Productive performance of rabbits fed alfalfa (Medicago sativa)- or white clover (Trifolium repens)- based diets


Eliseo Sosa-Montes
Josué Alavez-Ordoñez
José Enrique Estevané-Guzmán
Arturo Pro-Martínez
José Isidro Alejos-de la Fuente
Fernando González-Cerón


white clover, alfalfa, growing rabbits


Objective: Evaluate the productive performance of rabbits fed alfalfa- and white clover-
based diets.
Design/ methodology/ approach: Rabbits can consume high-fiber diets. Therefore,
this study evaluated a white clover-based diet (Diet 1) and an alfalfa-based diet (Diet 2).
The experiment was carried out during the Fall-Winter season of 2018. This study used
111 rabbits (males and females), weaned at 31 days of age. Diets were randomly
assigned to 20 cages, four to six animals per cage. In total, 56 rabbits received Diet 1
and 55 Diet 2. All animals had free access to feed and water during the 35-day growth
period. The weekly recorded response variables were live weight (LW), daily weight gain
(DWG), and feed conversion (FC). At 67 days of age, hot carcass yield (HCY) and cold
carcass yield (CCY) were determined.
Results: At the end of the fattening period (31 to 66 days of age), there were no
significant differences between the two experimental groups. The results for Diet 1 and
2, respectively, were the following: LW = 2012±36 and 1960±37 g, DWG = 32.2±1.572
and 28.4±1.60 g/animal, FC = 3.3±0.2 and 3.4±0.2 g/g, HCY = 48.0±0.5 and 55.9±0.6%,
and CCY = 48.1±0.5 and 55.8±0.7%.
Limitations/ implications: Due to the lack of significant differences (P?0.05), further
studies are required to better understand these legumes.
Findings/ conclusions: White clover could completely replace alfalfa in rabbit diets.

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