Cost-Benefit of Using Banana Peels in Rabbit Food

Jenn Hoskins
3rd April, 2024

Cost-Benefit of Using Banana Peels in Rabbit Food

Image Source: Mohan Nannapaneni (photographer)

Key Findings

  • In Brazil, rabbits fed entirely on banana peel and sweet potato vine showed a 57% cheaper diet cost
  • The total cost to raise a rabbit on this diet was significantly lower, with a 32.55% higher profit margin
  • The study suggests that these alternative feeds are economically beneficial without affecting rabbit sale prices
In the quest for sustainable and cost-effective livestock farming, researchers are turning to unconventional feed sources. One such investigation, conducted at the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil, has uncovered promising results in the realm of rabbit nutrition[1]. The study focused on two potential feed ingredients: banana peel (BP) and sweet potato vine (SPV). These were selected to replace the more costly traditional feeds, maize and alfalfa hay, in rabbit diets. The motive behind the study is clear: the cost of conventional feed ingredients is a significant part of livestock production expenses. By finding suitable alternatives, the study aims to reduce costs without compromising animal health or productivity. This aligns with earlier research that explored the use of Musa sp. peels and SPV as complementary feeds in the tropics [2,3]. These studies laid the groundwork by demonstrating the potential of such feeds in animal diets. The Brazilian study went a step further by quantifying the economic benefits of integrating BP and SPV into rabbit diets. Fifty New Zealand white rabbits were weaned at 35 days of age and then fed with diets containing varying levels of BP and SPV, replacing traditional feeds incrementally up to 100%. The results were financially telling: the diet with 100% replacement (T100) had the lowest cost per kilogram of feed, amounting to R$ 1.18/kg, which was 57% cheaper than the control diet costing R$ 2.08/kg. Moreover, the total operating cost to produce a rabbit using the T100 diet was R$ 6.51 per head, significantly lower than the R$ 10.93 per head with the control treatment. This translated to an increased gain margin per animal (GMA) of 32.55% for the T100 diet, despite the similar income from selling live rabbits between the two treatments. In essence, the study concludes that feeding rabbits with a diet of 100% BP and SPV is not only economically viable but also beneficial. The methods used in the study were straightforward yet robust. A biological assay monitored the growth phase of the rabbits from 35 to 84 days, during which their diets were adjusted to include the new ingredients. This practical approach ensured that the findings were grounded in real-world conditions, making the results more applicable to farmers. These findings resonate with similar research conducted on the use of agricultural by-products in animal feed. For instance, a study on beef cattle in China[2] reported improved weight gain and feed efficiency when banana by-products were included in the diet. This suggests a broader potential for such feed substitutes beyond the context of rabbit farming. In summary, the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria's study offers a compelling case for the use of BP and SPV as complete replacements for maize and alfalfa hay in rabbit diets. The economic benefits are clear, and when considered alongside previous research[2][3][4], the potential for agricultural by-products as feed substitutes becomes increasingly evident. This approach not only reduces costs for farmers but also addresses issues of waste and environmental sustainability in agriculture. As the global demand for meat continues to grow, such innovations in animal husbandry could play a crucial role in shaping a more sustainable and cost-effective future for the industry.

AgricultureNutritionAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Economic analysis of banana peel and sweet potato vines in diets for rabbits.

Published 2nd April, 2024

Journal: Tropical animal health and production

Issue: Vol 56, Issue 3, Apr 2024

Related Studies

2) Effect of using banana by-products and other agricultural residues for beef cattle in southern China.

3) Ripening influences banana and plantain peels composition and energy content.

4) Sweet potato vines in diets for growing rabbits on performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality.

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