Nutritive value of sun-dried common reed (Phragmites australis) leaves and its effect on performance and carcass characteristics of the growing rabbit

S.A. Kadi, M. Ouendi, C. Bannelier, M. Berchiche, T. Gidenne


The nutritive value and potential use of sun-dried common reed (Phragmites australis) leaves (CRL), for growing rabbits was studied by comparing 3 diets (regression method) containing an increasing incorporation rate of CRL: 0% (control, CRL0), 15% (CRL15) and 30% (CRL30) in substitution for the control diet (356 g neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and 197 g crude protein (CP)/kg). Three groups of 37 rabbits (individually caged) were fed the 3 diets ad libitum from weaning (35 d, mean weight: 722±142 g) to 77 d of age. The faecal digestibility of the diets was measured between 42 and 46 d of age in 10 rabbits per group. CRL can be considered high-fibre roughage, as it contained 64% of NDF (38% of ADF and 10% ADL) and 10.2% of CP. The digestible energy (DE) content of CRL calculated by regression was null (–1.8±0.29 MJ/kg as fed). CP digestibility reached 29%, corresponding to a digestible crude protein concentration of 29.0±5.6 g/kg as fed basis. The fibre digestibility was reduced with CRL incorporation. Dietary incorporation of CRL impaired the rabbit growth (34.2 vs. 31.5 g/d during the period 35-77 d without CRL or with CRL (CRL15 and CRL30), respectively; P=0.002). Consequently, feed conversion was impaired with the high incorporation rate in feed (30%). Health status or main slaughter traits were not affected by CRL incorporation rate. Thus, the sun-dried common reed leaves had a poor nutritive value for growing rabbits and it can be considered a high-fibre feedstuff, interesting to supply low digested fibres (cellulose) and lignin.


growing rabbit; digestion; common reed leaves; growth performance; nutritive value

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