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The present study was carried out at the Rabbits Research Unit, Department of Animal and Fish Production, Faculty of Agriculture (Saba Bash), and Department of Poultry Production, Faculty of Agriculture (El-Shatby), Alexandria University, during the period from May 2009 to September 2009.
Forty eight rabbits were used in this study (32 growing New Zealand White rabbits 7 weeks of age with average initial weight of 1028.4 ± 17.1 g and 16 V-line bucks 10 months of age with average initial body weight 3.32± 0.045 Kg were allotted at random to four experimental groups (8 growing rabbits and 4 bucks in each group). The first group received basal diet free of pomegranate peel (PP). The second, third and fourth groups were fed diets containing 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 % PP, instead of clover hay in the basal diet, respectively. Feed of the four groups was free of any antibiotics and added antioxidants.
This study including two experiments:
First experiment (Effect of PP supplementation on growing rabbits reared under summer conditions ):
This experiment was carried out during the period from May 2009 to July 2009. The main object of the this experiment was to evaluate the effects of supplementing heat stressed growing rabbits diet with 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5% pomegranate peels on growth performance, carcass characteristic, economic efficiency, some blood biochemicals, hematological parameters and immune responses of growing rabbits.
The results obtained from the first experiment could be summarized as follows:-
1-Rabbits reared under summer conditions and fed diets containing different levels of PP had the highest body weight values; while those fed control diet had the lowest values throughout the 2-8 weeks of treatment.
2- The weekly weight gain and growth rate values of heat stressed growing rabbits during summer improved significantly at 0-4, 4-8, and at 0-8 week’s interval with the addition of 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 % PP.
3- Rabbits supplied with the low level of PP in their diet (1.5 %) resulted in a significant increase in feed intake during the whole experimental period followed by those groups fed 4.5 then 3 % PP in their diets, respectively, as compared to the control rabbits.
4- Feed conversion ratio was improved during the whole experimental period gradually with increase the PP level in ration, the values were ranged between 13.1 and 18.4%.
5- The best relative economical efficiency was detected with the 3 and 4.5% PP groups being 138.2 and 137.6%, respectively, when compared with the control group (100%).
6- Pre-slaughter weight of growing rabbits was significantly increased by 19, 13.8 and 16.7 %, in the groups fed diets containing 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 % PP, respectively, while, hot and cold carcass percentage were insignificantly increased in the groups fed diets containing 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 % PP.
7- The PP supplementation didn’t significantly affect blood biochemical parameters of growing rabbits, except plasma total protein, urea N and glucose which were higher, while LDL was lower on PP treatment groups than control rabbits. the other blood parameters didn’t affect by PP supplementation.
8- Total antioxidant capacity insignificantly increased by increasing level of PP in the diet and the increase reached to 23.1, 34.3 and 51.7 % for the groups receiving 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 % PP in their diets, respectively, as compared to the control group. While, plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) was significantly decreased by increasing PP level in the diet.
9. Pomegranate peel treatments significantly increased RBCs, WBCs counts and Hb concentration. Feeding 1.5 % PP to rabbits resulted in inducing insignificant increase in HI against SRBCs reached to 124.4 % of control value. However, 3 and 4.5 % PP resulted in inducing significant increase in HI against SRBCs reached to 130.7 and 171.7 %, respectively, of control values.
Second experiment (Effect of PP supplementation on bucks reared under summer conditions):
This experiment were carried out during the period from the August 2009 to September 2009. The main object of the present experiment was to evaluate the effects of supplementing heat stressed bucks diet with 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5% pomegranate peels on semen quality, some blood biochemicals, hematological parameters and immune responses of bucks.
The main results obtained from this experiment could be summarized as follows:-
1- Daily consumption of PP caused significant improvement in semen volume, mass activity, individual sperm motility, PSV% (spermatogenic cell density), sperm concentration, total sperm count and decreased percentage of dead sperms and pH.
2- Seminal plasma total lipids, cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and fructose increased significantly with PP treatments. While, seminal alkaline phosphatase and AST showed a significant reduction with the three doses of PP treatments.
3- Seminal plasma total antioxidant capacity increased to reach 126.1, 143.5 and 191.3%, while lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde) levels significantly decreased to reach about 53.7% of the control bucks’ value with the three PP dietary doses used.
4- The PP supplementation didn’t significantly affect blood biochemical parameters of buck rabbits, except plasma urea N that increased significantly by 18.2, 28.6 and 27.6% with the three doses, respectively, compared with control.
5- Blood plasma total antioxidant capacity significantly increased in a dose dependent manner to reach 134.9, 148.9 and 203.5% of control levels with three doses of PP, respectively. While, malondialehyde levels decreased insignificantly with PP treatment.
6- Pomegranate peels treatment caused a non-significant increase in RBCs counts which was accompanied with a significant increase in WBCs counts and Hb concentration. Feeding different level of PP to bucks resulted in inducing insignificant increase in HI against SRBCs
In conclusion, it is well demonstrated that the supplementation of PP during Egyptian summer season has positive effects on both growing and buck rabbits’. Also, it had a beneficial effect on blood lipid regulation which was demonstrated to be ascribed to their antioxidant activity and on lipid peroxide and the anti-oxidative status of rabbit reared under summer conditions.