The effects of the complete replacement of barley and soybean meal with hard wheat by-products on diet digestibility, growth and slaughter traits of a local Algerian rabbit population.
Eighty one rabbits were used to study the utilisation of hard wheat by-products on the growth of rabbits from a local Algerian population. At weaning (28 d, 501±99 g), the animals were individually caged and received ad libitum one of the three experimental diets for 49 d. The control diet included 26% wheat bran (W26: control diet), alfalfa, bar- ley and soybean meal. The two other diets were formulated by substituting barley and soybean meal with hard wheat by-products, and contained 60% (W60) or 67% (W67) of these by-products (50 or 57% bran and 10% middling). On average, diets contained 11.8% crude fi bre and crude protein decreased from 18.3 (W26) to 16.1% (W67). Growth traits and slaughter performances were recorded. Another group of thirty animals was used to determine dietary nutrient di- gestibility from 42 to 46 d of age. Dry matter digestibility and digestible energy content were lower in the W60 and W67 diets than in the control diet (W26) (71.3 and 71.5% vs. 74.9%, and 11.9 and 11.9 vs. 12.5 MJ/kg, respectively; P<0.01). In contrast, crude fi bre digestibility was lower in W26 (21.9%) than in the other two diets (29.6 and 32.2% for W60 and W67, respectively; P<0.01). The growth rates were similar for all three groups (28.0, 27.1 and 26.0 g/d for W26, W60 and W67) as were the feed conversion ratios (3.14, 3.17 and 3.10, respectively). Dressing out percentage (66.4±2.0% on average for the cold carcass) was not affected by the amount of wheat by-products in the diet. The total mortality rate was high (23%), probably corresponding to the low crude fi bre content of the three experimental diets, but was not connected to the amount of wheat by-products.
rabbit; hard wheat by-products; digestibility; growth performance; slaughter traits
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World Rabbit Science vol: 17 issue: 1 year: 2010