Pomegranate peel as a natural antioxidant enhanced reproductive performance and milk yield of female rabbits

H.S. Zeweil, Y.M. Elgindy

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the effects of dietary pomegranate peel (PP; 9.61% crude protein and 13.1% crude fibre) on reproductive performance and milk yield of heat-stressed rabbit does. Forty-eight V-line rabbit does with average initial live body weight of 3.59±0.11 kg (2nd parity; 9 mo old) were divided into 4 treatment  roups (12 does per group). The first group was fed diet free of PP. The second, third and fourth groups were fed diets containing 0.75, 1.5 and 3.0% PP, respectively, included in substitution of clover hay from the basal diet. Feed of the 4 groups was free of added antioxidants. The studied traits were: kindling rate, gestation period, litter size, litter weight, kit weight at both birth and weaning (28 d of lactation) for the last 3 parameters, pre-weaning mortality and milk yield. Range of temperatures and relative humidity during the experimental period in the rabbitry varied between 27.5-33.5°C and 64-76%, respectively. The inclusion of PP quadratically affected litter size at birth (P<0.001) and weaning (P<0.01), as well as milk yield (P<0.001). However, it tended to reduce the kit milk intake in most lactation periods (P=0.078), leading to a linear reduction in individual kit weight at weaning (P=0.060). In conclusion, supplementations of PP in the diet of does during summer season in Egypt can improve their productivity.


Keywords

pomegranate peel; antioxidant; heat stress; milk yield; reproductive performance; rabbit

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References

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