ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 91 Number 4
Prospects of improving reproductive performance of the domestic rabbit in the tropics by reducing postpartum re-mating interval. (256)
The reproductive performance of ninety (90) primiparous doe rabbits that were re-bred 1-9 days (intensive),10-20 days (semi-intensive), 21-28 days (extensive) and >28 days (realized extensive) postpartum was investigated in the dry and rainy seasons in a tropical environment, in South-West Nigeria. The objective was to observe response to early rebreeding with the aim of increasing rabbits per doe per year. Mean postpartum re-mating intervals (P<0.05) were 1.9, 15.1, 25.5 and 46.2 days for does re-bred 1-9 days, 10-20 days, 21-28 days and >28 days postpartum respectively. Similarly, the mean parturition intervals (P<0.05) were 33.5, 49.5, 57.7 and 77.9 days for does re-bred under the intensive, semi-intensive, extensive and the realized extensive mating systems respectively. Gestation length was shorter (P<0.05) in does that re-bred semi-intensively. Litter size and weight at birth were not affected (P>0.05) by postpartum re-mating interval. The 21 day litter size/weight and weaning (28 days) litter size/weight were unaffected (P>0.05) by postpartum re-mating interval. Kits mortality was lower (P<0.05) in the 21-28 days group (37.1%) compared to does in the 1-9 days group (55.8%) and 10-20 days group (58.1%). Litter size and weight at weaning was better (P<0.05) in the dry season (4.7 and 1518.7g) than rainy season (3.6 and 1187.6g). Kits mortality was higher (P<0.05) in the rainy season (49.6%) than dry season (35.8%).
Keywords: Doe-rabbit, litter traits, re-mating time-period, reproduction, tropics