Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 44, Number 5, September-October 2004
|Page(s)||437 - 447|
Transitory disturbances in growing lactating rabbits after transient doe-litter separationPilar García Rebollara, Ana Espinosaa, Pedro Luis Lorenzob and Rosa Carabañoa
a Departamento de Producción Animal, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
b Departamento de Fisiología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
(Received 24 April 2004; accepted 28 June 2004)
Abstract - To determine the effect of a transient doe-litter separation (48 h) on milk production and feed intake from 1 to 21 days post-partum, a control group (C) in which litters had free access to nursing, and a biostimulated group (B) in which litters were separated from their does from d 9 to d 11 post-partum were used. Total milk production was higher in (C) than in (B) does (5090 ± 1.1 g vs. 4593 ± 150 g, P < 0.05). On days 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the lactation period, milk production was 40% (P < 0.0001), 18% (P < 0.05), 15% (P < 0.05), and 15% (P < 0.01) higher in (C) than in (B), respectively. No significant differences were observed in feed intake during the period studied (7961 ± 352 g in (C) does, and 7834 ± 329 g in (B) does). After fasting, 11-day-old kits showed lower gut weight, body weight, empty stomach relative weight (RW), stomach content RW and small intestine RW (P < 0.05), but the differences disappeared at 21 days of age. A reduction in villous height (P < 0.065) was observed in separated kits at 11 days old compared to 9- and 11-day-old control kits (579.0 ± 28.4 vs. 664.64 ± 27.6, and 724.33 ± 24.1 µm, respectively), but no differences were observed at either 16 or 21 days of age. Specific jejunal lactase activity increased significantly in 11-day-old separated kits (P < 0.05). A significant increase in sucrase activity at 21 days in both groups (P < 0.05) was detected. In conclusion, a fasting period of 48 h at 9 days of age does not compromise the subsequent development of certain digestive parameters of young rabbits.
Key words: doe-litter separation / enzyme activities / milk production / villi height
Corresponding author: Pilar García Rebollar firstname.lastname@example.org
© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004