Dietary factors influencing enteric disorders of rabbits Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2r36v244h

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  • An extensive literature review into the causes and controls of diarrhea was followed by three weanling rabbit performance trials to examine the influence of dietary modifications on diarrhea in the rabbit. In the first set of experiments, the ion exchangers clinoptilolite (0, 1.5 and 3.0%) and sodium bentonite (0 and 5.0%) were added to a low fiber (20% alfalfa) and high fiber (54% alfalfa) diet to examine performance and mortality of weanling rabbits. Gains, intakes, feed efficiencies and mortalities did not differ between clinoptilolite or bentonite levels. For both alfalfa levels, clinoptilolite added at 3.0% reduced mortality by 50% over the controls. Bentonite addition slightly depressed gains and intake with an increase in mortality. Rabbits preferred the non-bentonite diets 2:1 for the low fiber and 5:1 for the high fiber diets in a two choice feed preference test. In the second set of experiments, the effects of dietary alfalfa level and supplementation with copper sulfate (Cu) or oxytetracycline (TM-10) on the growth rate, feed conversion, mortality and tissue accumulation of Cu were examined. The inclusion of Cu with or without TM-10 had no effect on gains, feed efficiencies or mortality. Copper sulfate fed at 0, 50, 100, 250, or 500 ppm supplemental Cu had no effect on gains, feed efficiencies or mortality. A level of 1000 ppm supplemental Cu impaired growth performance. In the third experiment, the switching between a high (54% alfalfa) and low (20% alfalfa) fiber diet 2 weeks post weaning was examined for effects on gains, feed efficiencies and mortality of growing rabbits. Overall performance was not affected by the switching of the diets. Mortalities were lower for animals fed the high fiber diet for the first 2 weeks post weaning, while feed efficiencies were better for rabbits eating the low fiber diet at some time during the growing period. In conclusion, clinoptilolite fed at 3.0% proved the most beneficial for improving growth performance and reducing mortality. The inclusion of Cu and TM-10 had no effect on growth performance or mortality. Diets containing high fiber (54% alfalfa) improved gains and reduced mortality while diets low in fiber (20% alfalfa) had the best feed conversions.
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