Performance and Energy Requirements of Gestating Grasscutters Fed Agro-Industrial By-Products

  •  G. S. I. Wogar    
  •  L. N. Agwunobi    


The grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) is a large herbivorous rodent of the grasslands of Sub-Sahara Africa. It is an important source of much-needed animal protein; and holds promise as an acceptable ‘bushmeat’ substitute for the hunted and endangered wildlife animal species of West Africa. The intensive production of the grasscutter would require the supply of inexpensive and adequate dietary nutrients. Energy requirement was determined using sixteen 8-months old gestating grasscutters. The grasscutters were separated into four groups and fed diets, which differed in their energy contents of 2000, 2200, 2400, and 2600 kilocalories metabolizable energy per kilogram (Kcal ME/kg). The test diets had the same crude protein (CP) level of 18%. The results showed that total feed intake was significantly (P<0.05) higher on the 2200 kcal ME/kg diet than on other diets. Weight gain was highest on the 2200 kcalME/kg diet. Average litter size was significantly (P<0.05) higher on the 2200 kcalME/kg and 2400 kcal ME/kg diets. The average birth weight of grasscutter pups was significantly (P<0.05) higher on the 2200 kcalME/kg and 2600 kcalME/kg diets. Taken together, growth and reproductive performance of gestating grasscutters was superior, on the 2200 kcalME/kg diet, to performance on other diets. The results of this study suggest that agro-industrial by-products, soybean and wheat offal in cassava-based diets, can effectively be used at dietary energy level of 2200 kcalME/kg, to rear gestating grasscutters. It is, therefore, concluded that the optimum dietary energy requirement of gestating grasscutters is 2200 kcal ME/kg.

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