Our study was conducted to assess the impact of Basil + Fennel hay-diets without or with symbiotic on growth performance, digestibility of nutrients, caecal microbial activity, volatile fatty acids estimation and some organs histology in rabbit. Six-week-old unsexed NZW rabbits were randomly distributed in a factorial (4 × 2) design arrangement with four dietary BH+FH levels were used at 0.0, 25, 50 or 75% of the diet rather than the percent of alfalfa hay in the control diet, and tow symbiotic levels (0,0 or 0.5 g/kg diet). Results showed that digestibility coefficients of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE) and NFE of 14-week old NZW rabbits were improved by feeding different levels of BH+FH. Treatments fed BH+FH-diets had a significantly effect on pH value, TVFA,s and NH3-N values for cecal content of 14 weeks old NZW rabbits. Also, total bacterial count and lactobacillus counts were positively affected, but animals fed experimental diet had inferior count of E Coli. Rabbits fed BH+FH-diets had significantly increased in CAT and SOD activities, however, a significant decrease in MDA levels were observed. The colony forming devices of coliform bacteria showed a significantly lower number in comparison control one. This study concluded that dietary levels of BH+FH may be safely used in rabbit diets as much as 75% in place of alfalfa hay. Conclusion: The present results indicate that growing rabbits had fed fennel and basil hay at 75% instead of alfalfa hay has a positive role on growth performance and cell reinforcement status notwithstanding its antibacterial impacts.
Key words: Rabbits, Digestibility, Cecal Activity, Organs Histology, Fennel, Basil Hay.