|Food quality affects diet preference of rabbits: experimental device|
Somers, N.; D'Haese, B.; Bossuyt, B.; Lens, L.; Hoffmann, M. (2008). Food quality affects diet preference of rabbits: experimental device. Belg. J. Zool. 138(2): 170-176
In: Belgian Journal of Zoology. Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Dierkunde = Société royale zoologique de Belgique: Gent. ISSN 0777-6276, more
|Also published as |
- Somers, N.; D'Haese, B.; Bossuyt, B.; Lens, L.; Hoffmann, M. (2009). Food quality affects diet preference of rabbits: experimental device, in: Somers, N. Feeding facilitation, the hidden interaction in mammalian herbivore assemblages? A case-study on rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus L.) and large grazers. pp. 99-114, more
diet selection; feeding trial; grazing; herbivore; rabbit
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When foraging, small mammalian herbivores do not show a preference for the forage with the highest biomass, which can be explained by several hypotheses (e.g. antipredator considerations, more difficult handling of tall swards and/or the higher nutritional quality of shorter grasses). We tested the ability of rabbits to discriminate between plants of different nutritional value and whether they prefer the most nutritious. A feeding trial in which rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758)) were offered two different types of grasses (fertilised and unfertilised) was executed under experimental conditions. The rabbits preferred the grasses with the highest protein percentage, when conditions were controlled for sward height/plant biomass. This observation is equivalent to results obtained in geese and provides experimental evidence about the capability of rabbits to select for plants with the highest nutritional quality.