Productive Performance Of The Grasscutter (Rodentia: Thryonomyidae) Reared Under Three Different Housing Systems

The floor housing, open-cage and closed-cage housing systems for rearing grasscutters in captivity were respectively used to evaluate the performance of the grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus Temmnick, 1827) in the humid tropics of southern Nigeria. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the average initial weights of the grasscutters reared under the three different housing systems. But there were significant differences (P<0.05) in the average final weights, average weight gains, average daily weight gains, average total feed intake, and feed efficiency in favour of the floor (3434g, 2634g, 8.75g/d, 287230g, and 0.00914) over the open-cage (2985g, 2181g, 7.27g/d, 278580g, and 0.00782) and the closed-cage (2972g, 2167g, 7.22g/d, 279810, and 0.00774) housing systems, respectively. Performance evaluation of the resultant grasscutter rats showed no significant differences (P>0.05) in the mean litter sizes, average litter mortality, and average number of litters weaned. But the numerical values of mean litter sizes and average number weaned were floor housing (2.85 and 2.44) greater than closed-cage (2.65 and 2.22) greater than open-cage (2.45 and 1.88) housing systems. The mortality rates (%) occurred in the reverse order of floor-housing (21.50) less than closed-cage (22.60) less than open-cage (24.90) housing systems. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in the mean litter birth-weights, average weaning weights, weight gains, and average daily weight gains in favour of the floor-housing (149.25g, 451g, 301.75g, and 7.18g/d) over closed-cage (135g, 410.70g, 275.70g, and 6.56g/d) and open-cage (133.75g, 383.50g, 249.75g, and 5.95g/d) housing systems, respectively. This result is an indication that the Floor is superior to the Cage housing systems for rearing the grasscutter in captivity. Key Words: Captive grasscutter, Housing systems, Performance evaluation, Nigeria. Bio-Research Vol.2(2) 2004: 19-21

 OO Ikpeze, CI Ebenebe