Carcass traits of purebred and crossbred rabbits
Carcass data on 80 rabbits representing four genetic groups and both sexes were analysed to determine the effects of straight and cross breeding on carcass traits. Genetic groups were New Zealand White (NZW), Califomian (CA) ancl their reciprocal crosses (NZW x CA and CA x NZW). At 14-16 weeks of age live body weight at slaughter (after 24h fasting) averaged 2529, 2459, 2523 and 2569g; and dressing percentages were 60.6, 60.5, 60.1 and 60.8 ¾, respectively. The genetic group effect was not significant for all traits except proportion of the fore-quarters, legs and giblets percentages which were higher in straightbreds than in crossbreds. Sex and genetic group x sex interaction were not significant for all traits except dressing percentage and fore-quarters percentage which increased in males while offals increased in females. Crossbred rabbits attained a suitable slaughter weight 1 week earlier than straightbred rabbits. Estimates of heterosis percentage in dressing percentage, fore-quarters, loin region, hind-quarters, head, liver, giblets and abdominal fat were -0.2, -4.0, +3.5, + 1.2, +0.1, -6.0, -8.0 and -14.4 respectively.
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