Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Animals 2017, 7, 95; doi:10.3390/ani7120095.


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.


Fifteen New Zealand rabbits were randomly assigned to one of 3 dietary treatment groups of 5 animals each and fed pelleted, extruded, or muesli diets in a completely randomized design experiment. Rabbits were placed in individual cages with ad libitum access to water and food for 45 days acclimation followed by 30 days experimental period. Feed intake of rabbits fed pelleted and extruded diets was greater (p < 0.05) than rabbits fed the muesli diet (125.6 and 130.4 vs. 91.9 g/d), but weight change and feed efficiency were not affected by treatment. Diet digestibility among the treatments was inconsistent when comparing results obtained from total fecal collection and AIA (please define) as an internal marker. Rabbits fed extruded and pelleted diets had lower (p < 0.05) cecal pH (6.42 and 6.38 vs. 7.02, respectively), and higher (p < 0.05) production of SCFA (18.5 and 19.0 vs. 11.7 mM, respectively) than those fed muesli. The fermentation products from rabbits fed pelleted and extruded diets had a greater proportion of butyrate and less propionate than rabbits fed muesli. The results of this study indicate that the basal dietary composition had a greater impact on diet utilization and cecal fermentation than food form.