Phenotypic correlations between body weight and morphometric traits in rabbits
This study aimed at determining the relationship between body weight and morphometric traits in rabbits. A total of 93 kittens generated from crosses of New Zealand White (NZW) x NZW, Chinchilla (CHA) x CHA, NZW x CHA and CHA x NZW genotypes of rabbits in a nested classification of a Completely Randomized Design were used for this study. Data on body weight (BW) and linear body measurements namely, body length (BL), ear length (EL), heart girth (HG), head- to- shoulder (HS), length of hind limb (LHB), length of forelimb (LFB), tail length (TL) and thigh girth (TG) in weeks 4, 8, and 12 were taken. The simple correlation procedure was used to establish the strength of relationship between growth traits. It was observed that in all the phenotypic correlations of the four (4) genotypes studied in week 4, the correlations were highly significant (P<0.01) and positive (0.70- 0.98), with the exception of CHA x NZW in which there were very low, negative and non-significant (P>0.05) correlation values (-0.11- 0.15), which implies weak association between morphometric traits and body weight. The phenotypic correlations observed in the four (4) genotypes in week 8 were highly significant and positive (0.70- 0.97), with the exception of those of NZW x NZW which had negative correlations between some of the growth traits (-0.01- -0.33), and CHA x NZW which had lower values between some of the growth traits (-0.04- 0.35). The phenotypic correlations observed in the four (4) genotypes in week 12 were non-significant (P>0.05) and low (0.02- 0.39), with the exception of NZW x CHA which had positive and very high significant values (0.70- 0.92), which implies a very strong association between morphometric traits and body weight in this genotype. It is therefore concluded that the NZW x CHA rabbits should be used for growth purposes rather than the other genotypes used for this study.
Keywords: Rabbit genotypes, body weight, morphometric traits, phenotypic correlation
Copy right of all published material rests with the Nigerian Journal of Animal Science.