|Title||Dietary fibres in the nutrition of the growing rabbit and recommendations to preserve digestive health: a review.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Date Published||2015 Feb|
The importance of dietary fibre fractions in animal feeding is due to its influence on the rate of passage, mucosal functionality and its role as substrate for gut microbiota that relates to performance and digestive health. The complexity of the physical structure and chemical composition of polysaccharides in plant cell walls explains the wide and different physiological effects of this large range of fibre fractions. Our review will first briefly consider the definition and structure of the different classes of fibres and of cell wall constituents, followed by a description of some analytical methods employed for monogastric feeds. Second, the nutritional role and impact of fibre intake on digestive health will be described for the growing rabbit with an extensive analysis of previous studies performed without antibiotics. The fibres in rabbit feed are essential for reducing the risk of digestive trouble after weaning, and the requirements are defined in terms of the quantity and quality of the fibre fractions as follows: a minimal dietary level of lignocellulose 'ADF' (18%) and lignins (>5%), balanced with a maximum quantity of digestible fibres 'DgF' (ratio DgF/ADF below 1.3). Soluble fibres, defined as the difference between total dietary fibre and NDF, are quickly fermented and digested by the rabbit. However, their impact on digestive health is still questioned.