Cannabis sativa L. as a Feed Source in Backyard Rabbit Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2020: $16,419.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Tarleton State University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Frank Owsley
Tarleton State University


  • Agronomic: hemp
  • Animals: rabbits


  • Animal Production: feed formulation, feed management, feed rations

    Proposal abstract:

    Recent 2018 Farm Bill hemp legislation may offer an alternative livestock feed protein source. Hemp and marijuana are both derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L., with the sole difference being that hemp must contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in the plant. Hemp oil, derived from C. sativa seed, has been gaining popularity over recent years for its use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and human food products. The seed meal that is left after oil extraction is what we will evaluate as a protein source in livestock. Limited research has been conducted on hemp seed meal as a protein feed in livestock, but current publications indicate it may effectively replace other common protein sources in ruminant diets. The objectives of this research are 1) to evaluate variation in nutrient composition and in vitro digestibility of hemp seed meal from various sources, and 2) to evaluate hemp seed meal as a protein replacement in the diet of meat rabbits. Hemp seed meal sample sources will be the sole factor and will be obtained from a minimum of four oil processing factories. Each sample will have four replications from distinct batches at each source. These replications will be the experimental unit. Chemical analysis will be run on each replication and variability among sources will be determined. Once nutritive value variability has been determined, hemp seed meal will be used to replace protein source in meat rabbit diets.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of this project are:

    1. To evaluate variability in nutrient composition and in vitro digestibility of hemp seed meal from various sources
    2. To evaluate the effect of hemp seed meal as commercial pellet ingredients for meat rabbits
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.