ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 95 Number 1
Effects of breed, sex and weaning on subsequent body weights and morphometric measurements in domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus Linnaeus, 1758)
The need for increased animal protein is a driving force for research in under-exploited livestock species like rabbit. A total of 60, seven week old, mixed sex New Zealand White (NZW) and Chinchilla (CHC) weaned rabbits were used for the study. Data collected on the rabbit kits were used to evaluate the effects of breed, sex and weaning weight group on subsequent kits’ body weight (BWT) and morphometric measurements. The morphometric traits considered were Body Width (BW), Ear Length (EL), Head to Shoulder (HS), Shoulder to Tail (ST), Hind Leg (HL), Fore Leg (FL) and Tail Length (TL). Mean BWT of kits increased from 779.33±43.76g at 7 weeks to 1347.5±39.41g at 14 weeks of age. Generally, the effects of breed and sex of rabbit on weekly BWT and morphometric traits of kits were not significant (p>0.05). However, there were significant differences (p<0.05) in weekly BWT and morphometric measurements among kits belonging to different weight groups. Interaction among fixed effects (breed x sex x age) was significant (p<0.05) for post-weaning BWT of kits at weeks, 1, 2 and 8. Interaction among fixed effects was not significant (p>0.05) for morphometric measurements. It was concluded that there is the need to give more attention to the weight of newly weaned kits in the choice of animals for meat production.
Keywords: Body weight, Chinchilla, interaction, New Zealand White, morphometric traits