A feeding programme for young rabbit does based on lucerne


  • J.J. Pascual Universitat Politècnica de València
  • C. Cervera Universitat Politècnica de València
  • J. Fernández-Carmona Universitat Politècnica de València




A feeding programme for young rabbit does based on a high fibrous diet was evaluated in the present work, using 46 crossbred does of 70 days of age. Two diets, control (C) and a high fibre diet (F) formulated almost exclusively with luceme (96%), were compared. Young does in F group received F diet ad libitum until first parturition, while does in C group received C diet ad libitum until 3 kg live weight and then were restricted to 150 g per day. As of parturition, C diet was offered ad libitum to both groups until the end of the experiment. Up to 3 kg live weight, does given C diet had higher DE (P<0.001) intake and greater daily weight gain (P<0.001) than those fed F diet. C does weighed 3 kg and had the first parturition earlier than F does (18 and 7.6 days, respectively). F does ingested more food (P<0.001) during lactation, produced more milk (P<0.01) and weaned heavier litters (P<0.01) than C does, but litter size at birth and the number of pups replaced during lactation was not affected by diet. Maintaining these two groups for two years with the same reproduction schedule, no significant differences were detected in parturition interval, litter size at birth and litter size and weaning between them, although the figures related to F group were in general slightly better.


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