Feeding ryegrass hay to growing rabbits, a note
Digestibility of ryegrass hay (18% crude protein and 18.9% crude fibre) was determined with 11 three-way crossbred New Zealand x Californian growing rabbits, using a 95% ryegrass diet +2% animal fat and 3% amino-acids, vitamins and minerals. Amino acids composition of diet and of the ryegrass was given. With the same diet, twenty-eight rabbits were used from 42 to 70 days of age to study the growth performance and carcass parameters. The ryegrass hay used in the present work showed high digestible energy (10.3 MJ kg1 DM) and digestible protein (119 g kg1 DM) contents. Average daily gain, feed intake and live weight at 70 days were 36.7 g day1, 111 g DM day-1 and 2042 g, respectively. Sex did not affect any of the carcass values. Weights of full gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidney fat were 504, 73 and 6.9 g. In conclusion, growth rate, feed conversion ratio (3.02 g g-1 DM) and dressing percentage (53.3%) were satisfactory when this high forage diet was used.
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