An in vivo digestibility trial and a fattening trial were carried out to evaluate the potential dietary use of a dehydrated Ceratitis capitata exhausted diet (CED) on growing rabbits. For the digestibility trial, 2 pelleted diets were manufactured including 0 and 50% of dry matter (DM), excluding the premix, from CED (CED0 and CED50 diets, respectively), using 10 three-way crossbred rabbits of 42 days of age per diet. For the fattening trial, 3 almost iso-energetic, iso-protein and iso-fibrous pelleted diets were manufactured including 0, 15 and 30% of DM from CED (CED0, CED15 and CED30 diets, respectively), and offered to 180 weaned rabbits (60 per experimental diet) randomly housed in collective cages (5 animals per cage). Health status and performance traits were monitored from 28 to 58 days of age. CED was characterised by high water content (51%), but its DM was rich in fibre (15% ADF), high-digestible carbohydrates (27% of soluble sugars) and protein (17% of CP). The lysine (0.94% DM) and methionine (0.93% DM) contents of CED were similar to those observed for some common vegetal protein concentrates, but cysteine content was low (0.26% DM). The dietary inclusion of CED at 50% increased DM, organic matter and gross energy apparent digestibility coefficients (approx. +8%; P<0.001), but decreased CP digestibility (-4%; P<0.001). CED can be considered as a high energy feedstuff (14.1 MJ DE/kg DM) with medium digestible protein (119 g/kg DM). The dietary inclusion of CED at 15% did not affect mortality rate of the animals, but its inclusion at 30% was related with higher mortality (+6.6%). Growing rabbits presented a similar DM intake with CED0 and CED15 diets throughout the fattening period (97 g/d), but rabbits given a higher dietary inclusion of CED (CED30) presented lower DM feed intake (-6 g/d; P<0.05), and daily gain (-4 g/d; P<0.05). Thus, CED have an adequate nutritive value to be used in the formulation of rabbit diets, showing similar final performance traits to a commercial diet when it was included at 15% DM, although a reduction in the health status of the animals under Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy conditions was observed at greater inclusion levels.
Rabbit; Ceratitis capitata; growth; digestibility; health