In order to evaluate the productive performance of grasscutters (Thryonomys swinderianus) in captivity under intensive management, a study was carried out from the 11th of November 2008 to 23rd of March 2009 at the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) Ekona in the South West region of Cameroon. The objective was to assess the feeding value of the concentrate diets used as supplement. The diets were maize combined with rodent pellets (T1), maize alone (T2), and rodent pellet (T3). Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and water were given ad libitum. Using a complete randomized block design, 24 growing grasscutters (balanced for sex) were assigned to the three dietary treatments of eight animals each. There was no significant difference in both the final body weights and the fortnightly weights (P>0.05) between treatments. The initial mean weights of the animals were 1.021±0.087, 0.929±0.125 and 1.193±0.126 kg, for treatments 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The mean final body weights were 2.050±0.111, 1.786±0.156 and 1.771±0.094 kg for animals on T1, T2 and T3 respectively. The corresponding means for final body weight gains were 1.029±0.173, 0.857±0.172 and 0.579±0.175 kg body mass. The maize combined with the rodent pellet diet and the maize diets supported a high growth rate than the rodent pellet alone. It was therefore concluded that rodent pellets in combination with maize and the maize diet could be used as complete diets for sustainable grasscutter production.
Key words: Grasscutters, elephant grass, management performance, rodent pellet, maize.
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