Effect of dietary energy and protein level on performance and digestibility parameters in pregnant and in lactating rabbit does under tropical environment.


  • R. Prasad Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute
  • S.A. Karim Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute




The study was conducted on pregnant and lactating does to assess reproductive performance and digestibility of nutrients on nine groups of six does each maintained on three levels of energy (2400, 2700 and 2900 kcal DE/kg DM) and protein (15, 18 and 20%) in nine combinations. The does were maintalned on similar diets during both the phases. During gestation average temperature at 14:30 was 31.4ºC, and 40.7ºC during the lactation period. Dry matter intake of the does was only 17% higher in lactation than during gestation. Digestibility of DM, CP and energy was influenced by energy and protein concentrations of the diets both in gestation and lactation phases. ADF digestibility was not influenced (19.6% on average). During gestation phase (22"d to 281h day) does were in positive nitrogen balance (1.58 -2.53 g/d) with a body weight gain (from mating to parturition) of 0.35 - 0.44 kg, while lactating does lost weight ranging from 0.10 - 0.17 kg. The litter weight at birth was similar in does fed on diets containing variable levels of energy and protein during gestation phase (346 to 396 g) whereas litter weight at weaning (28 days) was influenced both by energy and protein levels of the diets. lt was higher (P<0.0I) on medium and high compared to low level of energy and protein. These results suggest that a diet containing 18% CP and 2700 kcal DE/kg of feed is optimum for reproductive rabbit does under tropical environment.


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