Rabbit milk

A review of quantity, quality and non-dietary affecting factors

L. Maertens, F. Lebas, Z. Szendrő

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This literature review focuses on the milk yield and milk composition of rabbits and the non-nutritional factors affecting both quantity and quality. Actual highly efficient hybrid does have an average daily milk yield of 250 g or 60 g/kg of live weight during the 4-weeks lactation period. However, compared with cow and sow milk, rabbit's milk is much more concentrated in fat (12.9 g/100 g), protein (12.3 g/100 g) and energy (8.4 MJ/kg) which explains the extremely rapid growth of the young (weight x 6 after 3 weeks). Characteristic of rabbit milk is also the nearly absence of lactose (0.75) exceeds even those of Holstein milk cows. The non-nutritional factors having the largest impact on the milk yield are the number of suckling kits, the parity order (primiparous vs. multiparous) and the gestation overlapping degree (rapid decline after 17-20 days of gestation). However, also through the reduction of feed intake, heat stress has a detrimental impact especially when the night temperature remains above 25°C. Rabbit milk lipids are highly saturated (70.4% SFA) due to the high content of C8:0 - C12:0 (50% of total FA) and further characterised by nearly equal quantities of oleic and linoleic acid and an ω-6/ω-3 ratio around 4. Finally some data about the amino acid, milk proteins including the immmunoglobulins, mineral and vitamin composition are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-230
Number of pages26
JournalWorld Rabbit Science
Volume14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

Fingerprint

rabbits
milk
milk yield
pregnancy
sow milk
milk proteins
night temperature
parity (reproduction)
milk composition
suckling
milk fat
lactose
oleic acid
heat stress
linoleic acid
vitamins
Holstein
dairy cows
lactation
feed intake

Keywords

  • Affecting factors
  • Milk
  • Quality
  • Quantity
  • Rabbit
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Rabbit milk : A review of quantity, quality and non-dietary affecting factors. / Maertens, L.; Lebas, F.; Szendrő, Z.

In: World Rabbit Science, Vol. 14, No. 4, 10.2006, p. 205-230.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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