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Consequences of nutritional programs and feeding strategies on growth traits, reproductive performance and mortality in rabbits

Never Assan


Nutritional programs and feeding patterns accounts for major production costs in a commercial rabbit enterprise. A successful rabbit enterprise is characterized by high feed consumption and adequate balanced essential nutrients to sustain the elevated nutritional requirements in support of intense productive animals. Rabbits improved growth pattern, efficient reproductive capacity and minimal kit mortality are closely associated with adequate nutrition. Enough energy dietary provision is required to mediate the nutrients metabolism for high production, while the protein component is the key factor in fueling tissue accretion (meat). In addition to energy and protein requirement, inclusion of dietary fiber is essential mainly because of its effects on the digestive transit and promotion of hind gut microbial activity where volatile fatty acids with high quality microbial protein can be recycled through caecotrophy benefiting the host animal. Inadequate dietary protein, energy and fiber levels have been associated with negative consequences on growth, reproduction and increased mortality. The nutritional value of feed resources and their constituents must be precisely balanced for optimum productive and reproductive performance to grantee economic viability and sustainability of a rabbit enterprise. On the other hand, any alternative feedstuff that might reduce variable costs are beneficial to the producer because apart from viability and sustainability can enhance profit margins in the long run. This implies that due to scarcity and the prohibitive cost of the commonly used classical dietary protein sources in feed industry, chemical evaluation of available non-conventional feedstuff as potential sources of rabbits feed is crucial, if profits are going to be realized in commercial rabbit production, especially in developing countries. The preceding review looks at the effects of nutrition on growth traits, reproductive performance and mortality in rabbits.


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