Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits

Z. Szendrő, T. Gyarmati, L. Maertens, E. Biró-Németh, I. Radnai, G. Milisits, Zs Matics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Five hundred and eighty-four Pannon White kits of 73 newborn litters were submitted to one of five treatments. Control litters (SS) were nursed once a day for 35 days post partum (traditional method of nursing). DD litters were raised by two does and the kits were nursed both in the morning and in the evening until day 35 post partum. DS litters were nursed twice a day for 23 days, and then once a day until weaning at 35 days. Part of the DS litters were nursed at 08:00 and 20:00 h (i.e. every 12 h, DS12), the rest were nursed at 08:00 and at 16:00 h (DS8). Kits of the fifth treatment (D0) were nursed twice a day until day 23, and then immediately weaned. Rabbit kits that were nursed twice a day (DD, DS12, DS8, D0) consumed on average 1.89 more milk compared with SS individuals until day 23 (overall treatment effect P <0.001). The 21-day body weight of these young was 1.7 times greater than that of the SS kits (overall P <0.001). D0 rabbits were weaned early and their growth curve showed a slight break at this point. However, they compensated for this lag by the end of the fattening period. SS rabbits and DD ones were respectively the first and the last to start consuming solid food. The food consumption of DS rabbits was similar to that of DD until day 23 and from then until day 35 it was not significantly different from that of SS. After having been weaned on day 23, D0 kits consumed only very small quantities of pellets for 2 days. Afterwards their food intake increased abruptly. Rabbits that were nursed twice a day (DD, DS12, DS8 and D0) consumed more food as compared with the SS individuals throughout the total period of fattening (157 v. 137 g/day; P <0.05). The weight at 10 weeks of age was 2.49 v. 2.88 kg (overall P <0.001), respectively for SS and double-nursed (DD, DS, D0) rabbits. Nursing twice a day did not affect dressing proportion but the proportion of the carcass in the front part of the body decreased slightly (318 v. 323 g/kg; P <0.05) while that in intermediate part increased (321 v. 307 g/kg; P <0.05). Nevertheless, rabbits that were nursed twice a day had more (P <0.05) perirenal + scapular fat and produced heavier livers. Total fat content of the empty body, however, was not significantly higher, with the one exception of the DD rabbits which had higher levels than any other group. The results of our experiment show clearly that the growth potential of rabbit kits is strongly limited by the milk availability during the first weeks post partum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Science
Volume74
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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breast feeding
rabbits
litters (young animals)
finishing
milk
food consumption
pellets
food intake
weaning
neonates
lipid content
liver
body weight
lipids

Keywords

  • Carcass composition
  • Live-weight gain
  • Rabbits
  • Suckling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Szendrő, Z., Gyarmati, T., Maertens, L., Biró-Németh, E., Radnai, I., Milisits, G., & Matics, Z. (2002). Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits. Animal Science, 74(1), 117-125.

Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits. / Szendrő, Z.; Gyarmati, T.; Maertens, L.; Biró-Németh, E.; Radnai, I.; Milisits, G.; Matics, Zs.

In: Animal Science, Vol. 74, No. 1, 2002, p. 117-125.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Szendrő, Z, Gyarmati, T, Maertens, L, Biró-Németh, E, Radnai, I, Milisits, G & Matics, Z 2002, 'Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits', Animal Science, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 117-125.
Szendrő Z, Gyarmati T, Maertens L, Biró-Németh E, Radnai I, Milisits G et al. Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits. Animal Science. 2002;74(1):117-125.
Szendrő, Z. ; Gyarmati, T. ; Maertens, L. ; Biró-Németh, E. ; Radnai, I. ; Milisits, G. ; Matics, Zs. / Effect of nursing by two does on the performance of sucking and growing rabbits. In: Animal Science. 2002 ; Vol. 74, No. 1. pp. 117-125.
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