In Rabbitry, colostrum is the first milk produced by female rabbit (doe) after giving birth.
It is highly nutritious and contains vital nutrients and antibodies essential for the kit’s survival. Colostrum production begins before delivery, and the composition changes as the pregnancy advances, resulting in a highly concentrated and rich milk.
Composition of Rabbit Colostrum
Rabbit colostrum contains high levels of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. It also contains immunoglobulins, specifically Immunoglobulin G (IgG).
The colostrum’s protein content is the most critical component and is responsible for providing the energy needed to jumpstart the kit’s immune system.
Importance of Colostrum in Rabbit Rearing
Colostrum is a critical component of the rabbit’s diet in the first few days after birth. It is essential for the survival of the young rabbits and provides immunity to various infections and diseases.
The antibodies in colostrum help prevent diseases such as enteritis, pneumonia, and coccidiosis, which can be dangerous in young rabbits.
Kits are born without a fully functional immune system, and the colostrum helps jumpstart the immune system by providing passive immunity. The antibodies in colostrum are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, where they protect the young rabbits against diseases for up to four weeks.
Additionally, colostrum plays a crucial role in the establishment of a healthy gut microflora in young rabbits. The colostrum contains oligosaccharides, which act as prebiotics, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the rabbit’s gut.
These bacteria help break down the nutrients in the rabbit’s diet, improving the rabbit’s overall health and growth.« Back to Rabbit Glossary