Rabbit meat production can be made more profitable by double nursing of the youngs and early weaning. However, adaptation to solid food after double suckling may result in inbalanced caecal microflora (dysbiosis). The effect of double nursing and early weaning on the development of the caecal microflora in rabbits was examined. In the 1st experiment Pannon White rabbits were reared either traditionally, e.g. suckling once a day and weaned on the 35st day (group E), or nursed twice a day by two does and weaned also on the 35th day (group K). After birth beside suckling the youngs got commercial non medicated feed (16.8% crude protein, 2.9% crude fat, 14.1% crude fiber and 10.3 MJ/kg DE) supplemented with barley and hay. In the 2nd experiment rabbits suckled once a day from birth until weaning at the age of 35 days and were allowed to adapt to solid feed at a normal pace (E35), or suckled twice a day by two does from birth until weaning at the age of 21 (K21) or 35 days (K35), respectively. The young rabbits were fed only on barley and hay, which were available ad libitum from the 18th day after birth. In the 1st experiment pH value of the caecal chyme was lower in E rabbits on the 23rd day, probably due to the earlier solid feed consumption. In the 2nd experiment pH decreased rapidly and stayed at a lower value in K21 rabbits, which could also be explained by the early weaning and early adaptation to solid feed. Neither suckling, nor early weaning had any significant effect on the aerob and anaerob germ counts. It can be supposed, that this is influenced mainly by age. Bacteroides compose the main flora of rabbits. They could be found in the caecum in a large amount (109) already on the 1st week after birth. No significant differences between groups could be detected. The number of coliforms was higher in rabbits nursed twice, and showed a temporary increase around weaning.
|Translated title of the contribution||Effect of double nursing and early weaning on development of caecal microflora of the rabbit|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Magyar Allatorvosok Lapja|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2002|
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