Effect of substituting guinea grass with soybean hulls on production performance and digestion traits in fattening rabbits

S.M. Shang, Z.Y. Wu, G.Y. Liu, C.R. Sun, M.W. Ma, F. C. Li

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of soybean hulls (SH) to substitute guinea grass (GG), traditionally used as fibre source in the diets of fattening rabbits on performance, coefficients of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of nutrients, gastrointestinal tract development and caecum fermentation. A total of 160 mixed sex Hyla commercial meat rabbits were allocated to 4 experimental groups (40 per treatment) differing in the SH level inclusion in the diet offered to rabbits from 40 to 90 d of age: 0, 50, 100 and 200 g/kg as-fed basis: SH0, SH50, SH100 and SH200 groups, respectively. Growth performance was recorded from 40 to 90 d of age, CTTAD of nutrients from 86 to 90 d of age, and gastrointestinal tract development, caecum fermentation and carcass traits were determined at 90 d of age. Average daily feed intake and the feed/gain ratio were lower in SH100 and SH200 groups than in SH0 group (P0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that SH can substitute GG in the diets of fattening rabbits up to 200 g/kg in diet with no adverse effects on the growth performance, feed efficiency, carcass traits and meat quality.

Keywords

soybean hulls; rabbit; production performance; digestibility; gastrointestinal development; caecum fermentation

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