Effect of hair shearing on live performance and carcass traits of growing rabbits under hot ambient temperature
The aim of the study was to examine the effect of hair shearing in growing rabbits reared at high ambient temperature. The live performance and carcass traits of growing rabbits reared at 20°C (not sheared, C, n=50) or at 28°C (not sheared, H, n=50, or sheared at 5, 7 and 9 wk, HS, n=50) were compared. The ambient temperature and relative humidity were 20.5±1.1°C and 54±11% in the 20°C room and 28.8±0.2°C and 35±8% in 28°C room, respectively. Feed intake of H and HS groups decreased by 29.0 and 20.4%, respectively, compared to C rabbits (P<0.001). The same data for weight gain were 24.6 and 16.9% (P<0.001), and for body weight at 12 wk were 16.8 and 11.5% (P<0.001). At the same time, the feed conversion ratio improved (C: 3.53, HS: 3.34, H: 3.31; P<0.001). Nevertheless, the mortality rate of rabbits was not affected by the studied treatment and was overall low (0-4%). No differences were observed in dressing out percentages either (ratio of chilled carcass (CC) to the slaughter weight: 61.6-61.9%). The ratio of liver to CC differed among the experimental groups, with the highest value recorded in C group and the lowest in H group; HS rabbits showed intermediate results (C: 4.86%, HS: 4.27%, H: 3.91%; P<0.001). Lower ratios of fat deposits to reference carcass were also observed in rabbits kept at high ambient temperature (perirenal fat: C: 2.59%, HS: 1.82%, H: 1.60%; P<0.001; scapular fat: C: 0.89%, HS: 0.66%, H: 0.51%; P<0.001). It can be concluded that the negative effect of higher ambient temperature (28 vs. 20°C) on production in growing rabbits can be reduced significantly by hair shearing.
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