM. The concentrate was fed at a level 2% (in DM) of body weight.

The foliages were leafy vegetable waste and local available grasses. The vegetable wastes were collected every day from packing house of the Royal Project Foundation, which is in the same area close to the farms. The vegetable wastes were air dried for 6 hours before offered to rabbits. Grass was harvested from the field around the farms, for the first location Napier grass was used and 2 other farms natural foliage were used.

Chemical analyses

The feed offered were analyzed for dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE) and crude fiber (CF) according to AOAC (2000).

 
Measurement

The rabbit were weighed at beginning of the experiment and then every week before feeding in morning. Feed offered and refused were weighed every day to calculate for feed intake, daily weight gain and determine feed conversion ratio. The feeds and residues were taken and sampled every week to analyse for DM.    

The data collected were analyzed by student’s t-test model (Steel and Torries, 1960).

Results and discussion

 
Chemical composition

In table 1 showed the chemical composition of vegetable waste, Napier grass, natural foliage and concentrate. It was found that the natural foliage and vegetable waste had a relative high in CP (25.35 and 24.33 respectively) compare to Napier grass (11.07).

 

Table 1: Chemical composition of the feeds used in each farm

 

 

Location

 

DM (%)

As % of DM

Ash

CP

EE

CF

Vegetable waste

Farm 1-3

5.79

23.2

24.3

5.60

17.7

Napier grass

Farm 1

24.1

15.0

11.1

3.56

27.0

Natural foliage

Farm 2,3

16.1

12.9

25.4

-

-

Concentrate

Farm 1-3

88.6

9.48

15.6

3.24

4.25

 
Growth performance and feed intake

Effect of foliage on growth performance and feed intake are shown in Table 2. There were significantly higher final live weight and daily gain for the rabbit in the VW treatment as compared to GR treatment, at location 1 and location 3 (P<0.001 and P<0.05, respectively). The daily gain of VW treatment was highest for location 1 and was higher than location 3 and 2, 22.45 g, 16.07 g and 14.29 g/day, respectively. The daily gain results of VW group was similar to 17.6 g and 19.4 g/day that reported in the former research in which rabbits were fed head lettuce diets (Nakkitset, 2007).

The growth performance of the rabbits fed Napier grass in this study was lowest when compare to every treatment in each location (10.31 g/day). This result was related to the reported by Ramchurn et al. (2000); Somkol (2005) and Dong et al. (2006), which the growth performances were lowest in the treatments that grasses were used.

       

Table 2: Effect of foliage on the performance of growing rabbit

 

 

Duration, day

Live weight, g

Feed data , g DM/day

 

Initial

Final

Daily gain

(g/day)

Daily intake

FCR

(gDM/g LWG)

Location 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

VW

70

948

2,520

22.4

96.9

4.36

GR

70

961

1,682

10.3

94.8

9.34

P-value

 

ns

***

***

ns

***

Location 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

VW

98

980

2,280

14.3

82.0

5.75

GR

98

920

2,100

14.1

123

8.79

P-value

 

ns

ns

ns

***

***

Location 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

VW

98

660

2,240

16.1

93.7

5.86

GR

98

660

2,080

14.4

122.

8.51

P-value

 

ns

*

*

***

***

ns: non-significant; * P< 0.05; *** P< 0.001

VW= Vegetable waste (leafy) GR=Napier grass for location 1 and Natural foliage for location 2 and 3

 

Daily DM intake for the rabbits in GR treatment were significantly higher than VW treatment in location 2 and 3 (P<0.001). But daily intake of GR treatment in location 1 were lower than VW treatment, it maybe because of grass was low palatability, according to Gang et al. (2006) reported that the DM intake of rabbits increased significantly when water spinach or sweet potato wines was offered together with Guinea grass.

The FCR in VW treatment was significantly higher than GR treatment in all location (P<0.001). The highest FCR was found in the rabbit fed Napier grass (9.34 g DM/g LWG), and higher than natural foliages and vegetable waste, respectively).According to Ramchurn et al. (2000), the rabbits fed star grass were highest for FCR (10.9 g DM/g LWG). The FCR in VW treatment was similar to the FCR results for rabbits fed head lettuce residues reported by Nakkitset (2007).

Conclusions

 

 

Acknowledgements

The author and researcher team would like to gratefully acknowledge to Research section, Royal Project Foundation for financial supported. Also thanks the Livestock Extension and Development section and Khun-Pae Royal Project Development Centre, Royal Project Foundation for kindly providing research farms.   

 

References

 

AOAC, 2000: Association of Analytical Chemists. Official methods of analysis, 17th  ed. AOAC International, Virginia, USA

 

Dong N T K, Thu N V, Ogle B, Preston T R, 2006: Effect of supplementation levelof waters pinach (Ipomoea aquatica) leaves in diets based on para grass (Brachiaria mutica) on intake, nutrient utilization, growth rate and economic returns of crossbred rabbits in Mekong Delta of Vietnam. In: Preston, R., Ogle, B. (Eds.), Proceeding from Workshop on Forages for Pigs and Rabbits, August 22-24, 2006, Phnom Penh. Agriculture Publishing House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, pp. 169-175

 

Gang D T, Hue K T, Binh D V, Mui N T, 2006: Effect of Guinea grass on feed intake, digestibility and growth performance of rabbits fed a molasses block and either water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) or sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) vines. In: Preston, T.R., Ogle, B. (Eds.), Proceeding from Workshop on Forages for Pigs and Rabbits: August 2006 22-24, Phnom Penh. Agriculture Publishing House, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, pp. 191-196

 

Leng R A, 2006: Digestion in Rabbit - a new look at the effects of their feeding and digestive strategies. In: Preston, T.R., Ogle, B. (Eds.), Proceeding from Workshop on Forages for pigs and rabbits: August 22-24, 2006, Phnom Penh. Agriculture publishing house, Ho ChiMinh City, Vietnam, pp. 145-157

 

Mikled C, 2005: The integration of small ruminants and the agricultural systems in the Royal Project Foundation areas in Northern Thailand. In: Ledin, I. (Ed.), Proceeding from Workshop on Small Ruminant Production and Development in South East Asia: March 2-4,005, Hanoi. Agricultural Publishing House, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, pp. 131-132

 

Nakkitset S, 2007: Evaluation of head lettuce (Lactuca sativa) residues and Mimosa pigra as feed resources for growing rabbits. MSc.ThesisSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences Department of Animal Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Uppsala, Sweden, 54 pp

 

Phimmasan H, 2005: Evaluation of tropical forages as feeds for growing rabbits. MSc thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Uppsala, Sweden

 

Ramchurn R, Pullull Z B, Ruggoo A and Raggoo J, 2000: Effects of feeding stargrass (Cynodon plectostachyus) on growth and digestibility of nutrients in the domestic rabbit. Livestock Research for Rural Development 12(2)

 

Ruiz-Feria C A, Lukefahr S D and Felker P, 1998: Evaluation of Leucaena leucocephala and cactus (Opuntia sp.) as forages for growing rabbits. Livestock Research for Rural Development 10

 

Samkol P, 2005: Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) as a feed resource for growing rabbits. MSc.Thesis Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Department of Animal Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Uppsala, Sweden, pp. 3-26

 

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