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Early solid additional feeding of suckling rabbits from 3 to 15 days of age

  • L. Kacsala (a1), Zs. Szendrő (a1), Zs. Gerencsér (a1), I. Radnai (a1), M. Kovács (a1), R. Kasza (a1), I. Nagy (a1), M. Odermatt (a2), T. Atkári (a2) and Zs. Matics (a1)...


Studies have shown that nutrient requirement of suckling kits is not satisfied, but they can be fed a double quantity of milk (double nursing) resulting in improved BW and weight gain. The aim of our trials was to give additional solid feed during the early suckling period (3 to 15 days of age) when rabbit kits drink exclusively milk. Two experiments were conducted with animals from Pannon Rabbit Breeding Program. In experiment 1 (n=77 does, 734 kits) the does received commercial feed (C) or C pellet supplemented with 0.2 g powdered thyme/kg (CT). Within both dietary groups of the does three groups of litters were formed: no additional solid creep feeding (N); soya bean-based pellet (S); S pellet with 1% added powdered thyme (ST). In group S and ST, cylinder-shaped solid pellets were made. At the beginning (3 days of age) two pieces of pellets were placed daily into the nestbox after nursing. Later on it was increased to six pellets till 15 days of age. The kits consumed the additional solid feed (S and ST), however, it did not affect the BW, weight gain or survival. In experiment 2 (n=30 does, 240 kits) all does consumed commercial feed. The additional feed for kits was based on commercial piglet feed. Three groups were formed: the litters in control group were fed no additional solid feed (K), kits were fed additionally with pellets (8 mm of diameter) based on piglet feed powder, pellet adhesive and water (PI), and extra glycerin powder was added to the mixture of piglet feed powder and water (PG). The experiment lasted from the age of 3 days till 21 days. At the beginning six pellets were placed on the nest material. Later on the amount was gradually increased to 24 pellets till age of 15 days. The kits consumed the pellets. The BW of PI group differed from group PG at age of 5, 9, 12 and 21 days by +7.3%, +6.5%, +5.9%, +4.8%, respectively (P<0.05) and from group K at age of 12 days by +5.9% (P< 0.05). The differences were more expressed at age of 16 and 19 days in favour of group PI (from K by +7.1%, +6.9% and from PG by +5.9%, +5 8%, respectively, P<0.01) and at 21 days of age (from K by +6.2%, P<0.01). To find appropriate composition of creep feed for kits further studies are needed.


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Early solid additional feeding of suckling rabbits from 3 to 15 days of age

  • L. Kacsala (a1), Zs. Szendrő (a1), Zs. Gerencsér (a1), I. Radnai (a1), M. Kovács (a1), R. Kasza (a1), I. Nagy (a1), M. Odermatt (a2), T. Atkári (a2) and Zs. Matics (a1)...


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