Comparison of diets for growing rabbits containing potato pupl, sugar beet pulp and wheat bran: effect on performance and digestion parameters
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Rabbits are susceptible to the development of digestive dis¬orders. Diets high in cereal starch increase incidence of di¬gestive troubles while diets low in starch and high in fibre have protective effect (CHEEKE and PATTON, 1980; BLAS etal., 1994). Fibre components, however, differ in digest¬ibility in the rabbit alimentary tract. Digestible fibre „DgF“ fraction can be estimated as the sum of hemicelluloses (NDF — ADF) and water insoluble pectins (GIDENNE. 2003). Thus, studies were carried out to investigate effects of substitution of starch by digestible fibre on incidence of digestive disorders, mortality, performance and digestive processes, while a sufficient level of ADF was maintained (GIDENNE and JEHL, 1996; JEHL and GIDENNE, 1996; GIDENNE and PEREZ, 2000; PEREZ etal., 2000). In these studies hemicelluloses and pectin were mainly supplied by wheat bran and beet pulps, respectively. Other fibre sources, e.g. pulps of fruits and sunflower hulls have been used less frequently. The results suggest that a partial replacement of starch by digestible fibre improved the health of rabbits without major impairment of growth performance. The sub-stitution of digestible fibre for starch is associated with an increased flow of nutrients into the hindgut as in rabbits the ileal digestibility of non-starch polysaccharides is limited (GIDENNE, 1992). Consequently, this dietaiy change modi¬fies the partition of the digestion between small intestine and caeco-colic segment (GIDENNE et al., 2000).
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