Livestock Research for Rural Development 29 (12) 2017 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Growth performance of grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) fed graded levels of cocoa bean shell with cocoyam peel as replacement for forage grass

O M Edoror and M I Okoruwa

Department of Animal Science, Ambrose Alli University, P.M.B. 14, Ekpoma, Nigeria


The study was carried out to determine the effect of varying levels of cocoa bean shell with cocoyam peel as replacement for forage grass on growth indices by grasscutter. Eighteen grasscutter with average weight of 1.00 0.25kg were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments with six animals per treatment in a complete randomized design. The compared diets were: GG (70% forage grass and 30% concentrate diet that served as the control diet), CS30 (30% cocoa beans shell with 40% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet) and CS40 (40% cocoa bean shell with 30% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet). The results showed that daily feed intakeand feed conversion ratio were greater in diet GGthan CS30 and CS40. Treatment diet CS40 was better in final body weight, total weight gain and daily weight gain. Variation did not occurin initial body weight of the grasscutter. It can be concluded that combination of 40% cocoa bean shell with 30% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet has the potential to enhance growth performance of grasscutter.

Keywords: agro-industrial by-products, grasscutter, performance


Grasscutter has been identified as one of the unconventional livestock that is capable of solving the problem of low protein intake in the tropics. The roles presently played by grasscutter in terms of contributing to nutritional valuesneeded to be sustained, because its production is one of the ways to ensure sustainable production of bush meat through captive and ranching wild animals that are tractable and easy to handle (Fatokunet al2010). However, the survival of grasscutter outside their natural habitat has created a lot of concern for scientist in the field of wild life farming all over the world. Thus, there is need to encourage domestication of grasscutter by making breeding and fattening stock readily available for intending farmers (Henry 2010). This can be achieved through captive rearing and finding alternative feed resources for forages that decline in quality and quantity during the off-season.

The use of cocoa bean shell with cocoyam peel as feed resources could reduce the pressure on the scarcity of feeds in grasscutter production. Hence the objective of the study is to determine the growth performance of grasscutter fed varying levels of cocoa bean shell with cocoyam peel as replacement for forage grass.

Materials and methods

The study was carried out at the Teaching and Research Farm, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Forage grass (guinea grass),cocoa bean shell and cocoyam peel were used as feed in addition to concentrate diet that comprised the following ingredients: maize 36.5%, soya bean meal 34.3%, palm kernel cake 10.1%, wheat offal 15.2%, salt 0.15%, vitamin 0.37% bone meal 3.02%, lysine 0.13% and methionine 0.23% was added to the experimental diets. The concentrate had calculated 24% crude protein and 2340kcal/kg metabolizable energy.

The three experimental diets prepared were; GG(70% forage grass and 30% concentrate diet that served as the control diet), CS30 (30% cocoa bean shell with 40% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet) and CS40 (40% cocoa bean shell with 30% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet)

Eighteen young male grasscutter (pups) aged between 2 to 3months old with an average body weight of 1.00 0.25kg were used for the experiment. The grasscutter were randomly allocated to the three treatment diets with two replicates of three grasscutter in a completely randomized design. The treatment diets were given at the rate of 5% dry matter basis of their body weight once daily in the morning. Fresh water was provided on daily basis while routine sanitation with medications was also adhered to strictly. Live weights measured of the grasscutter were taken on weekly basis and feed intake was measured daily. The study lasted for 12weeks after 7-day acclimatization.

Feed stuff was analysed for proximate analysis using the procedure of AOAC (2002). Data generated from the growth parameters were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) significant difference between treatments were separated using Duncan’s multiple range test (SAS 2003)

Results and discussion

The proximate composition of guinea grass, cocoa bean shell and cocoyam peel are shown in Table 1. The dry matter (DM) content was higher for cocoa bean shellthan cocoyam peeland guinea grass (Table 1).The values of proximate composition of guinea grass, cocoa bean shell and cocoyam peel recorded in this study were comparable to the values reported by Aganga and Tshwenyane (2004);Babajide and Emiola (2013); Abdulrashid and Agwunobi (2009) respectively.

Table 1. Composition of guinea grass, cocoa bean shell and cocoyam peel (on DM basis
except for Dry matter which is on air-dry basis).


Guinea Grass

Cocoa Bean Shell

Cocoyam Peel

Dry matter




Crude protein




Crude fibre




Ether extract








Nitrogen free extract




DM= Dry Matter

Table 2. Growth performance of grasscutter fed experimental diets








Initial body weight (kg)






Final body weight (kg)






Total weight gain (kg)






Daily weight gain (g)






Daily feed intake (g)






Feed conversion ratio






abc Means in the same row with different superscripts are significantly different “P < 0.05”
GG= (70% forage grass and 30% concentrate diet), CS30= (30% cocoa bean shell with 40% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet) and CS40= (40% cocoa bean shell with 30% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet)

Presented in Table 2 is the growth performance of grasscutter fed experimental diets. Parameters obtained in growth study were varied among the treatment diets except initial body weight that was not affected. The effect of the treatment diets on the final body weight was varied between treatment diets. The values increased progressively in treatment diets as the levels of cocoa bean shell increased. Grasscutter on CS40 value did not differ from the value observed for those on CS30 but they had greater values than those on GG. However, the level of cocoa bean shell inclusion in diets CS40 and CS30 could probably played an important role in digestion and absorption (Babajide and Eniola 2013) and positively contributed to enhance performance of grasscutter on the diets. This could have been possible with the level of protein availability which had attributed to diets utilization by the grasscutter. Results showed that total weight gain followed the same trend as final body weight. Differences observed among treatments on their effects in total weight gain also suggest the ability of grasscutter to utilize and convert their test diets to higher total weight gain observed. However, the higher value recorded in total weight gain for grasscutter placed in diet CS40 explained the superiority and efficiency of the diet compared with diets GG and CS30. According to Malik et al (2011) the nutrient value of a diet and the efficiency of its utilization are largely determined by the relative balance of glycogenic, energy, long chain fatty acids and essential amino acid absorbed by the animals. It could then mean that this diet contained a balance of nutrient which efficiently interacted to give the highest total weight gain. Notwithstanding, it is interesting to note that there was a decline in daily weight gain as the level of cocoyam peel increased gradually in the treatment diets. This depressed growth observed as the inclusion levels of cocoyam peel increased in the treatment diets could be attributed to the reduction of their nutrient availability and utilization. This is supported by the fact that the test diets nutrient content of cocoyam peel were not better utilize by the grasscutter. During this course of this study, it was observed that grasscutter on control diet (GG) spent more time in eating and showed the greater enthusiasm to receive feed the next morning compared with grasscutter on the test diets (CS30 and CS40). This partly explains the more feed consumption by the grasscutter on guinea grass based diet (diet GG) to meet their nutrient requirements. This results obtained for daily feed intake therefore supported the observation of Okoruwaet al (2014) that as the level of metabolizable energy in the diet increases or decreases feed intake changes inversely, although the rate of adjustment is not always sufficient to keep energy intake constant. This fact also confirm the report of Ebruaja et al (2017) affirmed that animals will consume sufficient feed to satisfy their energy requirement which is one of the main factors limiting feed intake. In addition, the same author reported that nutrient composition of feeds play an important role in feed intake of animals. The marked reduction for feed conversion ratio in grasscutter on diet CS40 further attest the efficiency of the grasscutter to optimally utilize the feed consumed to maximize daily weight gain.

Moreover, results recorded in this study indicated that CS40 supported superior final body weight, weight gain and better feed conversion ratio than CS30 and GG. The reduction in these parameters in control diet and diet CS30 could be linked with high crude fibre and dustiness respectively. This could probably be the reason for the decline in performance of grasscutter on GG and CS30. It has been established that high fibre content of a diet has the effect of interfering with nutrient utilization and works synergically with essential fatty acid deficiency in retarding normal growth in cane rats (Taiwo et al 2009). Okoruwa et al (2004) also observed that dustiness in a feed induces irritation of the stomach and respiratory organs in animals.


The resultsobtained from this study showed positive response of using cocoa bean shell with cocoyam peel as replacement for forage grass in growth performance of grasscutter.The effect was well pronounced in treatment containing 40% cocoa bean shell with 30% cocoyam peel and 30% concentrate diet.


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Received 15 October 2017; Accepted 7 November 2017; Published 1 December 2017

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