A technical note on artificial milk feeding of rabbit kits weaned at 14 days

 F.A. Ferguson, S.D. Lukefahr, J.I. McNitt


The effect of early weaning on kit growth and survival performance using an artificial milk feeding regimen was investigated. New Zealand Whlte kits (n = 191) from 23 litters were either naturally or artificially fed a mili< diet. The artificial milk diet (A) consisted of a commercial milk replacer which was fed from days 15 to 21, following weaning at 14 d postpartum. Control litters (C) nursed their dams until d 28 when they were weaned. From 15 to 21 d, half of the amount of milk consumed by e kits at the same age was fed to A kits via a stomach tube. Both C and A kit body weights (BW) were recorded weekly from O to 70 d. Litter variables measured on a weekly basis included O to 70 d litter size (LS), 28 to 70 d total feed intake (FI), and market weight unlformity (coefficient of variation in BW among littermates, CV). Least squares modela for individual kit and litter traits consisted of diet treatment (n, litter within T, weeks of age (W), T'W interaction, and residual error. No initial (14 d) treatment differences existed for LS, LW or CV (P>0.05). From weekly BW analyses, C fryers were heavier at 70 d of age than A fryers by 0.20 kg (P < 0.05). The LS at 70d was numerically but not significantly larger for C than A litters (6.83 vs 5.75 kits, respectively). There was no significant treatment difference for CV at 70 d (8.30 and 7.72% for C and A, respectively). Total FI was numerically lower for A than C (29.16 and 25.83 kg, respectively). From a contingency x analysis, survival rate from 14 to 70 d (86.2 and 93.8% in A and e lltters) was independent of treatment (P>0.05). Artificial feeding of kits is technically possible, although this method may not be economically feasible. In addition to the observed decrease in growth and survival performance, the high cost of artificial milk and the degree of skill involved are limltations of this method. Despite our negative preliminary resulta, this potential application warrants further Investigation.

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1. Comparison of Rabbit, Kitten and Mammal Milk Replacer Efficiencies in Early Weaning Rabbits
Panthiphaporn Chankuang, Achira Linlawan, Kawisara Junda, Chittikan Kuditthalerd, Tuksaorn Suwanprateep, Attawit Kovitvadhi, Pipatpong Chundang, Pornchai Sanyathitiseree, Chaowaphan Yinharnmingmongkol
Animals  vol: 10  issue: 6  first page: 1087  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/ani10061087


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011   https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs