Dietary fibre level influence on young cane rat Thryonomys swinderianus growth and digestive health
The cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) is a wild animal recently domesticated in Africa for meat production. The effect of dietary fibre levels on the digestive health and growth in the young cane rat remains largely unknown. Dietary fibre intake, however, seems to play an important role in its digestive functioning. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary fibre intake on young cane rats. The estimated optimal dietary fibre content of pelleted diets, which optimised growth without impairing health in young T. swinderianus was examined. The feed intake, growth and health of young cane rats were assessed for four diets with dietary fibre levels set at 7, 12, 20 and 24% acid detergent fibre (ADF) on four groups of 18 animals each. Growth was best with the 12% ADF diet followed by 20% ADF diet, with average live weights reaching 1 404 g and 1 325 g, respectively, at 114 days of age. In contrast and
compared with the 12% ADF diet, the 24% ADF diet resulted in a 9% weight reduction. Additionally, the 7% ADF diet led to a 33% mortality rate due to enteritis (without diarrhoea), but was associated with inflammation in the stomach and small intestine. We conclude that the optimal fibre content for growing cane rats fed on complete pelleted diets would be between 12% and 20%.
Keywords: acid detergent fibre, animal health, diet, gut health, optimal fibre content