Influence of solid feed intake and age at weaning on caecal content characteristics and post-weaning performance

 A. Nizza, C. Di Meo, G. Stanco, M.I. Cutrignelli

Abstract

This study examined the effects of the feed/milk ratio at weaning time on caecal content characteristics at weaning and on post-weaning performances. Twenty-seven primiparous New­Zealand White does were used in this study involving with standardized litters of 8 kits at birth and a mínimum of 7 kits alive at weaning. During lactation, all does were mated and fertilized 12 days after kindling. Litters were caged separately from their mother and fed according to the following scheme: Group A (n = 8), litters fed ad libitum and weaned at 35 days; Group B (n = 10) litters fed 60% ad libitum and weaned at 35 days; Group C (n = 9) litters fed ad libitum and weaned at 30 days. At weaning one animal per litter was slaughtered to study caecum characteristics, while 50 other rabbits per group were raised during 5 weeks in cages of 2 rabbits in order to evaluate post-weaning performance. At weaning, litters of Group A, besides weighing more (6141, 4693 and 4729 g in Groups A, B and C, respectively), showed as expected the highest feed/milk intake ratio (8.35, 4.05 and 1.53; P < 0.01, in Groups A, B and C, respectively). At weaning, caecal content of Group A rabbits recorded a lower pH (5.67, 6.40 and 5.97, P < 0.01, in Groups A, B and C, respectively), a lower concentration of ammonia (7.3, 10.1 and 9.5 mMol/I in Groups A, B and C, respectively) and a lower C3 proportion in VFA (5.8, 9.5 and 10.2% in Groups A, B and C, respectively). Group A also, had the highest levels of total volatile fatty acids (57.4, 51.2 and 46.0 mMol/I in the A, B and C Groups, respectively). During the fattening period, rabbits of Group A showed a higher feed intake (127, 115 and 100 g/d, P < 0.01, in Groups A, B and C, respectively) and a poorer food conversion ratio (3.50, 3.12 and 2.78 in Groups A, B and C, respectively). Weaning age also exerted sorne specific effects, for example, on caecal content weight or post-weaning daily growth rate (36.5 g/d for C rabbits weaned at 30 days and 38.2 for B rabbits weaned with the same live weight but at 35 days; P<0.05). In conclusion, the feed/milk inlake ratio al weaning influenced some characteristics of caecal contents and some post-weaning performances of rabbits.


Full Text:

PDF

Abstract Views

697
Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


 

Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. Effect of pre-weaning solid feed and milk intake on caecal content characteristics and performance of rabbits around weaning
Antonino Nizza, Giampiero Stanco, Carmelo Di Meo, Maria Laura Marongiu, Sylvie Taranto, Monica Isabella Cutrignelli, Luca Juliano
Italian Journal of Animal Science  vol: 1  issue: 2  first page: 95  year: 2002  
doi: 10.4081/ijas.2002.95



 

 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