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Linga et al., 2000. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 12 (4): 1-9

Document reference 
Linga, S. S. ; Lukefahr, S. D., 2000. Feeding of alfalfa hay with molasses blocks or crumbles to growing rabbit fryers. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 12 (4): 1-9

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate alfalfa hay in combination with energy supplements (blocks, crumbles, or mash, based on sugar cane molasses) as feed for growing rabbits.  In experiment one, 36 New Zealand White (NZW) straightbred rabbits (age from 37 to 39 d) were involved.  Kits were randomly assigned to each of four diet treatments involving three pens as replicates containing three rabbits.  Diets were control (commercial pelleted diet) or chopped alfalfa hay with or without an energy supplement (blocks or crumbles based on molasses).  Control animals were 296 g heavier than experimental (alfalfa hay diets) rabbits at the end of the 28-d study (P<0.01).  There was no difference in average daily gain (ADG) between groups fed molasses blocks and crumbles (P>0.05). The ADG was 4.3 g more rapid for energy-supplemented rabbits compared to those fed alfalfa alone (P<0.05). 

In the second experiment, 24 Altex and 24 NZW straightbred rabbits (age from 39 to 40 d) were involved.  Kits were assigned to each of the four diet treatments: control (pelleted complete diet) or alfalfa cubes with or without an energy supplement (molasses blocks or mash).  Each diet had four pen replicates containing either three Altex or NZW rabbits.  At the end of the 42-d experimental period, control rabbits were 1,067 g heavier than experimental rabbits (P<0.001).  Energy-supplemented rabbits were 307 g heavier than rabbits fed alfalfa cubes alone (P<0.01).  Altex rabbits had heavier final weights by 221 g than NZW rabbits (P<0.01).  In both experiments, there were no significant differences due to diet in the uniformity of final weights within a pen.  Even though ADG was more rapid for rabbits fed the control diet, from an economic standpoint, it may be more appropriate in developing countries to raise rabbits on forages (in tropical countries alfalfa is not an option but there are alternatives) with an energy supplement based on molasses, especially where commercial feeds are either not available or cost-prohibitive.

Citation key 
Linga et al., 2000