Challenges in rabbit doe feeding, including the young doe




body condition, Lactation, Nutritional requirements, Rabbit does, Rearing


In this review is summarized the last knowledge on rabbit doe nutrition, to complement the current nutritional requirements and strategies for the young and adult rabbit does, considering the production, health, and welfare issues. The rabbit doe must reach an adequate maturity level (body condition) at first artificial insemination (AI) to face its productive life with minimal guarantees (around 7.0 mm of perirenal fat thickness, 2.8 ng/mL of plasma leptin concentration and around 18% and 15-20% of body protein and fat, respectively). This goal can be achieved by restricting feed intake from 12 weeks of age until first AI or feeding ad libitum with a fibrous diet (<10.5 MJ digestible energy/kg) from 60 d of age to first parturition. Once the doe is reproducing, the increase of the n-3 fatty acids (or reduction of the n-6/n-3 ratio), soluble fibre (under epizootic enteropathy) and the Arg/Lys and Gln/Lys ratios may help to improve the reproductive traits of rabbit does, although their optimal level of inclusion remain to be identified. It is recommended to limit an excessive negative energy balance before parturition, and the supplementation of glucose precursors to reduce the ketosis incidence could be useful. The formulation of different diets for the doe and the litter to fit better their requirements and assuring their health would be an option to consider when it would be applicable in the farm. The influence of the mother on the litter microbiota and immune status and its potential modulation through the diet open a new research area that will deserve more studies in the next future.


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Author Biographies

Eugenio Martínez-Paredes, Universitat Politècnica De València

Instituto De Ciencia y Tecnología Animal

Nuria Nicodemus, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Departamento de Producción Agraria, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas

Juan José Pascual, Universitat Politècnica De València

Instituto De Ciencia y Tecnología Animal

Javier García, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas


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