Dehydrated chicory pulp as an alternative soluble fibre source in diets for growing rabbits

L. Maertens, H. Guermah, A. Trocino

Abstract

Soluble fibre (SF) is an important nutrient to enhance fermentative activity and gut health in rabbits. The main source of SF in rabbit diets is sugar beet pulp (SBP), whereas, due to its high content of SF (34%), dried chicory pulp (ChP) could be an alternative to SBP. In a fattening trial with 192 hybrid weanlings 32 d old weighing 837±45 g, chicory pulp was used in replacement of SBP to study effects on production performances and slaughter characteristics. Rabbits were fed one of 4 iso-energetic (9.65 MJ digestible energy/kg) and isonitrogenous (15.6% crude protein) diets: a negative control (NC) diet with a low dietary SF content (7.3%), a positive control diet with quite a high SBP level (13.5%) and SF content (10.6%) and 2 diets with respectively 10% and 20% of chicory pulp (ChP10: 9.9% SF and ChP20: 13.7% SF). The SF content was measured as the difference between total dietary fibre and neutral detergent fibre, the latter corrected for ash and protein content. Each dietary treatment consisted of 12 replicates of 4 rabbits. Weight gain was high (on av. 54 g/d) and comparable for the NC, SBP and ChP diets. However, feed conversion ratio was improved (P<0.05) with the ChP20 diet compared to the NC diet (2.88 vs. 2.97). Mortality was low and not influenced by the dietary treatment. Slaughter data were very similar and no effect of the SF level on caecal weight or slaughter yield was observed. It was concluded that chicory pulp is a good alternative soluble fibre source in balanced diets for rabbits and can be used at least up to 20% inclusion rate.

Keywords

rabbit; soluble fibre; chicory pulp; sugar beet pulp

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References

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