Length of collection period and number of rabbits in digestibility assays


  • María J. Villamide ETSI Agrónomos Ciudad Universitaria
  • María A. Ramos ETSI Agrónomos Ciudad Universitaria




The purpose of this work is to evaluate the influence of the methodology used (number of animals and length of the experiment) on the variability of digestibility coefficients, in order to propose a working guide line for these assays on rabbits. Seventeen New Zealand x Californian growing rabbits were fed a commercial diet ad libitum. After an adaptation period of 7 days, food intake and excreta were recordad daily and in periods of 2, 3 up to 1 O consecutiva days in order to determine dry matter digestibility (DMD). Variabilities of DMD coefficients among animals and among periods were studied. The variance due to animals decreased with the number of days of the collection period up to 4-day periods and then it almost stabilized. The variance due to periods followed the same pattern. Comparing these two variances it can be noted that for 1-day periods the variance due to animals was similar (only 1.11 times higher) to that due to periods, but for 4 or 5-day periods this ratio increased (2.06 and 2.63 respectively). The number of animals necessary to detect significant differences (P<0.05) of 2 points between mean values of DMD was 1 O rabbits for collection periods of 4 days, 8 rabbits for 7 days, or 7 rabbits for 1 O days. Despite the residual effects, the correlation between DM ingested/DM excretad the same day was higher (0.939) than between DM ingested one day/DM excretad the day after (0.873). The feed intake and the growth rate measured in the adaptation period had a moderate correlation (- 0.54 and - 0.48, respectively) with the DMD.


Download data is not yet available.


AUXILIA M.T., MASOERO G., 1980. Emploi du maïs­fourrage deshydraté dans l'alimentation des lapins. In : Proc. II World Rabbit Congr., Barcelona, Vol. 2, 147-156.

BLAS E., FANDO J.C., CERVERA C., GIDENNE T., PEREZ J.M., 1991. Effet de la nature de l'amidon sur l'utilisation digestive de la ration chez le lapin au cours de la croissance. 5th Jour. Rech. Cunicole, com. n º 50. Paris.

DESSIMONI R., 1984. Efecto de razas de diferentes niveles de proteína y fibra sobre la digestibilidad de nutrientes de raciones para conejos en crecimiento. Proc. III World Rabbit Congr., Rome, vol. 1, 314-322.

EVANS E., JEBELIAN v., 1982. Effects of age upon nutrient digestibility by fryer rabbits. J. Appl. Rabbit Res., 5, 8-9.

FERNANDEZ C., 1993. Efecto de la incorporación de grasa en piensos fibrosos sobre la utilización digestiva de la dieta crecimiento y calidad de la canal de conejos en cebo. PhD. Tesis. U. P., Madrid.

FRAGA Maria J., PEREZ DE AYALA P. CARABANO Rosa, DEBLAS J.C., 1991. Effect of type of fiber on the rate of passage and the contribution of soft feces to nutrient intake of finishing rabbits. J. Anim. Sci., 69, 1566-1574. https://doi.org/10.2527/1991.6941566x

LEBAS F., 1973. Variation, chez le lapin, des coefficients d'utilisation digestive de la matiere seche, de la matiere organique et de l'azote en fonction de l'age, de la race et du sexe.Ann. Biol. Anim. Bioch. Biopys., 13, 767-768 (abstract). https://doi.org/10.1051/rnd:19730438

LEBAS F., LAPLACE J.P., 1977. Le transit digestif chez le lapin. VIII, Influence de la source de cellulose. Ann. Zootech., 26, 575-584. https://doi.org/10.1051/animres:19770409

LEDIN l., 1984. Effect of restricted feeding and realimentation on compensatory growth, carcass composition and organ growth in rabbit. Ann. Zootech., 33, 33-50. https://doi.org/10.1051/animres:19840103

MAERTENS L., DE GROOTE G., 1982. Etude de la variabilité des coefficients de digestibilité des lapins suite aux différences d'age, de sexe, de race et d'origine. Rev. Agric., 35, 2787-2797.

MAERTENS L., LEBAS F., 1989. Energy evaluation of rabbit feeds and feedstuffs. A critical approach. Cuni-Sciences, 5 (2), 35-46.

MEAD R, CURNOW R.N., 1983. Statistical methods in agriculture and experimental biology. Chapman and Hall, New-York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-2951-8

PARTRIDGE G., 1980. The effect of ages on fibre digestion in the rabbits. In : Proc. II World Rabbit Congr., Barcelona, vol. 2, 29-36. https://doi.org/10.1051/animres:19800409


SAS., 1986. SAS User's Guide : Statistics. SAS Inst., Cary, N.C., USA.

VILLAMIDE Maria J., FRAGA Maria J., DEBLAS J.C., 1991. Effect of type of basal diet and rate of inclusion on the evaluation of protein concentrates with rabbits. Anim. Prod., 52, 215-224. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003356100005869

XICCATO G., CINETTO M., 1988. Effect of nutritive level and of age on feed digestibility and nitrogen balance in rabbit. In : Proc. IV World Rabbit Congr, Budapest, vol. 3, 96-104.

XICCATO G., CINETTO M., DALLE ZOTTE A., 1992. Effeto del livello nutritivo e della categoria di conigli sull'efficienza digestiva e sul bilancio azotato. Zoot. Nutr. Anim., 18, 35-43.