Effect of diet supplementation with live yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) on performance of rabbit does and their progenies
A study was conducted to determine the effect of live yeast supplementation in the diet of rabbit does on their mortality and reproductive performance and the performance of their progeny. A total of 52 cross-bred rabbit does (New Zealand×Californian) were divided into 2 groups differing in diet offered during 2 reproductive cycles and containing (group S; n=26) or not (group C; n=26) 1 g of yeast (Actisaf Sc 47, S.I. LESAFFRE, France)/kg of feed. Natural mating was performed 11 d after kindling and kits were weaned at 28 d of age. Body weight of litters was measured at birth, 21 d and at 28 d of age (weaning). Mortality of kits and rabbit does was monitored daily, and fertility of rabbit does and viability rate of kits at birth were also determined. Weight and litter size at birth and at weaning, litter weight gain during lactation and length of gestation were similar between the 2 groups during the 2 cycles. The mortality of does during the experiment was higher in group C than in group S (27 vs. 4%; P<0.05). Fertility rate of rabbits does and viability rate of kits at birth were higher (P<0.05) in rabbits fed with the supplemented diet than those with the control diet during the second lactation. In the first cycle, kit mortality was lower in S group (15.5%) than the C group (24.7%) during the first 21 d (P<0.05). However, no difference was observed during the second lactation. In conclusion, our results suggest that the inclusion of yeast in the diet of rabbit does could trigger positive effects on the fertility and mortality of rabbit does, as well as on the viability rate of kits at birth.
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