The experiment aimed to study the effect of Digestarom® dietary inclusion (herbal formulation containing a mixture of essential oils, herbs, spices and extracts) on apparent digestibility and digestive ecosystem of growing rabbits, as well as the effects of its supplementation before and after weaning on growth performance. At kindling, rabbit does and litters were divided into 2 dietary groups (51 does/group) and fed either a control diet (C) or a diet supplemented with 300 mg Digestarom®/kg diet (D) until weaning, which occurred at 35 d (before weaning supplementation). Each group was further divided into 3 dietary groups: CC received the control diet and DD received the D diet from 5 to 12 wk of age, and DC were fed with D (from 5 to 8 wk of age) and C diets (from 8 to 12 wk of age) (after weaning supplementation; 54 kits/group). An in vivo digestibility trial and a faecal microbial count were carried out on growing rabbits that received only the C or D diets during the trial. The C group showed higher DM intake than D group (215 vs. 196 g/d; P<0.05). The faecal digestibility of ether extract (75.9 vs. 59.8%; P<0.001), cellulose (25.9 vs. 20.6%; P<0.05) and gross energy (51.8 vs. 49.1%; P<0.05) was higher for C than for D group, whereas that of starch (98.9 vs. 98.8%; P<0.001) and the digestible protein to digestible energy ratio (13.9 vs. 13.2 g digestible protein/MJ digestible energy; P<0.01) was the highest for rabbits fed D diet. Stomach and caecal pH, caecal and faecal microbial counts were independent of the dietary treatment. The only exception was the stomach pH in 8 wk-old rabbits, which had the lowest value in C rabbits (P<0.05). The D supplementation before weaning improved feed conversion ratio throughout the growing phase (4.3 vs. 4.4 for D and C, respectively; P<0.05), whereas significant differences in daily weight gain, feed conversion ratio and mortality were observed only in the first period after weaning. Based on the results obtained, dietary supplementation with Digestarom® does not seem to confirm the positive results previously reported for growing rabbits.
- Digestarom® faecal digestibility
- Microbial count
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology