The Effect of the Season, the Maintenance System and the Addition of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Selected Biological and Physicochemical Features of Rabbit Fur

Animals (Basel). 2022 Apr 8;12(8):971. doi: 10.3390/ani12080971.


The aim of the study was to show the impact of environmental conditions and dietary supplementation with ethyl esters of linseed oil on the quality of the rabbit hair coat. The research was divided into 4 stages: laboratory (summer and winter) and outdoor (summer and winter). In each stage of the research, animals were divided into control and experimental groups. The animals were fed in accordance with the feeding standards of reproductive rabbits during the period of sexual dormancy. The rabbits from the experimental groups during the first two months were given an addition of ethyl linseed oil to the feed. In the experiment, linseed oil was cold-pressed directly in the laboratory. Three samples of hair were collected: before the study, after two months of treatment, and after two months from the end of supplementation. The hair coat biological properties, such as share of individual hair fractions (%), heat transfer index (HTI), hair diameter (μm), as well as physico-mechanical properties such as breaking force (N), breaking stress (kg/cm2) and elongation (%) were performed. Moreover, the histological structure of hair and histological hair evaluation were performed. The fatty acid profile was determined in the hair as well. The obtained results of the content of individual fatty acids were grouped into saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, omega-3 and omega-6 were distinguished from the group of unsaturated acids. The environmental conditions have a major impact on the quality of the rabbit coat. The best results of hair thickness and their heat protection were obtained from animals kept outdoors. The studies did not show an influence of the administered preparation on the quality of the rabbit coat. The hair became thinner, but more flexible and tear-resistant. Administration of linseed oil ethyl esters had significant, beneficial changes in the fatty acid profile in hair and hair sebum were observed. There was a significant increase in omega-3 acids, and a significant decrease in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 acids.

Keywords: ethyl esters; fatty acids; hair coat; linseed oil; rabbit.