2006 Volume 31 Issue 2 Pages 169-175
This study's aim is to investigate the relationship between stage and degree of restricted feeding during the gestation period and occurrence of abortion, premature birth or fetal damage in rabbits. The study was composed of 5 groups of pregnant Kbl:NZW rabbits that consisted of 8 animals each. These groups were subjected to restricted feeding in the following ways: (A) control group, free access to food, (B) 60 g per day from gestational days (GD) 6 to 18 (middle period), (C) 20 g per day from GD 6 to 18, (D) 20 g per day from GD 19 to 28 (post-middle period), and (E) 20 g per day from GD 6 to 28 (middle and post-middle periods). Even though all dams in Groups A, B and C went to full term, abortion or premature birth occurred to 2/8 and 8/8 dams in Groups D and E, respectively. Fetal lethality increased in Group C, which was subjected to restricted feeding at 20 g/head/day in the middle period. Slight inhibition of fetal growth was recorded only in Group D, which was subjected to restricted feeding in the post-middle period. Restricted feeding at 20 g/head/day in the middle period induced no abortion or premature birth, but increased fetal lethality that in the middle and post-middle periods resulted in abortion or premature birth of all dams, and that in the post-middle period resulted in abortion or premature birth at low incidence and slightly inhibited fetal growth. These results demonstrated that the post-middle period is vulnerable to effects of reduced food consumption in pregnant rabbits.