Olutayo Obi, Adeboye Omole, Olumide Tewe:
Varying Levels of Dietary Fibre on the Performance of Growing Grasscutter (Thyronomys swinderianus) Temmnick


1Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Livestock Improvement Programme, Nigeria
2University of Ibadan, Department of Animal Sciences, Nigeria

Grasscutter, a micro-livestock is being domesticated to enhance the dietary protein needs of Nigerians. Fibre is an essential feed component required for optimal performance. Imbalances in the level of dietary fibre have effect on nutrient digestibility and utilisation. There is paucity of information on the utilisation of this component in growing grasscutter. Varying levels of dietary fibre on the performance of growing grasscutter were therefore evaluated.

In this study, 36 twelve-week-old growing grasscutters of mixed sexes and mean weight of 501$\pm$ 3.4g and were used . The animals were randomly allotted into four dietary treatments in a completely randomised design, replicated three times with three grasscutters per replicate. Four dietary treatments were formulated to contain 9% (C1), 11% (C2), 13% (C3) and 15% (C4) crude fibre. The four pelleted diets contained 16% crude protein and 2600 kcal MEkg-1 dry matter. The experiment lasted 16 weeks. Parameters measured were feed intake and body weight changes. Feed conversion ratio was calculated. Data were analysed using ANOVA and DNMRT at p < 0.05.

There were no significant differences observed in feed intake (9419 - 9469g $\pm$14.1), weight gain (2837 - 2882 g $\pm$ 61.3), dry matter digestibility(79.3 - 79.9% $\pm$ 4.3), crude protein digestibility (68.4 - 69.0% $\pm$ 3.8) and crude fibre digestibility (61.4 - 61.9 % $\pm$ 3.2) of growing grasscutters fed pelletized diets containing 9-13% crude fibre. Feed conversion ratio was, however, significantly lower in the 13% crude fibre group (3.24+0.06 p > 0.05). The lowest weight gain was recorded in the 15% crude fibre group. The efficiency of feed utilisation, weight gain, feed conversion ratio and cost per unit of gain were best in the diet containing 13% crude fibre content. Nutrients digestibility were better in the diet containing 13% crude fibre (p < 0.05). Based on the results, diets of growing grasscutter should contain 11 to 13% crude fibre.

Keywords: Cost/weight gain, feed conversion ratio, fibre requirement, nutrients digestibility


Contact Address: Olutayo Obi, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Livestock Improvement ProgrammeMoor Plantation Apata, Ibadan, Nigeria, e-mail: holumydez@yahoo.com
Andreas Deininger, October 2010