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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Production

Influence of feeding strategy and diet for reproductive rabbit does on intake, performances, and health of young and females before and after weaning1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 94 No. 11, p. 4848-4859
    Received: May 27, 2016
    Accepted: Aug 29, 2016
    Published: October 27, 2016

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. T. Read*†,
  2. S. Combes*,
  3. T. Gidenne*,
  4. N. Destombes,
  5. K. Bébin,
  6. E. Balmisse§ and
  7. L. Fortun-Lamothe 2*
  1. * GenPhySE, Université de Toulouse, INRA, INPT, INP-ENVT, Castanet Tolosan, France, 31326
     Terrena, La Noëlle, BP 20199, Ancenis, France, 44155
     Groupe CCPA, ZA du Bois de Teillay, Quartier du Haut-Bois, Janzé, France, 35150
    § PECTOUL, INRA, Castanet-Tolosan, France, 31326


This study aimed to determine the influences of feeding strategy and diet for reproductive females on feed intake, BW, reproductive performances, and milk composition and their effects on kit performances from birth (d 0) to 70 d of age (d 70). A total of 133 does followed for 3 reproductive cycles and their offspring, 2,322 kits from 236 litters, were divided into 3 experimental groups that differed only by the diet offered to the doe. Three experimental diets were used: a reproduction (Repro) diet (11.01 MJ DE/kg, 24.0 g lipids/kg, 161 g starch/kg, and 343 g/kg NDF), a lactation (Lact) diet (11.88 MJ DE/kg, 49.0 g lipids/kg, 161 g starch/kg, and 302 g/kg NDF), and a fattening (Fatt) diet (9.73 MJ DE/kg, 23.0 g lipids/kg, 70 g starch/kg, and 415 g/kg NDF). In group RR, does received feed Repro throughout the study (d 0 to 42 of each cycle). In group RF, does received diet Repro from d 0 to 25 and d 35 to 42 and diet Fatt from d 25 to 35. In group LR, does received diet Lact from d 0 to 25 and diet Repro from d 25 to 42. Kits in all groups received diet F from d 18 to 70, where intake was restricted from d 35 to 63. Doe BW was similar throughout the study (4,495 g; P > 0.05). Doe feed intake differed only from weaning to the subsequent kindling (+7.8% in group RF; P = 0.042). Reproductive performances were similar, except for litter weight at birth (+3.6% in group LR; P = 0.029). From d 0 to 25, a negative energy balance was observed in does yet most markedly in group LR (−8.61 MJ vs. −3.15 and −2.39 for groups RF and RR, respectively; P < 0.01). Milk intake per kit was greater in group LR than in the other 2 groups at 17 d (+14.5%; P < 0.001) and 23 d (+14.9%; P < 0.05). Kit BW was highest in group LR at 18 and 25 d (+10.1% and +8.2%, respectively; P < 0.01), but no difference was observed at 35 or 70 d (P > 0.05). Feed intake per kit from d 18 to 25 was greater in groups RR and RF than in group LR (+26%; P < 0.001) and greater in group RF than in group LR from d 25 to 35 (+8%; P < 0.05). Feed intake, when fed ad libitum (63 to 70 d), was similar in all groups (P = 0.292). Kit mortality before weaning was similar in all groups (8.1%; P > 0.05) but was lowest in group RF after weaning compared to groups RR and LR (1.7 vs. 4.8 and 5.8%, respectively; P < 0.001). Our results suggest that stimulating milk production through the incorporation of fat at the beginning of lactation offers few benefits for females and had a negative effect on early solid feed intake, which could explain animal health after weaning.

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