Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Original Article

Can feed supplementation of the refined vegetable oils enhance the seminal quality of rabbit bucks (Oryctolagus cuniculus)?

Aly Bassunny Okab, Talaat Mohammed Nasser, Sabah Gaber El-Banna, Mostafa Abdelsattar Ayoub, Emad Mohammed Samara, Ahmed Abrahim Al-Haidary

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Exploring new feeding strategies are a necessary aspect for improving the reproductive performance in rabbits. Twenty healthy rabbit bucks with a mean live body weight of 1.01 kg (SD = 0.12) and age of 6 months old were used for a period of 17 weeks to examine the influence of feeding soybean and sunflower oils on their reproductive performance. Rabbits were randomly assigned into 4 groups (5 bucks/group), where bucks in the 1st group, served as a control, were fed for 14 weeks on a standard ration without any oil supplementation, while bucks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th groups received -on the basis of the inclusion rate- a ration supplemented with 3% soybean oil, 3% sunflower oil, and 1.5% soybean oil plus 1.5% sunflower oil, respectively. Climatic, bio-physiological, blood and seminal measurements were all been determined. The obtained results suggested that offering rations supplemented with soybean and/or sunflower oils at the level of 3% of DM to rabbit bucks had no impacts on their health status, based on the findings that feed conversion ratio, blood hematology as well as liver and kidney functions were all not altered; thereby, indicating that the refined vegetable oils can be safely supplemented into rabbits rations. Most importantly, the collected evidences proposed that supplementing vegetable oil-enriched rations to rabbit bucks during their adulthood may demonstrate subsequent positive influences on their reproductive characteristics as early as the 3rd/4th week after feeding on such oils. This was generally manifested by the higher (P < 0.05) sperm concentration, total sperm output, percentage of motile sperms, as well as the lower (P < 0.05) percentages of dead and altered acrosomal sperms that observed in bucks compared to their control twins. Based on the obtained results herein, feeding rations supplemented with soybean and/or sunflower oils at the level of 3% of DM to rabbit bucks during their adulthood would produced an acceptable semen quality compared to the control bucks. Research dealing with such aspect may improve our understanding of the nutritional requirements and production of rabbits. However, further researches are definitely imperative because of the number of bucks per group was considerably low in the current experiment.


physiology, rabbits, reproduction, semen, soybean oil, sunflower oil.


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