Effect of body weight at first mating on reproductive performance of rabbit does
Eighteen mature nulliparous rabbit does with initial body weight between 1600g-2500g were used to evaluate the effect of body weight at first mating on reproductive performance of rabbit does. These rabbits were assigned into three treatments, with T1, T2 and T3 weighing (1600-1900), (1901-2200) and (2201-2500) respectively. The study lasted for 5weeks. The does were mated with buck at ratio 1:3. The reproductive parameters evaluated were number of does that kindled, litter size at birth, breeding efficiency, litter size at weaning, preweaning loss. All data collected were subjected to descriptive statistical representation. The highest number of kindled does was 5 in T2 and T3; T1 had the lowest number (3). Breeding efficiency of 83.33% was recorded in T1 and T2 while T3 had 50.00%. T3 had highest average birth weight (49.51g) and T2 had the least (41.51g); litter size at birth and weaning range from 18 -28kits and 15-24kits, respectively. T2 does recorded highest value in both parameters, T3 does recorded same value (28kits) for litter size at birth. Highest preweaning loss of 7kits was recorded from does in T3 while T1 and T2 recorded 4kits. It was therefore concluded that does with weight range 1901g – 2200g had better reproductive performance with highest breeding efficiency and lower pre-weaning loss.
Keywords: Rabbit does, body weight, reproductive performance