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The Effect of Probiotics on Microbiology, Health and Performance of Fattening Rabbits
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 Title & Authors
The Effect of Probiotics on Microbiology, Health and Performance of Fattening Rabbits
Kritas, S.K.; Petridou, E.I.; Fortomaris, P.; Tzika, E.; Arsenos, G.; Koptopoulos, G.;
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The objective of the present trial was to determine the effect of a thermostable probiotic containing Bacillus licheniformis and B. subtilis on health and production parameters of fattening rabbits from weaning until slaughter. In a rabbitry with average post-weaning mortality of 5-9%, 1,680 rabbits were supplied with: a) a basic feed, or b) the same basic feed supplemented with probiotic from the 4th day postweaning (41st day of age) up to 88th day of age. Clinical signs, microbiological status and growth performance were recorded for two distinct fattening periods, growing and finishing. A significant decrease in mortality of probiotic-treated rabbits when compared to the controls was observed during the growing and entire fattening periods. Within these periods, E. coli and C. perfringens - but not P. multocida - were isolated at a lower frequency from probiotic-treated rabbits (p<0.05). Compared to the control animals, probiotic-treated rabbits were 54 g and 123 g heavier at the end of the growing and finishing phases, respectively, and had significantly higher average daily gain and better feed conversion ratio (p<0.05).
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