Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

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)...

Abstract

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.

Copyright

Corresponding author

E-mail: matics.zsolt@ke.hu

References

Hide All
Altbäcker, V, Hudson, R and Bilkó, Á 1995. Rabbit-mothers’ diet influences pups’ later food choice. Ethology 99, 107116.
Combes, S, Gidenne, T, Cauquil, L, Bouchez, O and Fortun-Lamothe, L 2014. Coprophagous behaviour of rabbit pups affects implantation of cecal microbiota and health status. Journal of Animal Science 92, 652665.
Davies, JS, Widdowson, EM and McCane, RA 1964. The intake of milk and the retention of its constituents while the newborn rabbit doubles its weight. British Journal of Nutrition 18, 385392.
Drewett, R, Kendrick, K, Sanders, D and Trew, A 1982. A quantitative analysis of the feeding behaviour of suckling rabbits. Developmental Psychobiology 15, 2532.
Gidenne, T, Lebas, F and Fortun-Lamothe, L 2010. Feeding behaviour of rabbits. In Nutrition of the rabbit (ed. C de Blas and J Wiseman), pp. 233252. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.
González-Mariscal, G 2007. Mother rabbits and their offspring: timing is everything. Developmental Psychobiology 49, 7176.
Gyarmati, T, Szendrő, Zs, Maertens, L, Biró-Németh, E, Radnai, I, Milisits, G and Matics, Zs 2000. New possibilities of raising rabbit young by alternative nursing methods. Poljoprivreda 6, 136139.
Hudson, R and Distel, H 1982. The pattern of behaviour of rabbit pups in the nest. Behaviour 79, 255271.
Jilge, B, Kuhnt, B and Landerer, W 2000. Circadian thermoregulation in suckling rabbit pups. Journal of Biological Rhythms 15, 329335.
Kovács, M, Szendrő, Zs, Milisits, G, Biró-Németh, E, Radnai, I, Pósa, R, Bónai, A, Kovács, F and Horn, P 2006. Effect of nursing method and faeces consumption on the development of bacteroides, lactobacillus and coliform flora in the caecum of the newborn rabbits. Reproduction Nutrition Development 46, 205210.
Lebas, F 1975. Le Lapin de chair, ses besoins nutritionnels et son alimentation pratique. ITAVI, Paris, France. pp. 1–50.
Maertens, L, Lebas, F and Szendrő, Zs 2006. Rabbit milk: a review of quantity, quality and non-dietary affecting factors. World Rabbit Science 14, 205230.
McNitt, J and Moody, GL Jr 1988. Milk intake and growth rates of suckling rabbits. Journal of Applied Rabbit Research 11, 117119.
Morgado, E, Gordon, MK, Minana-Solis, MC, Meza, E, Levine, S, Escobar, C and Caba, M 2008. Hormonal and metabolic rhythms associated with the daily scheduled nursing in rabbit pups. American Journal of Physiology, Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295, 690695.
Retore, M, Scapinello, C, Murakami, AE, Araujo, IG, Neto, BP, Felssner, KS, Sato, J and Oliveira, AFG 2012. Nutritional evaluation of vegetable and mixed crude glycerin in the diet of growing rabbits. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 41, 333340.
Spencer, SA and Hull, D 1984. The effect of over-feeding newborn rabbits on somatic and visceral growth, body composition and long-term growth potential. British Journal of Nutrition 51, 389402.
Spencer, SA, Small, GP and Hull, D 1985. The effect of overfeeding newborn rabbits on the rate of skeletal maturation, as determined using a radiographic technique. British Journal of Nutrition 53, 233239.
Szendrő, Zs, Gyarmati, T, Maertens, L, Biró-Németh, E, Radnai, I, Milisits, G and Matics, Zs 2002. Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits. Animal Science 74, 117125.
Zarrow, MX, Denenberg, VM and Anderson, CO 1965. Rabbit: frequency of suckling in the pup. Science 150, 18351836.

Keywords

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)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed