The effect of weaning age on performance and nutrient digestibility of broiler rabbits
L. Zita, E. Tůmová, V. Skřivanová, Z. Ledvinkahttps://doi.org/10.17221/2341-CJASCitation:Zita L., Tůmová E., Skřivanová V., Ledvinka Z. (2007): The effect of weaning age on performance and nutrient digestibility of broiler rabbits. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 52: 341-347.
The effect of weaning age on growth, feed consumption, digestibility of nutrients, carcass yield, mortality and parasite incidence was studied in a balance experiment. Forty Hyplus® rabbits proceeding from a commercial rabbitry were assigned to four groups of 10 rabbits according to weaning age at 25, 28, 31 and 35 days. The experimental diet had 17.03% crude protein, 4.66% fat and 18.30% crude fibre. Feed and water were available ad libitum. At the end of the experiment, at 84 days of age, six rabbits per group were slaughtered. In the experiment, most results of performance were not significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affected by weaning age. Only the rabbits weaned at 25 days of age had higher live weight (P ≤ 0.05) at the age of 35 days (996, 986, 971 and 910 g, respectively), but at the end of the experiment we did not find any differences between groups. Higher digestibility of nutrients was recorded in the second collection period. In the first collection period the digestibility of nutrients was higher in rabbits weaned at 25 days of age in comparison with the other groups. No differences between groups in the digestibility of nutrients were observed in the second period. The age of weaning did not influence carcass characteristics. Dressing percentage was insignificantly higher in rabbits weaned at 25 and 35 days of age (53.11 and 53.07%, respectively) in comparison with rabbits weaned at 28 and 31 days of age (50.89 and 52.67%, respectively). There was no significant effect of weaning age on mortality. The incidence of Eimeria ssp. was the highest after weaning in rabbits at the age of 35 days.Keywords:rabbit; early weaning; growth; carcass characteristics; nutrient digestibility; parasite incidence; mortality