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Muir et al., 1995. World Rabbit Science, 3 (2): 91-93

Document reference 
Muir, J. P. ; Massaete, E. S., 1995. Reproductive performance of rabbits fed wheat bran with tropical forages or Leucaena leucocephala. World Rabbit Science, 3 (2): 91-93

Two groups of 12 rabbit breeding does of various ages and breeds were freely given wheat bran (16% crude protein) and in addition 24% fresh Leucaena leucocephala leaves (DM basis), or freely, a fresh tropical forage mix (Clitoria ternatea, Pennisetum purpureum, Macroptilium atropurpureum, Ipomoea batatas, Neonotonia wightii) for 6 months. First mating of the experimental period was tried after 1 month of application of treatments. Leucaena leaves contained 24% crude protein and 0.5% mimosine.

During the trial or just after, 75% of rabbits given Leucaena were eliminated (i.e. 8/12) due to pododermatitis, none with the controls (0/12). It should be emphasised that sore hocks appeared only during the 2 last months and that only 2 out of 12 rabbit does suffered of mild alopecia. None of these symptoms wer observed in te control group. Number of litters was 1.58 and 1.92/doe (P=0.10).  Prolificacy was the same : 6.49 vs 6.38 born alive per litter for Leucaena and control does. Production of live and weaned young of these rabbits was 83.6 and 55.7% of controls, respectively (4.90 kits weaned per doe vs 8.80 for the control). Birth to weaning mortality of young was 52.2 and 28% with Leucaena and mix of forages. In their conclusion the authors pointed out the fact that the Leucaena diet was clearly deficient in calcium (0.23%) when compared to published recommendations or to control treatment (0.8-1.2%). In addition protein quantity and quality was not the same in the 2 treatments (no real information was given about the "mix of tropical forages" composition).

Thus conclusion would be that poor performances observed in the experimental treatment were most probably due to the imbalance of the experimental diet more than to the presence of mimosine or any other antinutritional factor that can be present in Leucaena leucocephala. 

Citation key 
Muir et al., 1995