Hycole Doe Milk Properties and Kit Growth
Department of Animal Breeding and Product Quality Assessment, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Słoneczna 1, 62-002 Suchy Las, Poland
Animal Breeding Department, Faculty of Animal Breeding, Bioengineering and Conservation, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Ciszewskiego 8, 02-786 Warsaw, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 January 2020 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 27 January 2020 / Published: 28 January 2020
The rabbits used on the commercial rabbit farms for the production of rabbit fryers are crosses of synthetic lines, such as Hycole. The maternal rabbit lines are selected not only for high number of kits but also for high production of milk. The goal of the presented study is related to the lack of complex data on the quality of rabbit milk, though this milk determines the nutritional status of kits in the suckling period as well as body weight gains and survival of rabbit kits. There are data on the milk yield of rabbit does and the milk proximal chemical composition, but the hygienic quality of this milk (somatic cell count) and its relationship with milk yield, kits survival, and weight gains is an unanswered question. The presented findings show the significant relationship between litter size, which has a clear effect on the milk production, as well as litter weight. Also shown is that the day of lactation affected the physiochemical traits of rabbit milk.
The level of production and the physiochemical traits of rabbit milk affect the growth and the mortality of bunnies during lactation. The goal of the study was to analyze the effect of litter size and day of lactation on the quality traits of rabbit milk, milk production, and associative traits. The study was conducted on 32 Hycole does and their litters. The rabbit milk pH ranged from 6.61 to 7.46. The colostrum was characterized by the highest content of total solids (31.54 and 31.80 g kg−1) and fat content (15.73 and 15.9 g kg−1). The milk from the beginning of the lactation was characterized by the highest level of somatic cell count (SCC) (523.67 and 536.57 103 mL−1), which gradually decreased to reach the lowest level on days 17 and 21 of lactation. The daily milk production was greater for does nursing 10 kits per litter compared to those nursing eight kits per litter (p < 0.001). The peak of milk production occurred on day 17 postpartum. To conclude, the litter size has a clear effect on milk production as well as litter weight and litter weight gains. It is also important to note that the day of lactation affected the physiochemical traits of rabbit milk.
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