EFFECTS OF THE INTEGRATION OF TRIDAX PROCUMBENS INTO THE DIET OF MALE RABBITS ON GROWTH, HEMATOLOGY, SERUM CHEMISTRY AND TESTICULAR PARAMETERS
Oladipupo A. A.*
Fifteen weaned crossbred male rabbits were used for the study of the effects of different diets of Tridax procumbens on the growth, haematology, serum chemistry and testicular development, over a period of about eight months. The animals were grouped into three of five animals each, and housed in a standard hutch. The first was fed Tridax procumbens, second group received a mixture of Tridax procumbens and concentrate, while the third group was placed on concentrate only, and were tagged groups A, B and C respectively. Body weights of all the animals were taken on weekly basis, and the differences (i.e. weight changes) were recorded. Some of the weight changes of note are those taken after acclimatization (i.e. commencement of experiment), at testicular descent, just before castration, and eight weeks post castration. Blood sample was collected from all the animals on the day of castration (i.e. six months of receiving the diet) and used for haematology and serum chemistry evaluations. The testes were processed for histology. Animals placed on a diet of Tridax procumbens only, performed poorly with an initial drop in body weight (-140g), when compared with those on other diets (B: +557g and C: +546.4g). The same trend was recorded in the age at which testicular descent was observed in the animals; those with exclusive diet of T. procumbens (25weeks) were the last to have their testicles descended, while the concentrate only group experienced testicular descent earlier than the other two (18 weeks). The group with a mixture of T. procumbens and concentrate came between the other two (22 weeks). The pattern was not different with the weights taken at testicular descent and pre-castration, as well as erythrogram values like the Rbc and Hb. The values recorded across the three groups for serum chemistry were not statistically significant (P>0.05).
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