Effect of dietary moringa (Moringa oleifera) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves or their mixture on productive performance, carcass characteristics and antioxidant enzymes of rabbits reared under heat stress conditions

Farouk Helal, Alaa El-Badawi, Ibrahim El-Wardany, Nematallah Ali, Osama Aboelazab


Sixty growing New Zealand White (NZW) male rabbits aged six weeks, weighed 750.0±5g were used in a feeding experiment lasted 9 weeks. Rabbits were housed in controlled-climatic conditions at a mean ambient temperature 33.1°C and relative humidity 43% to keep rabbits under heat stress conditions. The rabbits were randomly distributed to four equal groups (five replicates each). The 1st group fed the control diet (R1), R2 group fed diet supplemented with 1% moringa leaves, R3 group fed diet supplemented with 1% rosemary leaves, while R4 group fed diet supplemented with a mixture of moringa and rosemary leaves of 0.5% each. Diets and water were provided ad-libitum over nine weeks. The results revealed that live body weight, average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were significantly improved with R4 and R2 diets, while daily feed intake was not affected among groups. Apparent digestibility of crude fiber and ether extract were increased (p≤0.05) with R2 diet. Nitrogen balance was positive for all groups, however improvement (p≤0.05) was detected with R2 than control. Carcass characteristics were not affected among experimental groups. Hemo-lysatic catalase, glutathione peroxidase and super-oxide dismutase levels were increased (p≤0.01) with supplemented diets, while malondialdehyde was obviously decreased in the experimental groups compared with the control. It could be concluded that, supplementing diets with 1% moringa dry leaves or mixture of moringa leaves and rosemary leaves by 0.5+0.5% can be used to improve growth performance, nutrient digestibility and antioxidant status of rabbits reared under heat stress conditions.

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