Thirty-six local young rabbits of 42 days old were used to evaluate their growth performances and sensory characteristics of their meats based on the type of feed. The rabbits were divided into three groups of twelve animals each, that were fed for 56 days with one of three diets: Commercial feed (Cfe), commercial feed supplemented with water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) (Cfw) and feed composed only of water spinach (Wsp). At the end of the fattening period, rabbits were slaughtered at 1561.8 ± 105.3 g, for physicochemical analysis and sensory evaluation. Meat from rabbits fed with Cfw had protein and fat contents significantly higher (P< 0.05) than meat from rabbits fed with the two other diets. However, the meat from rabbits fed with Wsp had pH and moisture content significantly lower (P < 0.05) and significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of rabbits fed with the two other diets respectively. The sensory analysis showed that the meats obtained from rabbits fed with the three types of feed were accepted. The panellists particularly appreciated meat from rabbits fed with Cfw for tenderness, juiciness and succulence.
Key words: Ipomoea aquatic, rabbit, fattening, meat quality, sensory.
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