Dietary Sugar Beet Tops and Prebiotic Effect on Nutrient Digestibility, Caecal Activity and Organ Histology of Weaning Rabbits

  •  Hayam M. A. Abo El-Maaty    
  •  Sara Kh. Sherif    
  •  Lina S. A. Foda    


The current study was designed to evaluate the effect feeding weaning rabbits sugar beet tops (SBT) with prebiotic on digestibility of nutrients and caecal microbial activity, volatile fatty acids estimation and organs histology. Fifty four 6-week-old unsexed weaning NZW rabbits were randomly distributed in a factorial (3 × 2) design to six equal groups. Sugar beet tops (SBT) was used at levels 0.0, 20 or 30% of the diet instead of the percent of alfalfa hay in the control diet in presence of 1.0 g/kg diet or absence of prebiotic (Perfect). Digestibility coefficients of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE) and NFE of 12-week old NZW rabbits were improved by feeding SBT-containing diets. Dietary SBT level had no significant effect on pH value, TVFA,s and NH3-N values for caecum content of 12 weeks old NZW rabbits, however, total bacteria, E. coli and lactobacillus counts were significantly affected. Feeding SBT-containing diets did not alter plasma concentrations of AST and ALT of 12-week-old rabbits. Dietary prebiotic had a positive effect on the digestibility coefficients of DM, OM, CP, EE, CF and NFE of growing rabbits. Added prebiotic had a positive effect on caecal fermentative activities and caecal microbial activity of growing rabbits. The pH value, ammonia-N level, total bacteria and lactobacillus counts of rabbits fed prebiotic-supplemented diets were significantly higher but E. coli count was reduced as compared to control ones. This study concluded that sugar beet tops can be safely used in rabbit diets up to 30% instead of alfalfa hay.

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