Evaluation of breeding performance of a local Algerian rabbit population raised in the Tizi-Ouzou area (Kabylia).
Keywords:rabbit, local population, Algeria, reproduction, season
AbstractA total of 287 females of a local Kabylian population of rabbits were studied at the University of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria) over 6 years. The females were mated for the first time at the age of 4.5 months and remated 10-12 days after parturition. The females were characterized by a medium to small adult weight (2.81±0.38 kg) and a rather low prolificacy at birth and weaning (7.2±2.5 total born, 6.1±3.0 born alive and 5.4±2.3 weaned). Based on the registration of 1377 mating attempts, acceptance of mating and conception rates were 74.3±3.8% of presented does and 73.3±4.3% of mated does respectively. The Algerian hot summer season did not seem to affect parameters of practical importance such as fertility or litter size at weaning. The only significant effect (P<0.01) was a reduction of litter weight at weaning (-13%) compared with the average of the 3 other seasons (2070 vs 2368 g at 28 days). Acceptance and conception rates were not significantly affected by mating number. At first parturition, total number of kits (6.6/litter) was significantly lower than that of multiparous does (7.3 to 7.4), and individual birth weight of first litter kits was 10% lower than that observed for subsequent litters (51.4 g on average). On the other hand, it must be emphasised that for this sample of the Kabylian population, the kit?s individual weight at weaning did not vary significantly with parturition number. Birth to weaning mortality was the lowest for parturition of rank 4 and more (9.8% vs 14.4 to 16.9% for previous ones).
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