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Animal Feed Science and Technology, 39 ( 1992) 39-59

Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam

C. de Blasa, J. Wisemanb,

.-J. Fragaand

39

.-J. Villamide

Departamento de Producci6n Animal, Escuela TPcnica Superior de Ingenieros Agr6nomos.


Universidad PolitPcnica, 28040 Madrid, Spain
bVniversity of Nottingham, Faculty ofAgricultural and Food Sciences, Sutton Bonington.
Loughborough, LE12 MD, UK
(Received 23 April 1991; accepted 17 April 1992)

ABSTRACT
De Blas, C., Wiseman, J., Fraga, M.-J. and Villamide, M.-J., 1992. Prediction of the digestible energy
and digestibility of gross energy of feeds for rabbits. 2. Mixed diets. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 39:
39-59.
Mixed diets, for which information relating to various chemical measurements and rates of inclusion of certain raw materials (independent variables) and their nutritive value for rabbits (dependent
variables) as assessed in terms of digestible energy (DE) and the coefficient of digestibility of gross
energy (GEu) was available, were combined in a series of correlation matrices and step-wise linear
regression analyses. GE,, removes the possible effect of variability in gross energy value on DE values
and is reported. In general, GED was better correlated to acid detergent fibre (ADF) than crude fibre
(CF ) . A general equation was derived: GEu -0.867-0.0012
ADF (g kg- DM) R*=0.888. Closer
inspection of individual points revealed that diets based on added fat, beet pulp, citrus pulp and straw
at levels higher than 200 g kg-i behaved atypically. Separate prediction equations were derived for
each of these groups of diets. Multiple regression analyses considered more than one independent
variable, but gave only marginal improvements in terms of the accuracy of prediction of GEu. Addition of rates of inclusion of feedstuffs as independent variables revealed that the chemical analyses
employed were insensitive to changes in nutritive value arising from additions of fat, pulps and straw.
These feedstuffs need to be characterised further and general prediction equations should not be applied to diets in which they are contained.

INTRODUCTION

Prediction of t e dietary energy va


surements is regarded as being of co
more rapid than reliance on metaboli

f mixed diets from chemical meah is


an ap
erable value. S
uale effk
als, ahm for

Correspondence to: C. de Blas, Departamento


de Production Animal, Escuela TCcnica Superior
de Ingenieros Agr6nomos, Universidad PolitCcnica, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

0 1992 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. All rights reserved 0377-8401/92/$05.00

40

C. DE BLAS ET AL.

ity control and is of fundamental importance in legislation governing the declaration of values in diets supplied by the feed industry. In non-ruminants,
equations have been derived for pigs (e.g. Wiseman and Cole, 1983; Morgan
et al,, 1987; Henry et al., 1988) and poultry (e.g. Fisher and McNab, 1987;
Car&, 1990). There is a limited amount of data with respect to the derivation
of prediction equations for diets fed to rabbits. Maertens et al. ( 1988 ) considered a number of approaches to the prediction of the digestible energy
(DE )value of 3 1 diets, including those based on digested nutrients. However,
as was pointed out, this is of limited value unless reliable estimates of digestibility are available. In addition, the same balance procedures required to
determine the digestibility of nutrients are needed to determine DE. The latter, in addition, requires only one laboratory analysis-that of gross energy.
Prediction of DE from chemical analyses would appear to be a more appropriate procedure. Maertens et al. ( 1988) employed this approach, but some
of the results were inconclusive in terms of, for example, the relative value of
the different measurements of plant flbre. Furthermore, diets based on beet
and citrus pulps had to be excluded from the analysis. Finally, the use of nitrogen-free extract is not considered acceptable because it is determined by
difference and, accordingly, is not an independent variable. In addition, owing to its method of determination, it contains all the accumulated errors associated with other chemical determinations.
The objective of the current study was a comprehensive approach to the
derivation of prediction equations for rabbits based on a number of diets of
different chemical content and raw material composition.
MATERIALS AND METHODS

The data base for the regression analyses was that of the large number of
mixed diets that have been evaluated with rabbits at the Universidad Politecnica, Madrid, Spain. Details of methodology and data have been presented
previously (De Blas et al., 198 1, 1986, 1989; Fraga et al., 1984, 1989, 199 1;
Santoma et al., 1985,1987; Mendez et al., 1986; Carabafio et al., 1988; Ortiz
et al., 1989; Villamide et al., 1989, 199la,b); De Blas and Villamide, 1990;
Motta, 1990; Femandez, 199 1; Garcia, 199 1) .
The analysis employed was a linear step-wise regression approach using the
Statistical Analysis Systems Institute ( 1985) procedure. In addition to chemical measurements (see Table 1 for definitions), some analyses also included
squared terms for acid detergent tibre ( ADF) together with neutral detergent
fibre (NDF) and actual rates of inclusion (squared) of straw and pulps. These
terms, either singly or in combination, were independent variables. Digestible energy and the coeficient of digestibility of gross energy (GEP) were both
included in the analyses as estimates of nutritive value (dependent vari-

FEEDS FOR RABBITS: MIXED DIETS

41

TABLE 1
Definitions of abbreviations used in the text
Chemical measurements
CP
Crude protein
EE
Ether extract
CF
Crude fibre
ADF
Acid detergent fibre
ADF2
ADFxADF
NDF
Neutral detergent fibre
ADL
Acid detergent Iignin
Biological measurements
DE
Apparent digestible energy
GE
Gross energy
Coefficient of apparent digestibility of gross energy
GED
Raw feeds@ materials
Pulps
PU
PU2
PUXPU
Straw
ST
ST2
STxST

sis considered a number of groups of


on the absence or presence of unusual feedstuffs

taining added fat (n = 25 );


diets containing straw at rates of inclusion
2OOgkg- (n=25).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Correlationsbetween individual measurements


Correlation matrices for Analyses
Ceneraliyj high negative correlati

are presented in Tables 2 (A


ere obtained between both

51.0
98.0
231.0
22.0
95.0
0.542
9.10
16.3

215.0
271.0
443.0
120.0
255.0
0.755
13.7
19.1

0.911

ADF

0.716
0.633

NDF

0.710
0.784
0.487

ADL

-0.250
- 0.299
-0.417
-0.213

CP

-0.886
-0.930
-0.586
-0.734
0.392

GEp

-0.839
-0.904
-0.586
-0.689
0.478
0.974

DE

-0.021
-0.123
-0.137
-0.002
0.459
0.133
0.354

GE

7155

16.31

GE(MJ)

51.0
98.0
193.0
10.0
9.6
81.0
0.0
0.427
::

ST
ST* lo3
DE(MJ)

GED

CF
ADF
NDF
ADL ;
ADF* ( 103)
CP
*
PU

19.14

240.0
327.0
536.3
149.0
106.9
255.0
515.0
0.789
583.0
339.9
14.31

Range of values
(g kg- DM)

0.915

ADF

0.786
0.717

NDF

0.639
0.688
0.416

ADL

0.902
0.988
0.727
0.667

ADFZ

- 0.428
-0.454
- 0.444
-0.416
- 0.464

CP

0.183
0.140
0.218
-0.305
0.133
0.087

PU

-0.801
-0.855
-0.603
-0.802
-0.845
0.589
0.227

GEn

(B) Diets including straw at all rates and pulps, and for which NDF and ADL were measured (n= 58 )

DM, dry matter

Z&J,
GE(MJ)

CF
ADF
NDF
ADL
CP

Range of values
(gkg-)
DM

ST*

0.462
0.413
0.386
0.603
0.415
-0.502
-0.168
-0.595
0.955

ST

0.504
0.465
0.403
0.590
0.469
- 0.442
-0.146
-0.604

-0.798
-0.862
-0.630
-0.750
-0.853
0.644
0.177
0.982
-0.598
-0.594

DE

(A ) Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- l, added fat and pulps, and for which NDF and ADL were measured ( n = 4 1)

Correlation matrix for mixed diets

TABLE 2

-0.175
-0.243
-0.301
0.064
-0.250
0.429
-0.182
0.159
-0.128
-0.154
0.340

GE

95.0
0.536
9.10

15.9

&
DE(h4J)

GE(MJ)

19.1

255.0
0.773
13.97

214.9
272.0

0.904

ADF

- 0.030
0.02 1

CP

DE

- 0.842
-0.891
0.928
0.242

GE,,

- 0.902
-0.942
0.040

- 0.294
0.512
0.08 1

0.258
0.237

GE

51.0
86.6
0.0
0.0
81.0
0.427
7.50
0.0
7.55
15.54

243.0
327.0
515.0
583.0
255.0
0.789
106.93
339.9
14.31
19.14

Range of values
(gkg- DM)

DE( MJ)
-PI.*.\

GED

ADF
CP
EE

CF

119.2
179.9
186.0
48.0
0.568
10.53
*n 2.4

194.7
257.0
206.0
85.7
0.701
12.98
*n .Y*

Range of values
(g kg- DM)

(E) Diets with added fat (n = 25 )

CF
ADF
PU
ST
CP
GEu
ADF* ( 103)
ST2 ( 103)
DE(MJ)
GE(MJ)

(n=93)

0.929

ADF

0.905

ADF

- 0.424
-0.114

CP

0.172
0.162

PU

---0.866 -0.775
-0.825
-0.647
0.282
0.390
0.1D98
0.363
0.95 1

-0.105
0.255
0.710

DE

- 0.842
-0.874
0.182
-0.557
0.340

GED

GEE,

-0.297
-0.204
0.066
-0.318

CP

EE

0.526
0.452
-0.136

ST

0.408
0.664
0.279
0.797
-0.291
0.019

GE

0.889
0.986
0.150
0.458
-0.239
-0.864

ADF*

0.480
0.418
-0.140
0.947
-0.364
-0.550
0.429

ST*

-0.815
-0.842
0.162
-0.540
0.474
0.953
-0.839
-0.542

DE

(D) Diets including straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- *, added fiat and pulps, and for which no measurements

51.0
86.6

Range of values
(gkg- DM)

CF
ADF

(n=66)
---

(C) Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg-, added fat and pulps, and for which no measurements

0.039
0.055
-0.061
0.022
0.445
-0.095
0.033
-0.010
0.206

GE

for NDF and ADL were taken

for NDF and ADL were taken

cn

ri
v,
r
z
fl
u
5

E;
:
8
F
g

110.0
140.0
127.6
100.0
0.552
9.76
17.37

240.0
280.0
214.0
500.0
0.784
14.31
18.25

CP

-0.061
0.036

ADF

0.973

750.0
0.789
13.97
19.66

~$MJ)
GE(MJ)

_~

:2 (103)
CP

_...a------__-...

ADF
ADF2 ( 103)

178.1
31.7
200.0
40.0
81.0
0.308
5.61
15.96

11.23
19.10

583.0
339.9
245.0
0.629

357.0
127.4

Range of values
(g kg- DM)

0.995

ADF2

---

0.375
0.370

ST

(H) Diets containing straw at rates higher than 200 g kg-

150.0
0.628
11.29
17.36

ED.
DE(MJ)
GE(MJ)

-0.554
0.016

0.301

141.0
234.0
222.0

96.0
179.0
133.6

CF
ADF
CP

CP

ADF

Range of values
(g kg- DM)

(G ) Diets containing added citrus pulp ( n = 7 )

DE(MJ)
GE(MJ)

GED

CF
ADF
CP
PU

Range of values
(gkg- DM)

( F) Diets containing added beet pulp ( n = 10 )

TABLE 2 (continued)

-0.259
-0.270

0.990

._,

-0.014
-0.003

--

-0.557
-0.540
0.110
0.975

-0.542
- 0.524
0.010

-0.893
-0.888

DE

-0.914
-0.909

GED

-0.195
-0.423
0.126

0.845
0.512

0.549

CP

-0.107
0.150
0.271

GE

-0.442
-0.312
0.786
-0.195
0.314
0.439

GE

-0.804
-0.149
0.385

DE

-0.923
-0.915
0.059
0.026
0.991

DE

- 0.683
-0.244
0.215

0.373
0.368

ST

(n=25)

0.337
0.643
0.187

GED

-0.910
-0.921
-0.059
0.054

0.312
0.288
-0.193

PU

GEp

PU

-,.

._

--

_-

-a

_a

_~_

g
?
&
!I
0.045
0.034
0.465
-0.306
- 0.088

c1

0.258
0.263

GE

FEEDS FOR RABBITS: MIXED DIETS

45

GED and measurements of fibre.


e majority of cases, A
correlated than crude fibre (CF)
ering added fat and beet pulp. For the d
tion between DE together with GE,, an
and - 0.244, respectively).
Regressionanalysesusing one independentvariable
The results of the step-wise line
ssion analyses for all
are presented in Table 3 (A)-(H) .
lyses considered both
as dependent variables, although
variables were chemical analyses t
3 (G) and 3 (H), rates of inclusion of pulps and straw. No independent variassociated with a P value greater than 0.15 in any function was included.
rlst it is accepted that P> 0.05 is the more conventional term to employ,
it was thought appropriate to consider all variables where there was evidence
fo
ng only one independent vari
re was a general superiority of ADF over others in terms of R 2 values
expected, bearing in mind the original correlatio
ss energy values might
removes the influence that any variability in diet
have had on DE val
correlations between
than when DE was included. Thus, e
ADF tended to be associated with h
was predicted.
Differences between groups of mixed feeds
diction of nutritive value from A
est figure for R2 (0.888, eqn. ( 1
equation) was obtained from Data
and for which no measurements for
f GED to ADF levels for
tion was used subsequently to compa
all the data sets. The relationships between G
Figs. 1,2,3, and 4, respectively, for
evident from this approach that the general equation gave a reasonable estimate of GED in all cases, although there were individual differences.
values for Data Sets B and D had been lower, and
individual points revealed that in general those
fat and pulps deviated from the line of t
illustrated in Figs. 5, 6 and 7 wh
based on added fat (Analysis E)
straw (Analysis
er with the line for t

y=

y=

y=

0.751
f0.0410
P-KO.001

0.810
f 0.0285
P< 0.001

0.814
It 0.0293
P<O.OOl

0.867
f0.0.157
P<0.001

- 0.0008
+0.00018
P< 0.00 1

- 0.00089
~0.00018
P<0.001

-0.0012
+0.0001
PCO.001

-0.0012
+ 0.000 1
PCO.001

Ul
(ADF)

0.0003
I!I0.000 11
P= 0.006

+ 0.0003
f 0.000 1
P=O.O028
- 0.0006
f 0.00024
PzO.014

-m0.0004
5 0.0002
Y-O.079

(CF)

(CF)

0.00024
f 0.00011
P= 0.040

a3

a2

+ 0.0002
+ 0.00010
P=O.O60

(NDF)

ar

0.899

0.879

0.864

R2

y=

0.894
!I 0.0230
P<O.OOl

Intercept

-0.0013
It0.0001
P<0.001

al
(ADF)

a3

(CF)

a2

(ADL)

0.730

R2

0.040

rsd

(9) Diets including straw at all rates and pulps, and for which NDF and ADL were measured (n = 58 )
(a) Analysis based on chemical composition

rsd, residual standard deviation.

y=

Intercept

0.019

0.889

0.020

0.02 I

rsd

(A) Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- and pulps, and for which NDF and ADL were measured (n=41)

Prediction of coefficient of digestibility of gross energy of mixed diets

TABLE 3

0.020

E
2
F

y=

y=

0.758
+ 0.0386
P< 0.001

8.876
_+0.0195
P<0.001

- 0.0008
+ 0.000 12
P<O.OOl

- 0.00090
+ 0.000 12
P<O.OOl
-0.0010
f0.00019
P< 0.001

-0.0011
f 0.0002 1
P<0.001

P= 0.00 Ii

0.0005
+ 0.000 15

0.897
kO.0172

Y=

0.804
+ 0.329

y=

-0.0012
+ 0.00008
P<O.OOl

-0.0013
+ 0.00008
P<O.OOl

P<O.OOl

-0.0014
+ 0.00008

-0.0013
z!z0.000 1
P<0.001

al
(ADF)

PC 0.001

+ 0.0002
+ 0.00003

+ 0.0002
f 0.00003
PcO.001

P= 0.004

- 0.0002
+ 0.00006

0.00023
+ 0.00006
P<O.OOl

W2)

WJ)

-0.0011
+ 0.00003
P<O.OOl

a3

a2

0.0003
+ 0.000 13
P=O.O15

(CP)

a4

0.849

0.816

0.898

0.025

0.027

0.030

0.853

0.886

0.041

rsd

0.730

R2

0.03 1

0.033

y=

y=

0.871
fio.0101
P<O.OOl

0.863
&O.OlO
P<O.OOl

Intercept

P<O.OOl

- 0.0009
f 0.0001

-0.0012
+ 0.000 1
P<O.OOl

al
(ADF)

P=O.O04

- 0.00049
+ 0.000 16

0)

a2

0.022

0.02 1

0.902

rsd

0.888

R2

(61) Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- and pulps, and for which no measurements for NDF and ADL were taker. (n= 66)

P<O.OOl

0.877
+0.0161
P<0.001

y=

P<O.OOl

0.894
+ 0.0230
P<O.OOl

y=

Intercept

(b) Analysis based on chemical composition and rate of inclusion of ingredients

F
Ez

z
fl
4
B

y=

0.808
+ 0.0295
P<O.OOl

P<0.001

0.793
&0.0285

0.878
kO.0152
P<O.OOl

-0.0010
_+0.00017
P<O.OOl

P<O.OOl

-0.0012
* 0.00007

-0.0013
f 0.000 1
PCO.001

Cl1
(ADF)

- 0.00035
_+0.00013
P=O.O05

0.00046
f 0.000 13
P-c 0.001

a2
(CP)

- 0.00038
_+0.0002 1
PzO.104

(CF)

a3

y=

y=

y=

y=

0.837
f 0.0205
P<O.OOl

0.836
f0.0210
P<0.001

P<O.OOl

0.889
+0.0105

P<O.OOl

0.883
kO.0113

Intercept
(CR

(Iv

- 0.00049
+ 0.000 15
P=O.O02
- 0.0004
+ 0.000 15
P=O.OOS

0.0002
+ 0.00002
P< 0.00 1
0.00022
+ 0.00002
P<0.001
0.0002 1
+,0.00002
P< 0.00 1

- 0.0009
f 0.000 12
P<O.OOl

-0.0010
~0.00012
PC 0.00 1

-0.0010
+ 0.000 12
P<O.OOl

P<O.OOl

0.00022
It 0.00003
P<O.OOl.
-0.00061
+ 0.000 15

a3

a2

-0.0014
+ 0.00006
P< 0.001

al
(ADF)

Based on chemical composition and rate of inclusion of ingredients

y=

(b )

y=

Intercept

(ST)
(ST)

P= 0.029

0.906

+ 0.00022
k 0.00009
P= 0.02 1

0.892

0.872

R2

0.901

-0.00012
rf.0.00005

a6
a5

0.036

0.036

0.038

rsd

0.00027
* 0.00009
P=O.O05

(CP)

a4

0.798

0.792

0.764

R=

(D) Diets including straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- and pulps, and for which no measurements for NDE and ADL were taken (n= 93)
(a) Based on chemical composition

TABLE 3 (continued)

0.024

0.025

0.026

0.038

rsd

g
$
F

i%

0.0002 1
_+0.00002
PcO.001

- 0.00047
-t 0.00016
P= 0.003

y=

y=

2L

0.844
+ 0.0296
PC 0.001

0.874
+,0.0332
P<O.OOl

P<O.O01

0.797

f0.0189

I!z0.000 1
P<0.0001

-0.0011

al
(W

P<O.OOl

-0.0012
k 0.000 14

-0.0011
f 0.000 16
P<O.OOl

a2
(ADF)

0.00077
Z!I0.00024
P= 0.004

WE)

a3

y=

y=

P<O.OOl

0.922
+ 0.0242

+ 0.0430
P< 0.00 1

0.940

Intercept

P<O.O01

-0.0015
f: 0.000 11

P<O.O01

-3.0013
AI0.0002

Ul
(ADF)

0.000 18
+ 0.00004
P=O.O03

(PW

a2

0.959

0.848

R2

(IF) Diets containing added beet pulp (n = 10)


Based on chemical composition and rate of inclusion of ingredients

xcluding crude fibre from the analysis.

y=

Intercept

Diets containing added fat (n = 25 )

(E)

step with only one independent variable: see eqn. ( 1 ), Table 3 (D) (a).

-0.0010
+0.00012
P<O.OOl

Initial

0.844
-t-0.0208
PCO.001

y=

0.015

0.027

rsd

0.782

0.68 1

0.749

R2

P=O.O39

0.00020
f 0.00009

0.017

0.020

0.018

rsd

- 0.00009
~0.00014
P= 0.024
0.000 1
f 0.00006
P=O.120

0.909

0.024

6
0
R

=i

3
6
rcI

y=

0.966
f0.1337
PC 0.001

- 0.0023
f0.00109
P=O.O91

(W

al

0.466

R2

0.946

fsd

0.942
4 0.0408
P<O.OOl

0.976
f 0.0372
P< 0.001

y=

y=

Intercept

-0.0015
f 0.000 15
PcO.001

-0.0017
f 0.000 15
PcO.001

Ul
(AD0

- 0.0002
f 0.00007
P= 0.008

(ST)

a2

0.881

0.835

R2

( H ) Diets containing straw at rates greater than 200 g kg- ( n = 25 )


Based on chemical composition and rate of inclusion of ingredients

Intercept

(G) Dirts containing added citrus pulp (n= 7)


Based on chemical composition and rate of inclusion of ingredients

TABLE 3 (continued)

0.032

0.037

rsd

51
Mixed

Diets

0.81

0.41
50

75

100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 3 0
ADF (g/kg DM)

Fig. 1. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,,).
Analysis A: Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg-, added fat and pulps, and
for which NDF and ADL were measured (n=41). y=O.863-0.0012 ADF (g kg- DM);
R2=0.888 (eqn. (1), Table 3(C)).

Mixed

Diets

0.7-

%
CJ 0.8-

0.5-

n = 58

0.4s
50

75

1
100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350
ADF (g/kg DM)

Fig. 2. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility oegross energy (GED).
Analysis B: Diets including straw at all rates and pulps, and for which ISDF and ADL were
measured (n=58).y=0.863-0.0012ADF
(gkg-* DM);R2=0.888 (eqn. (l),Table3(C)).

bility of the general equation to predict the nutritive values of all diets with
equal accuracy is due to the insensitivity oft
ployed (ADF) to estimate a ological value precisely.
from one source does not h
Such insensitivity in them
species of animals (e.g. with pigs, ng and Taverner, 1975; Just et al., 1984)

C. DE BLAS ET AL.

52
Mixed

Diets

0.7-

OS-

n = 66

044
* 50

75

100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 3 i0
ADF (@kg DM)

Fig. 3. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,).
&ralysis C: Diets excluding straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg-, added fat and pulps, and
for which no measurements for NDF and ADL were taken (n = 66). y=O.863 -0.0012 ADF (g
kg- DM); R*=0.888 (eqn. (l), Table 3(C)).
Mixed

Diets

0.8

50

75

100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 3 i0
ADF (g/kg DM)

Fig. 4. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,).
Analysis D: Diets including straw greater than at a rate of 200 g kg- and pulps, and for which
no measurements for NDF and ADL were taken (n = 93). y=O.863 - 0.0012 ADF (g kg- DM);
R*=0.888 (eqn. (l), Table 3(C)).

and is the major reason why there is considerable interest in the derivation of
separate prediction equations for individual classes of feeds (Wiseman et al.,
1992).
.4ccordingly, it was considered appropriate to treat the diets containing
added fat, pulps and straw in this manner. The results are presented in Tables

FEEDS FOR RABBITS: MIXED DIETS


Mixed

53
Diets

0.70.6.
cl
g

0.5.
04
0.3,
50

10;
n

75

150

I+

200
250
ADF (g/kg DM)

300

350

4 0

6Oglkg added fat 1

3Oglkg added fat

Fig. 5. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,,).
Analysis E: Diets containing added fat (but excluding those in Tables 2(A) or 2(D) above)
(n=25). y=O.863-0.0012 ADF (gkg- D ); R2=0.888 (eqn. (I), Table 3(C)).
Mixed

Diets

w 0.6(3
0.5.

0.4-r
50

n = 19
I
75 100 125 150 175 209 225 250 275 300 325 3 IO
ADF (g/kg DM)

Beet pulp

citruspulp

Fig. 6. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,,).
Analysis G: Diets containing added beet and citrus pulp (n= 19). y=O.863-0.0012 ADF (g
kg- DM); R2=0.888 (eqn. (I), Table 3(C)).

3(E) (fat), 3(
prediction equations rel
high figures for
the use of CF resulted in
dent variable (
diets containing beet pulp).

C. DE BLA!3 ET AL.

54

Mixed

Diets

427

0.7-

0.5D
S OS-

0.4-

0.d

50

100

150

200
250
ADF (g/kg DM)

300

35:

4 IO

Fig. 7. Relationship between ADF and the coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,).
Analysis H: Diets containing straw at rates greater than 200 g kg- (n = 25). y=O.863 -0.0012
ADF (g kg- DM); R*=0.888 (eqn. (l), Table 3(C)).

generally poor predictors of GED in diets based on added fat. Although the
addition of fat could be regarded merely to dilute the other components of
the diet, and thus maintain correlations between chemical measurements and
nutritive value, fat is a variable commodity both in itself and in the manner
in which it may influence other dietary constituents (e.g. Santoma et al.,
1987 ). Additions of a fixed amount of fat to a diet will accordingly have a
variable response in terms of nutritive value. Furthermore, the addition of
fats to diets was invariably associated with changes in the content of other
chemical measurements (e.g. an increase in crude protein), which may also
have influenced the nature of the regression.
Diets based on citrus pulp were also comparatively poorly correlated with
measurements of fibre and, additionally, it was evident that the fibre from
this raw material was behaving in a different way, nutritionally, than that
from other fibre sources. The general equation was a comparatively accurate
predictor of other previously reported sources of fibre (Fig. 8 ) . It should be
noted that the general equation excluded those diets containing high levels of
added straw. However, the reason for this was not the higher levels of lignin
that would be expected to be present in these diets. Other fibre sources (e.g.
grape mart) have high levels of lignin and yet did not deviate from the response predicted by the general equation. It would seem that other issues contribute to the anomalous responses recorded with diets high in straw and it is
probable that factors including particle size are important with this particular
raw material.

FEEDS FOR RABBITS: MIXED DIETS

Mixed

55

Diets

0.7-

0.6n
g

OS-

0.4n = 25
0.3 1
50

100

150

200
250
ADF (g/kg DM)

300

350

400

Fig. 8. Comparison between the response of the general equation from the current study (eqn.
( I), Table 3(C) ) and previously published work considering different sources of fibre.

Regression analyses using more than one independent variable

Step-wise linear regression an sis allows the effects of additions of indeto the model t
are presente
ber of independent variables improved the
owever, improv
pet
h that achieved
par
variable.
For those reasons discussed above, diet
ed on added fat, straw an
individually.
were subsequently considered separately
It should be noted that regression equations are mathematical fu
but that their applicability should not be viewed solely in te s of accuracy
as indicated by high R* values. Thus, in multiple linear regressions it is assumed that all the independent variables are independent of one another.
However, it could be argued that the presence of more than one icrm for fibre
(e.g. CF and NDF) is not valid as the terms are not strictly in
each other as they are estimating a similar fract
. It may, therefore, be inwever, the original correappropriate to use equations where this occurs.
lation matrix had revealed that, in fact, the c
ation between A
was
occasionally
a
significant
improv
ADL was poor, and that th
the proportion of the ove
ariation accounted for independent variables
when these two te s were included in the sa
n this basis, the
use of both of them would seem justifie

56

C. DE BLAB ET AL.

Regressionanalysisemployingchemical analysessquaredand ratesof


inclusionoffeedstuflas independentvariables
The insensitivity of those chemical measurements used to predict changes
in the nutritive value of mixed diets based on added fat, pulps and straw has
been discussed above. As a means of overcoming this difficulty, further approaches were considered. It is possible that increases in fibre content may
not be linearly related to changes in the nutritive value of mixed diets. ACcordingly squared terms were employed for ADF in Analyses B, D and H.
However, in no case did the addition of this term improve the accuracy of
prediction significantly. Although such an improvement was reported in diets
for pigs by Wiseman and Cole ( 1983) using CF and modified ADF, the final
R*data reported were similar to those in the current study without squared
terms.
A further analysis considered the use of rates of inclusion of pulps and straw
as independent variables. Such an approach did not significantly improve the
accuracy of prediction for Analyses B and D, but did have a large effect on
those analyses which considered pulps and straw separately (F and G, respectively, for beet and citrus pulps, and H for straw ). These analyses confirmed
the insensitivity of those chemical measurements employed in the prediction
of the nutritive value of diets.
The magnitude of the difference between the GEn values predicted from
the general equation and those actually determined was viewed in terms of
the regressionof this difference against chemical measurements and the rates
of inclusion of feedstuffs. Data are presented in Table 4.
term for the rate of inclusion of beet and citrus pulps re
tively high R2, indicating that the difference between the predicted and actual
GEn could be explained largely by the addition of these two feedstuffs (in
contrast to the lack of ability of chemical measurements to achieve this). In
contrast, the presence of rates of inclusion of added fat (in the form of ether
extract content of the diet ) and straw did not improve the accuracy of prediction to such an extent. The possibility exists, therefore, that these two commodities were interacting in a variable way with other components of the diets
in which they were contained.
The general conclusions to be drawn from this study are that prediction of
the nutritive value of mixed diets fed to rabbits, as expressed in terms of GEb
was in general more accurate when ADF was used in comparison to CF as the
independent variable. The addition of further chemical measurements as independent variables improved the accuracy of prediction, but often only marginally. Diets containing added fat, beet pulp, citrus pulp and straw reduced
the accuracy of prediction, and individual functions were derived for those
diets containing these four commodities. Prediction equations can be applied
to diets as long as the range in measurements for chemical compone
beneath or beyond those studied. In addition, diets containing added fat, pulps

FEEDS FOR RABBITS: MIXED DIETS

57

TABLE 4
Regression of the difference between the actual znd predicted coefficient of digestibility of gross energy (GE,,A-GEnP, dependent variable) on chemical measurements and rates of inclusion of raw
materials (independent variables). Cl&P is from eqn. (b), Table 3(C)
(A)

Diets containing added fat (n= 25). Original prediction equations are presented in Table 3 (E)

Y=

Intercept

al
(W

R2

rsd

-0.020
+0.0161
PzO.225

0.00077
* 0.00023
P= 0.003

0.33 1

0.016

rsd, residual standard deviation.


(B ) Diets containing added beet pulp (n = 10). Original prediction equations are presented in Table

3(F?
Intercept

al
W-J)

Y=

0.015
f0.0140
PcO.317

0.00016
+ 0.00005
P=O.Oll

Y=

0.059
+ 0.0242
P= 0.046

0.00018
+ 0.00004
P= 0.003

a2
(ADF)

-0.00024
f 0.00011
PzO.078

R2

rsd

0.579

0.018

8.738

0.015

(C) Diets containing added citrus pulp (n = 7). Original prediction equations are presented in
Table 3 (G)

Y=

Y=

Intercept

C:
W-J)

- 0.032
+ 0.0296
P=O.326
0.174
+ 0.0827
PzO.104

+0.00025
0.00006
P=0.0010
+ 0.00034
+ 0.00006
P= 0.004

a2
(ADF)

-0.0012
+ 0.00047
PcO.062

R2

rsd

0.764

0.03 1

0.910

0.02 1

( D ) Diets containing straw at rates greater than 200 g kg- ( n= 25 ) . Original prediction equations
are presented in Table 3(H)
Intercept

al
(ST)

Y=

0.057
f 0.0262
PzO.041

-0.00027
+ 0.00007
P=O.OOl

Y=

0.113
kO.0372
PzO.006

-0.00027
+0.00007
P=O.OOS

a2
(ADF)

-O.OOO~F
+0.00015
PcO.056

R'

rsd

0.378

0.034

0.475

0.032

58

C. DE BLASET AL.

and straw should be treated separately for the purposes of predicting nutritive
value. Finally, it is crucial to note that the equations are only applicable to
those diets with chemical compositions within the range of values employed
in the current study. Extrapolation beyond or beneath this range is not
justified.

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