Journal article Open Access
Evans Emem Iboro; Ozung Pascal Ogar; Ukpanah Uwana Anietie
This study investigated the haematological and serum biochemical indices of rabbits fed different levels of cassava peel meal as replacement for maize. The study utilized 60 crossed bred weaned rabbits of both sexes aged between 5 and 6 weeks old with an average initial weight of 698.38± 0.02g. There were 5 experimental diets formulated with 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% replacement levels of cassava peel meal (CPM) for maize designated as treatments T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively. The animals were randomly assigned to treatments after weight equalization using a completely randomized design with each dietary treatment having 12 rabbits. The feeding trial lasted for 25 weeks. At the 25th week, blood samples were collected from 30 rabbits (6 per treatment) via the prominent ear vein. Samples for haematological assay were collected into ethylene diamine tetra acetate (EDTA) bottles while blood samples for serum biochemical assay were collected into plain bottles without anticoagulant. The assay was carried out in the haematology laboratory using standard protocols and all results were subjected to one – way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results showed that all the blood indices were within the normal acceptable biochemical ranges for apparently healthy rabbits, with only the white blood cell counts (WBC), red blood cell counts(RBC), platelets, neutrophils and serum creatine being significantly (P<0.05) influenced by dietary treatments. The study concluded that blood chemistry (haematological and serum biochemical indices) of rabbits fed up to 100% cassava peel meal as replacement for maize was not adversely affected. Hence, rabbit farmers are encouraged to utilize this readily available agro-industrial waste in rabbit feeding without fear of compromising the haematopoietic activity vis- a- vis the health status of the animals.