The aim of the article was to study the effect of different growth promoters on growth performance, carcass quality, biochemical and haematological traits and immune response of growing rabbits.
A total number of 105 male growing NZW rabbits during 35–91 days of age were randomly distributed among 7 groups fed the same basal diet and submitted to different dietary treatments: the first group was unsupplemented and used as control; the other groups were supplemented respectively with bee pollen and/or propolis at 200 mg/kg BW of each and inulin and/or mannanoligosaccharides (MOS) at 35 mg/kg BW of each. Body weight gain, daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR), biochemical and haematological blood parameters, carcass characteristics, histological studies of ileum and spleen and economical efficiency were measured.
Bee pollen administered alone or with propolis significantly (p < 0.01) the body weight gain and improved FCR in respect of the control group. Inulin with MOS significantly improved just FCR than the control group. Bee pollen with propolis and MOS supplemented-groups resulted in significantly higher (7.96 and 8.41% respectively) white blood cells compared to the control group.
Plasma total cholesterol was significantly higher for the MOS group in respect of the control, bee pollen, inulin and inulin with MOS supplemented-groups. Propolis resulted in significantly higher dressed carcass percentage than the control group and higher carcass index than only bee pollen with propolis supplemented-group.
Bee pollen, in particular if in combination with propolis, could be used as a supplement in the growing rabbits during days 35–91 of age with positive effects on growth rate and feed conversion ratio.