Crossbreeding exotic and local breeds of rabbits in Cameroon: breed of sire and breed of dam effects
Data on 442 offspring from 114 litters produced in a reciprocal crossbreeding programme involving local (LOC), New Zealand White (NZW) and Californian (CAL) rabbits at the Institute for Animal and Veterinary Research (IRZV) Mankon, Bamenda-Cameroon were analysed to ascertain the paternal and maternal breed effects on preweaning litter traits and individual weaning weight using least-squares analysis of covariance. Breed of sire significantly (P<0.05) influenced individual weaning weight (IWW) but not litter birth number (LBN) and litter sizes at birth (LSB), at 21 days (LS21) and at 56 days (LS56), and litter weights and gains from birth to weaning. Progeny of LOC bucks were 166 g above herd average while kits sired by NZW and CAL bucks were below average in IWW. Least-squares constants showed significant (P<0.05) effects of breed of dam on LBN, litter weight at birth (LWB), average daily gain from birth to 21 days (ADG21) and IWW. It would appear that LOC dams had good prolificacy but poor mothering ability while NZW dams showed good prolificacy, mothering ability and growth potentials in their litters. Evidence also showed that CAL dams lacked good prolificacy but had good mothering ability and growth potentials. It was concluded that maternal breed effects appeared to be much more important than sire breed effects in influencing preweaning litter characters of the rabbits.