International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development

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Effect of genotype on growth traits of rabbits

UK Oke, N Ibe, EO Ogbonnaya


Genotype effect on growth traits of rabbits were investigated in a randomised complete block design using one hundred and twenty - 10-week-old breeding rabbits. The breeds of rabbits used were New Zealand white, Dutch, chinchilla and were characterized using body weight (BW), heart girth (HG), shoulder to tail (ST), head to shoulder (HS), ear length (EL) tail length (TL), and height at withers (HW). The result reveals that daily feed intake, average daily weight gain and feed efficiency ratio were significantly (P<0.01) different for all the three breeds. New Zealand white had the poorest feed efficiency values and slower body weight gain indicating that all breed types would seem to be more profitable than New Zealand pure breed The, TL, HG, HS, HW and ST drop of the three breed types were significantly different (P<0.01), except for the ear length which did not differ significantly for the Dutch and chinchilla. The chinchilla ranked best in the group, while New Zealand white took the rear in the values for the linear parameters at 20 weeks of age. There was no significant interaction (P>0.01) among the different genotype x sex sub-class for all the parameters measured. Evidence from the study indicates that association between body weight and linear body traits in the three genotype of rabbits were linear. The results show that the reliability of R2 increased with increasing number of measurements combined. The result on the Dutch breed shows that the trait combination involving ear length heart girth and heart at withers contributed 971% to body weight, while combination of ear length and heart girth contributed 96.9 to body weight. The results indicate that for chinchilla two combinations would best predict body weight at 20 weeks of age. Heart girth contributed 93.5% to the total variability in body weight. Combination of heart girth and height at withers contributed 94.0% variability in body weight. The study provide good guide to select characters of good values for crossing in order to achieve good carcass quality.

Keywords: genotype, growth traits, rabbit

International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 5 2004: 61-68