Nutritive value of brewers’ grain and maize silage for fattening rabbits

H. Guermah, L. Maertens, M. Berchiche

Abstract

Specific knowledge of the nutritive value of raw materials is fundamental to formulate balanced diets for rabbits and allows greater use of by-products and non-conventional feedstuffs. This paper examines the feeding value of sun-dried brewers’ grain and maize silage (whole plant) for fattening rabbits. Twenty-four individually caged 8-wk-old rabbits were used to determine the digestibility. Both wet products were sun-dried and ground before being incorporated into a basal diet. The inclusion level at the expense of all basal ingredients amounted to 30%. Basal diet and both experimental diets were fed ad libitum to 8 rabbits during the 4-d balance trial. The determined digestibility of protein, fat, crude fibre and neutral detergent fibre digestibility amounted to 76.2 and 77.2%; 86.5 and 99.1%; 8.1 and 8.3% and 28.0 and 13.5%, respectively, for brewers’ grain and maize silage. The digestible energy content amounted to 11.66 MJ/kg dry matter (DM) (brewers’ grain) and 11.10 MJ/kg DM (maize silage). Both by-products have potential as alternative feedstuff in rabbit diets. However, further experiments are necessary to determine the effect of ensilaging the whole maize plant, as a significantly lower (P<0.001) feed intake was observed.


Keywords

fattening rabbit; brewers’ grain; maize silage; digestibility; nutritive value

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