Phenotypic correlation among morphometric traits in new zealand white rabbits reared under tropical condition
A total of 48 New Zealand White (NZW) rabbit was used for the phenotypic estimation study. After two weeks of birth, the kittens were introduced to commercial grower mash (CGM) and were fed solely on the commercial grower mash diets with the following characteristics; 17.5% crude protein, 16% crude fibre and 2500 kcal/kg diet digestible energy ad libitum. Morphometric traits such as Fore Limb (FL), Hind Limb (HL), Body Length (BL), Thigh Girth (TG), Abdominal Circumference (AC) and Leg Length (LL) in NZW rabbit were measured on the rabbit with the aid of measuring tape in centimetre (cm) at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age. The first measurement was taken on the day of weaning (4 weeks). The data obtained was analysed using the simple linear correlation procedure of SAS analytical package to obtain the correlation between the various morphometric traits studied. The study lasted for 12 weeks. From the study the phenotypic correlations obtained were all positive and ranged between moderate (0.47, the lowest value) and high (0.89, the highest value) correlated value for all ages considered for the NZW rabbit. The result further showed that BL was highly correlated (<70) with other morphometric trait at 4 and 12 weeks of age. Moderate correlation was recorded more at the 8 weeks of age of the rabbit when compared to 4 and 12 weeks of age. The TG and HL recorded the highest correlation value among the other morphometric traits at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age. This shows that as the animal grows, there is a positive relationship between the various morphometric traits and further implies growth is more inclined in other part of the body than FL and LL immediately after weaning while it evened out after 4 weeks of age.
Keywords: New Zealand rabbit, morphometric traits, correlations, hind limb, fore limb