Utilization of non protein nitrogen by rabbits Public Deposited

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  • Several studies have been conducted to examine the utilization of non-protein nitrogen by the New Zealand White rabbit. Soybean meal (SBM) or urea added to a low protein (13% CP) diet and a positive control diet were fed to does and their offspring during a nine month experiment. Urea and SBM provided an equal amount of supplementary nitrogen. Performances of does fed the positive control diet were superior to those fed the other diets. Rabbits fed the low protein diet showed the poorest overall performance. Additional urea to the low-protein diet improved litter birth and preweaning traits but postweaning traits were decreased. Therefore no advantage was observed in using urea as a supplementary nitrogen source with a low-protein diet. Feeding the same diet to growing rabbits showed that rabbits fed the urea-containing diet had the highest mortality. There was no difference between adult and fryer rabbits in dry matter (DM) and nitrogen digestibility. Fryers utilized the urea-containing diet more efficiently than did adult in terms of nitrogen retention. The effect of different levels of dietary fiber (10 vs 17% ADF) on urea utilization was studied . Rabbits fed the high fiber diet had increased daily gains and feed intake. Additional urea did not produce any improvement in daily gain. Significant differences in DM, nitrogen and acid detergent fiber (ADF) digestibility were observed. The high fiber diet resulted in decreased apparent digestion coefficients. The effect of low and high starch levels on the efficiency on urea and biuret utilization was also examined. SBM, urea and biuret provided an equal amount of supplementary nitrogen, added to a low-protein diet (12% CP). Rabbits fed the high-starch diets showed significantly higher daily gains. Urea was used more efficiently by rabbits fed the high-starch diets compared to those fed low-starch diets. Biuret was utilized more efficiently than urea in the low-starch diets. DM and ADF digestibility were lower with the low-starch diets. Addition of urea to the low-protein diet increased nitrogen digestibility and retention, suggesting that to some extent growing rabbits could use urea as a supplementary nitrogen source. The effects of two levels (0 vs 5%) of dietary zeolite on urea utilization were also tested. Inclusion of SBM or replacement of a part of SBM with urea was added to a low- I protein diet. Results showed that additional zeolite did not affect animal performance. Rabbits fed SBM-containing diet showed significant improvement of daily gain. Replacement of some SBM with urea statistically increased rabbit performances. In conclusion, these studies indicate that urea can not be used effectively for lactating does, but to some extent it can be utilized for growing rabbits, especially if it is used to replace some of the main natural crude protein.
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