Estimating Apparent Nutrient Digestibility of Diets Containing Leucaena leucocephala or Moringa oleifera Leaf Meals for Growing Rabbits by Two Methods

  • Safwat, A.M. (Department of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Yucatan (UADY)) ;
  • Sarmiento-Franco, L. (Department of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Yucatan (UADY)) ;
  • Santos-Ricalde, R.H. (Department of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Yucatan (UADY)) ;
  • Nieves, D. (National University of Llanos "Ezequiel Zamora" (UNELLEZ)) ;
  • Sandoval-Castro, C.A. (Department of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Yucatan (UADY))
  • Received : 2014.06.11
  • Accepted : 2015.01.19
  • Published : 2015.08.01


This study aimed to evaluate the nutrient digestibility of growing rabbits fed diets with different levels of either Leucaena leucocephala (LLM) or Moringa oleifera (MOLM) leaf meals and also to compare total collection and $TiO_2$ marker methods for estimating digestibility. A total of 30 California growing rabbits ($1.81{\pm}0.19kg$ live weight on average) were randomly distributed into five experimental groups of six rabbits each and were housed in individual cages. The groups were control, 30% LLM, 40% LLM, 30% MOLM, and 40% MOLM. All groups received pelleted diets for two weeks; diets also contained 4 g/kg titanium dioxide as dietary marker. Daily feed intake was recorded during the whole experimental period and total feces were collected daily and weighed individually during four days. The results showed that there were no difference (p>0.05) in feed, dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), digestible energy, and crude fiber (CF) intake between the control group and the other experimental groups. The apparent digestibility values of DM, OM, CP, CF, acid detergent fiber, and gross energy were the highest for control group (p = 0.001), meanwhile MOLM diets had generally higher nutrient digestibility coefficients than LLM diets. Increasing the inclusion level of leaf meal in the diet from 30% to 40% improved the digestibility of CF from 45.02% to 51.69% for LLM and from 48.11% to 55.89% for MOLM. Similar results for apparent nutrient digestibility coefficients were obtained when either total collection or indigestible marker method was used. In conclusion, the digestibility of MOLM containing diets were better than LLM diets, furthermore $TiO_2$ as an external marker could be used as a simple, practical and reliable method to estimate nutrients digestibility in rabbit diets.


Digestibility;Nutrients Intake;External Marker;Leucaena leucocephala;Moringa oleifera;Rabbits


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