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Solarte, 1989. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 1 (1)

Document reference 
Solarte, A., 1989. Development of feeding systems for rabbits and guinea pigs, based on sugar cane juice and tree foliages. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 1 (1)

Three experiments were carried out on the feeding of sugar cane juice (preserved with either sodium benzoate or sodium metasilicate) and tree foliage (from Erythrina glauca and E peppigiana) to rabbits and guinea pigs.

The first experiment aimed to assess the acceptability of foliage from Leucaena leucocephala and from E glauca as sources of protein to supplement the carbohydrates in the cane juice. Two growing rabbits had free access to one of these foliages and to preserved sugar cane juice. After 11 days intake of the Leucaena decreased markedly and it was replaced by Erythrina. During a further period of 100d, intakes were normal and there were no digestive problems. Intake averaged 91 g DM/d, of which 46% corresponded to the cane juice.

In the second trial, five New Zealand White male rabbits (initial weight 1240 g) were fed the cane juice and Erythrina foliage for 56 days. Average weight gains were 11.5 g/d. Intake of Erythrina increased during this period from 50% of the diet DM in the first week to 65% at the end of the trial.

The third trial was with growing guinea pigs fed comfrey (Sphytum peregrinum) foliage free choice and either (i) King grass and a commercial concentrate; (ii) derinded cane stalk and protein supplement; (iii) derinded cane stalk and foliage from E poeppigiana; or (iv) sugar cane juice and protein supplement. There were no digestive problems and no differences in growth rates (5 to 8 g/d) among the treatments.

Data are given on protein content and dry matter digestibilities (rumen nylon bag method) for a number of foliages considered to have potential value for feeding to rabbits and guinea pigs.

Citation key 
Solarte, 1989