Relative efficiency of local meal concentrate and pelleted feed for fattening rabbits in tropical conditions. interaction with rabbit's origin


  • M. Kpodekon Université Nationale du Bénin
  • F. Lebas INRA
  • A.Y. Djago College Polytechnique Universitaire
  • P. Coudert INRA



Two-day-old suckling rabbits of a selected strain (NZW) imported from a temperate country (France) were suckled in a tropical country (Benin) by does of the local strain (CECURI). The growth performance of the imported and native rabbits was compared after weaning at 31 days, in a 8 weeks fattening trial. Four groups were constituted: 2 x 24 weanlings of each strain were fed either with the local feed (coarsely ground meal + green forage) or with a balanced pelleted diet imported from France. No morbidity was observed during the trial. NZW and CECURI rabbits had the same growth rate when fed pelleted feed: 29.6 and 28.5 g/day respectively. This performance was only 10 to 22% lower than in temperate countries and the main reason was a lowered feed consumption in relation to temperature. The growth rate of CECURI rabbits fed on the local feed was lower than that of the group of the same strain fed on pelleted diet. The difference was only 18 % and mainly carne from a lower dry matter intake (72.5 vs 84.7 g/day for pellets) The imported strain had difficulties of adaptation not to the climate but to the local feed. His growth rate was only 19.4 g/day vs 23.4 g/day for the local rabbits receiving the same feed. A potential effect of the early chemosensory experience (during both gestation and first suckling) of the imported strain is discussed. In their conclusion, the authors emphasised that neither the climate, nor the feed presentation can explain the very low growth rates (10 to 15 g/day) too frequently mentioned in the literature for post weaning growth experiments conducted with New Zealand rabbits raised in tropical conditions.


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