Suckling rabbit digestibility: effect of the age at introduction of a starter feed - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2021

Suckling rabbit digestibility: effect of the age at introduction of a starter feed

Abstract

Early feeding in the nest is a promising biomimetic strategy to improve gut health and prevent digestive diseases. To formulate adequate starter feed, it is essential to determine the nutritional values of the preweaning diets. However, the assessment of suckling rabbits' digestion is challenging since the kits are raised together with their mother along with the fact that gut morphology and functionalities are deeply changing during the transition from milk to solid feed. To study the digestive capacity of the young rabbits, a 15-days digestibility trial was performed from 21 days of age to weaning on rabbits provided with early feeding or not. A mother-litter separate feeding system with controlled suckling was used to monitor intake and faecal excretion of 20 litters. All the litters had access to pellet feeds from 15 days. A starter feed in a form of a gel was provided as early as 3 days of age to half of the litters. Gut development dynamics and milk intake were taken into account to adjust faecal digestibility calculations. Digestibility coefficients of dry matter, crude protein, gross energy, and fibre fractions (NDF, ADF, Hemicelluloses) were high between 21 and 24 days (64%, 72%, 68%, 44%, 37% and 55%, respectively) and were followed by a decrease between 25 and 27 days (-16%,-10%,-16%,-32%,-37%,-7%). Starter feed supplementation did not modify faecal digestibility. Our original data revealed a short period where digestive capacity of the rabbit seemed to be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of dry matter in the gut. This could be implemented in the future for pre-weaning feed formulation.
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Dates and versions

hal-03645260 , version 1 (19-04-2022)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-03645260 , version 1

Cite

Charlotte Paes, Thierry Gidenne, Carole Bannelier, K. Bebin, Joël Duperray, et al.. Suckling rabbit digestibility: effect of the age at introduction of a starter feed. 12th World Rabbit Congress, Nov 2021, Nantes, France. ⟨hal-03645260⟩
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