Use of dehydrated sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) in rabbit feeding. 2 - Effects of a high dietary incorporation on performance and health of does and growing rabbits, under a sub-optimal breeding commercial environment




dehydrated sainfoin, performance, growing rabbits, reproducing does, health status, coccidiosis, mortality


The effects of a high dietary (26%) incorporation of dehydrated sainfoin (DS) (Perly cultivar) on the performance and health of reproductive does and growing rabbits were analysed in a sub-optimal professional breeding environment (presenting previous coccidiosis), and over two non-consecutive reproductive cycles (2 replicates). Performance and health of does and growing rabbits were compared for 2 groups of 194 does and associated litters, when fed isonutritive feeds containing either 0 or 26% DS (DS0 and DS26 groups). Dietary DS incorporation had no effect on doe live weight, fertility rate, mortality, culling rate and doe coccidia excretion levels (P>0.05). In replicate 1, kit growth before weaning was similar among the two groups, but was 12% lower for the DS26 group in the 2nd replicate (significant interaction). Similarly, a significant interaction was detected between the effect of the diet and the replicate for the mortality rate of kits before weaning, i.e. a higher mortality was detected for DS26 (3.3 vs. 1.8%) in replicate 1, while in replicate 2 it was lower (2.1 vs. 4.4%). After weaning, the post-weaning growth rate was improved by 4% (P=0.02) for the DS26 group, while the mortality rate decreased (7.1 vs. 4.5%, P<0.001). Coccidia excretions of growing rabbits were not affected by dietary sainfoin or by replicates. A high incorporation of DS (26%) should be recommended after weaning to improve the performance of growing rabbits without impact on reproducing does.


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Author Biographies

Cécile Gayrard, National Research Institute for Agriculture

GenPhySE, Université de Toulouse, INRAE


Interaction Hôte-Agents Pathogènes, INRAE/ENVT

Hervé Hoste, National Research Institute for Agriculture

Interaction Hôte-Agents Pathogènes, INRAE/ENVT

Thierry Gidenne, National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment

GenPhySE, Université de Toulouse, INRAE, ENVT


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