Effects of dietary protein reduction during weaning on the performance of does and suckling rabbits.
The effects of a reduction in the dietary crude protein (CP) level during the period when lactating does and suckling rabbits share the same feed (from 21 days to weaning at 35 days of age) were investigated for several performance traits. Two iso-energy diets were formulated to contain 18.4 or 16.1% CP and were each given to 55 multiparous rabbit does and their offspring during two consecutive lactation cycles. Type of diet did not affect either feed intake or performance of rabbit does (body weight, fertility, prolificacy, culling rate) and young rabbits (growth rate or mortality before weaning). Accordingly, at least in the short period examined (two reproductive cycles), protein requirements of rabbit does and young rabbits in the period from 21 to 35 days of lactation can be fulfilled using diets with lower levels of CP concentration than those used at present in standard lactation diets.
dietary protein; doe rabbits; suckling rabbits; performance
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World Rabbit Science vol: 22 issue: 3 first page: 187 year: 2014