Dried chicory root (Cichorium intybus L.) as a natural fructan source in rabbit diet: effects on growth performance, digestion and caecal and carcass traits

Zdenek Volek, Milan Marounek

Abstract

Three experimental diets were formulated including (per kg) 100 g oats (control diet), 50 g chicory root (Chicory 5 diet) or 100 g chicory root (Chicory 10 diet) at the expense of oats. The diets differed with respect to starch and fructan contents.  In the performance trial, 120 Hyplus rabbits were randomly allocated to three groups (two rabbits per cage) and fed one of the three experimental diets between 31 and 73 days of age.  At the end of the trial period, 20 rabbits per treatment were slaughtered and used for evaluation of carcass traits.  In addition, the coefficients of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of the diets and caecal traits were determined from 45 to 49 days of age in 10 rabbits per treatment.  The diets did not differ significantly in terms of weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, health status or carcass traits of rabbits.  The CTTADs of crude protein (P=0.041) and ether extract (P=0.006) were lower in rabbits fed the Chicory 10 diet than in rabbits fed the control diet.  The CTTAD of starch (P<0.001) was lower, whereas that of fructans (P<0.001) higher, in rabbits fed the diets based on chicory root.  The caecum weight (P=0.037), the weight of its contents (P=0.025) and the lactic acid (P=0.028) concentration were higher in rabbits fed the Chicory 10 diet than in control rabbits.  On the contrary, rabbits fed with the chicory diets showed lower caecal pH (P=0.048) than rabbits fed the control diet.  There was a tendency towards a lower caecal dry matter content and higher total VFA concentration in rabbits fed the chicory diets.  It may be concluded that chicory root can serve as a natural source of inulin-type fructans in rabbit feed.  Diet supplementation with 10% dried chicory root beneficially affected the caecal fermentative activity in the rabbits, without significant reductions in the nutritive value of the diet, growth performance or carcass quality.


Keywords

rabbit; diet; chicory root; digestion; caecum; growth performance

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World Rabbit Science  vol: 22  issue: 2  first page: 97  year: 2014  
doi: 10.4995/wrs.2014.1540



 

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