Effect of bee pollen on growth performance, carcass traits, blood parameters, and the levels of metabolic hormones in New Zealand White and Rex rabbits

Abstract

The aim was to evaluate the effect of bee pollen (BP) on performance, blood parameters, and metabolic hormones in New Zealand White (NZW) and Rex (RX) rabbits. A total of 60 six-week-old rabbits were allotted into a completely randomized design in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement (two breeds and three levels of BP: 0, 250, and 350 mg/kg body weight). The effects of breed × BP supplementation level were non-significant for all growth performance and carcass traits, as well as the concentrations of metabolic hormones in the plasma. Meanwhile, some blood parameters (hemoglobin, packed cell volume, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and urea) were significantly affected (P < 0.05). Regardless of the effect of breed, the supplementation of BP at a dose of 350 mg/kg BW increased the final body weight (P = 0.008), average daily gain (P < 0.001), and net profits (P = 0.006). However, the rabbits treated with BP at a dose of 250 mg/kg BW showed lower average daily feed intake (− 14.45 g/d; P = 0.049) and feed to gain ratio (− 0.48; P = 0.039). In both rabbit breeds, BP at a dose of 350 mg/kg increased the concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (302.62 ng/ml, P < 0.001), insulin (16.63 ng/ml, P = 0.050), and triiodothyronine (158.50 ng/dl, P < 0.001) in plasma compared with other groups. It may be concluded that intake of BP supplementation can improve the feed to gain ratios, blood indices, and metabolic hormones in different rabbit breeds. However, the appropriate dosage and the route of supplementation of BP in broiler rabbits need further research.

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Correspondence to Mahmoud S. El-Tarabany.

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The experimental procedures of the current research were in accordance with the guidelines of the Committee of Animal Wealth Development Department, Zagzaig University, Egypt (ANWD 206).

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Abdel-Hamid, T.M., El-Tarabany, M.S. Effect of bee pollen on growth performance, carcass traits, blood parameters, and the levels of metabolic hormones in New Zealand White and Rex rabbits. Trop Anim Health Prod 51, 2421–2429 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-019-01961-8

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Keywords

  • Rabbit
  • Bee pollen
  • Blood parameters
  • Growth performance
  • Insulin
  • Carcass