Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
FARIA, Haroldo Garcia de et al. Performance of rabbits during lactation phase according to the litter size and starch level in the diets. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2004, vol.33, n.4, pp. 894-900. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982004000400009.
The experiment was carried out to study the influences of the feeding pattern of rabbits during the lactation phase according function of the starch level in the diets and availability of milk modulated by litter size on performance young rabbits before weaning (35 days). One hundred litters were maintained to eight rabbits at birth until the 16 day old. From 16 to 35 days old, 60 litter were reduced for four young rabbits, while the others were maintained with eight young rabbits, feeding with high (24%) or normal (15%) starch level. The litters with four young rabbits presented higher daily weight gain, independently of the analyzed intervals, and were weaned with higher weight than young rabbits maintained in more numerous litters. This effect was also observed only for young rabbits feeding diets with high starch level, from 24 days to weaning. The young rabbits maintained in more numerous litters presented the higher daily consumption of ration until 26 days of age. As young rabbits maintained in smaller litter presented superiority in the growth and the availability of milk for the does was decreased by the proximity of the end lactation, the feed intake in the final phase of lactation became the higher for the young rabbits maintained in smaller litters. The diet with high level starch showed higher feed intake, independently of the analyzed interval. The individual milk intake was the higher for young rabbits maintained in smaller litters, but no difference was observed in relation to the starch levels in diets.
Keywords : feed intake; lactation; milk intake; performance; young rabbits.