Rabbits health and nutrition


Nutritional management in rabbits through probiotics aims to improve their productivity by achieving maximum weight gain and feed efficiency, while also constraining antimicrobial resistance and ensuring good animal welfare. Intensive breeding in the rabbit industry, poor feeding or degraded sanitary conditions, are a source of stress which causes dysbacteriosis and immunodeficiency. At Phileo by Lesaffre, we provide solutions to mitigate the negative effects of stress while maximising reproductive performance and ensuring rabbit well-being.

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Reduction of antibiotic use on rabbit farms: a global health concern

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The rabbit sector is considered the most medicated sector. The banning of antibiotic growth promoters in many countries has forced animal nutritionists to seek alternatives, such as the use of probiotics.


Nutritional and management strategies need to assure minimum stress and that strong immune status is achievable in a sustainable manner. By stabilising the caecal microbiota, Actisaf® Sc 47 improves rabbit health and welfare, helping to maintain an effective and sustainable rabbit farming population, while also reducing antibiotic use.


Improving does’ reproductive performance and kits’ growth

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An intensive reproductive rhythm creates a negative energy balance in does. They are unable to consume enough feed (energy) for the nutritional requirements of the foetus and lactation, forcing them to use body fat reserves. The results in poor body conditions reducing reproductive performance and leading to high mortality rates for both does and kits. Suckling mortalities represent about 20% of total litter loss.


Nutritional and management strategies throughout the reproductive and milking period should ensure a well-balanced diet, good health and immune status in both does and kits, while reducing mortalities. The yeast probiotic Actisaf® Sc 47 improves kits’ microbiota, promoting higher feed efficiency and improving weight gain. In addition, the use of Actisaf® Sc 47, decreases mortality rates and improves pre-weaning performance.

Major health challenge during the finishing period

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The weaning period, as well as the 10 to 15 days post-weaning, are a critical and complex period for rabbits, due to dietary, environmental and psychological stresses. These factors negatively impact feed efficiency and adaptation to a weaning diet. During this period, rabbits show a fragile balance in their gut function. They become most susceptible to digestive infections and frequently suffer post-weaning disturbances that can be fatal.


A successful finishing strategy should result in good health and immune status, while improving the performance of rabbits for meat production, and reducing the potential risk of digestive problems. Actisaf® Sc 47 yeast probiotic helps increase feed efficiency and metabolism. This results in improved average daily weight gain during the finishing period and a reduction in mortality.


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