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Effect of substitution of starch for fiber and fat in isoenergetic diets on nutrient digestibility and reproductive performance of rabbits



Effect of substitution of starch for fiber and fat in isoenergetic diets on nutrient digestibility and reproductive performance of rabbits



Journal of Animal Science 73(4): 1131-1137



The optimal level of starch in diets for rabbit does was investigated. Five isoenergetic and isoproteic diets containing 26.6, 24.6, 19.0, 16.8, or 13.0% starch and 31.2, 33.4, 36.0, or 41.2% NDF, respectively (DM basis), were made by substitution of starch for NDF and fat. The effect of diet on nutrient digestibility was determined in fattening and nonlactating and lactating adult does using a total of 105 rabbits. Increasing dietary starch content linearly increased (P < .001) DM, GE, CP ( P = .07), and starch digestibilities but decreased (P < .001) NDF digestibility. Nutrient digestibility was higher (P < .05), except for CP, in adult does than in fattening rabbits. Dry matter and GE digestibilities were higher (P = .08) for nonlactating than for lactating does. A lactation trial using 440 rabbit does was conducted over a 6-mo experimental period. Milk production and milk composition were measured in 70 lactations. A decrease in dietary starch content did not improve pup mortality before weaning but impaired (linear, P < .001) dry feed intake and pup growth from 21 d until weaning. Diet did not influence does' feed intake, milk DM, ether extract, and CP contents or prolificacy. However, diet had quadratic effects on milk production (P = .15), milk lactose content (P = .07), parturition interval (P = .02), and feed conversion efficiency (P = .02), expressed both per weight or number of pups weaned. Optimal values were reached for dietary starch and NDF contents at approximately 20 and 35.5% (DM basis), respectively. Deviations of one percentage unit above or below this optimum implied an impairment of approximately 1% for all these traits.

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Accession: 002604978

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PMID: 7628957



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