Document Type : Original Article


1 Animal Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Tanta University, Egypt.

2 Animal Production Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Dokki, Giza, Egypt.


The current investigation was conducted to study the effects of dietary supplementation of different sunflower oil levels on productive performance and physiological status of New Zealand White Rabbits. A total of 56 weaned New Zealand White rabbits, 5 weeks of age, was assigned randomly into four similar experimental groups, 14 rabbits in each (7 males and 7 females). Rabbits in the first group were served as control (G1), while those in the second, third and 4thgroups were fed diets containing 1% (G2), 2% (G3) and 3% (G4) sunflower oil, respectively, and the experimental period lasted for 8 weeks. Results indicate that all growth performance parameters in G1 and G2, including final LBW and average daily gain were significantly (P<0.05) higher, while average feed intake was significantly (P<0.05) lower than in G3 and G4, being with the best results in G1 and the poorest results in G4. These results reflected significantly (P<0.05) higher feed conversion ratio and productive index (PI) in G1 and G2 than in G3 and G4, being the highest in G1, but did not differ significantly from that in G2. Concentration of blood serum total proteins and globulins in G4, and glucose concentration in G3 and G4 were significantly (P<0.05) decreased as compared to G1. Concentration of blood serum total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides in G3 and G4 significantly (P<0.05) increased, while LDL concentration decreased as compared to G1. However, concentration of blood serum albumin and urea as well as serum activity of AST and ALT were not influenced by experimental diets. On the other hand, biochemical parameters in G2 did not differ significantly from that in control one. Sunflower oil at different levels had no significant effects on carcass and dressing percentage (with or without head) of growing rabbits. The same trend was observed for the relative weight of heart, stomach, small intestine, caecum, proximal colon and distal colon. The histological examination revealed normal liver and kidney function in all studied groups. Although rabbits fed the control diet showed the highest net revenue/rabbit, those in G2 fed diet containing 2% sunflower oil had the highest net revenue/group as a result of the highest viability rate in G2 (14/14) as compared to (12/14) in each of G1, G3 and G4. Dietary supplementation of sunflower oil at a level of 1% showed the highest economic efficiency without adversely effects on growth performance, carcass traits, physiological status, and liver and kidney function of growing rabbits.