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THE PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTIC AND CARCASS QUALITY OF RABBIT FED WITH VARYING CAMEROON-PEPPER BASED DIETS
1.1 Background of the Study
The world is witnessing a resurgence of interest in natural, traditional and alternative health system. The use of naturally occurring compounds such as herbs, spices and other botanicals are preferred over chemical compounds due to consumer’s concerns over safety and toxicity, this, cannot be separated from livestock production. The importance of aromatic plants and spices in daily nutrition is not only attributed to man but also to animals. While some serve as medicine, some serve as growth stimulators and some as growth promoters. Capsicum annum L. (Cameroon pepper) is a commonly used spice in traditional medicine. (Aghil, et al., 2013).
The use of Cameroon pepper in feeding livestock is reported to possess antimicrobial peptides which are very efficient in inhibiting growth in animals (Aghil et al., 2013). Following the ban on the use of antibiotics in animal production due to emergency of microbes resistance, growth promoters becomes necessary to discover (Steiner, 2009). Removal antibiotics as growth promoters in animal diets has led to incidences of certain animal diseases, drop in performances and increased feed conversion ratio (Afolabi et al, 2017). The alternatives to antibiotics as growth promoters however, are numerous. (Kastadinovic and Levic, 2012, Steiner, 2009, Simon, 2005). Capsicum is a well know spice due to its pungent quality and was found to improve digestibility of feed in livestock's (Moorthy et al., 2009), and proved to be rich in glutathione peroxidase and gluco-6-phospate dehydrogenase and it has Piperine which enhances the thermogenesis of lipids and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and β-endorphin production in the brain (Al-Kassie et al., 2011a). Pepper has been found to have antioxidant properties (Mittal and Gupta, 2000) and anti-carcinogenic effect, especially when combined with chili (Nalini et al., 2006). Among its chemical and biological activities, Piperine is characterized by antimicrobial (Reddy et al., 2004) and anti-inflammatory (Pradeep and Kuttan, 2004) properties. Piperine is an active alkaloid that modulates Benzopyrene metabolism through Cytochrome P450 enzyme (CYP), which is important for the metabolism and transport of xenobiotic and metabolites (Reen et al., 1996). Investigation of Abou-Elkhair et al. (2014) showed that black pepper in broiler nutrition had influence on improved health status through increase of serum globulin concentration. Hot red pepper plays an important role in decreasing the deposition of cholesterol and fat in the body, contributes to decreased levels of triglycerides and supports the vascular system in the body. Efficient hot red pepper compounds consist of capsaicin, Capsisin and Capsantine, some of which allay rheumatic aches. Hencken (1991) explained that Cameroon pepper is rich in vitamin C, which has a considerable impact on improving production through contributing to the reduction of heat stress. Consumption of hot red pepper induces a considerable change in energy balance in birds when individuals are given free access to feed (Yoshioka et al., 2001). Recent studies on poultry performance have shown that blends of active compounds for Cameroon pepper have Chemo-preventive and chemo-therapeutic effects. In research of Al-Kassie et al. (2012) addition of pepper significantly affected the Heterophil/lymphocytes (H/L) ratio, which reflects the role of pepper, especially its active compound capsaicin, which is involved in stress hormones, and which supports the immune system of birds and enhances its resistance against disease through decreasing (H/L) ratio. This study therefore, focused on the effects of Cameroon pepper-based diets on the performance of Rabbits considering the economic benefits of Rabbit production and the need to improve its popularity.
1.2 Statement of problem
The residual effects of antibiotics and other chemicals sources found in meats and milk products can give rise to transmissible resistant factors that leads to health problems; therefore, the need to explore alternatives to these dangerous compounds become very necessary. Dearth of information on the nutritional, growth performances as well as economics of feeding Rabbits with Cameroon pepper-based diets warranted a careful investigation considering documented evidence of Cameroon pepper in improving the growth performance characteristics and productivity of other animals notably broiler birds (Moorthy et al., 2009).
1.3 Objective of the study
The general objective of the study was to determine the performance characteristic and carcass quality of Rabbit fed with varying Cameroon-pepper based diets. However, the specific objectives were
- To assess the impacts of varying Cameroon pepper-based diets on the performance characteristics and economics of production of weanling Rabbits.
- Assess the impacts of feeding Cameroon pepper-based diets on the hematology and serum indices of weanling Rabbits.
- Assess the carcass and sensory qualities of meats obtained from Rabbits fed with Cameroon pepper-based diets.
1.4 Significance of the study:
With limited information on the performance characteristics of Rabbits fed with Cameroon pepper-based diets and the increasing importance of Rabbit farming to the overall effort of meeting food sufficiency, the need for this study becomes valuable. The results obtained from this study will serve as baseline information and reference sources of reference materials for further research on Rabbits nutrition. The analysis of the economics of feeding Rabbit with Cameroon pepper-based diets will help Rabbit farmers to understand the gains and cut cost on Rabbit farming.
1.5 Scope of the study
The study covered the assessment of impacts of Cameroon pepper- based diets on growth performance characteristics, hematology and serum indices, carcass analysis and sensory evaluations as well as the economics of Rabbits only.