The performance of twenty four 6-8 week old apparently healthy male and female weanling rabbits of mixed breed fed diets treated with aflatoxin, which contained 5% sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) fruit peel meal was evaluated in an 8 week feeding trial. Sweet orange peels were collected from orange sellers, sun-dried and milled. Fungal strain of Aspergillus flavus was cultured and inoculated into groundnut cake to produce aflatoxin using solid state fermentation method. Treated groundnut cake was incubated for seven days with incremental incubation temperature from 20-25 oC. The groundnut cake was autoclaved, milled and, aflatoxin extracted from 10 g sample of the milled cake with 50 ml chloroform, and its concentration quantified by Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). Treated groundnut cake was included at 0, 50, 100 and 150 gram in grower rabbit diets to produce diets T1, T2, T3 and T4, having 0 ppb, 50 ppb, 100 ppb and 150 ppb aflatoxin, respectively. The rabbits were randomly allocated to four diets at the rate of six per diet, housed singly in rabbit hutches, fed and served water free choice. The result showed significant (P<0.05) negative effect of diets on final live weight, weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, water consumption, protein intake and protein efficiency ratio as the dietary aflatoxin increased from 0 ppb to 150 ppb. Also, diets had significant (P<0.05) negative effect on dressed weight and carcass length and, kidney. Total aflatoxin residue varied significantly (P<0.05) from 0 ?g/kg - 2.76?g/kg, 0 ?g/kg - 1.94?g/kg and 0 ?g/kg - 0.85?g/kg for liver, kidney and meat tissue, respectively as the dietary aflatoxin increased from 0 ppb to 150 ppb. Performance response of rabbits was affected negatively by aflatoxin, thereby showing the inability of 5% dietary inclusion of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) peel meal to mitigate the adverse consequences of aflatoxin intake by rabbit.
Keywords: Growth response, residual level, visceral organs, mitigate