Phenotypic correlations between body weight and morphometric traits in progenies of mongrel rabbits
One of the pre-requisites for genetic improvement is knowledge of genetic parameters for important economic traits A research was conducted with progenies of mongrel rabbits to investigate the phenotypic correlations between body weight and morphometric traits. Rabbits were managed intensively for six months, and fed ad libitum proprietary feed (15% CP and 2300 kcal/kg ME), supplemented with forages. Progenies were identified with their dams for data collection. Body weight, and linear body measurements of head and neck circumferences, body, ear and face lengths, hind and forelimbs were analyzed. Measurements were taken once weekly for 10 weeks (70 days old). Body weights were taken from 7 days old whereas linear body parameters were taken from 14 days old. Phenotypic correlations between pairs of traits, estimated were positive, showed weak and very strong relationships. Values ranged between 0.455 and 0.986 (1 to 28 days old), 0.288 and 0.841 (29 to 49 days old), 0.174 and 0.781 (50 to 70 days old). The weakest relationship (0.174) existed between neck and head circumferences (50 to 70 days old) whereas the strongest relationship (0.986) existed between body and ear lengths (1 to 28 days old). Higher values (0.539 to 0.917) indicating strong relationships were obtained when estimates were not age specific. Correlated responses in body weight in progenies of mongrel rabbits are expected at varying strengths by selecting and improving any of the linear body parameters. Further breeding researches should investigate phenotypic correlations between body weight and morphometric traits in progenies of mongrel rabbits beyond 70 days of age. Phenotypic correlations involving more parameters should be investigated.
Keywords: Mongrel rabbits, body weight, morphometric traits, phenotypic correlations