Effect of lighting schedule, intensity, and colour on reproductive performance of rabbit does
In order to establish a lighting regime suitable for rabbit farms in East China, the effects of lighting schedule, intensity and colour on the reproductive performance of rabbit does were evaluated by three experiments, respectively. In experiment 1, does were exposed to different lighting schedules: 16L:8D-continuous, 16L:8D-18d (6 d before artificial insemination (AI) to 12 d post-AI), 16L:8D-6d (6 d before AI to the day of AI) and 12L:12D-continuous. In experiment 2, does were exposed to different light intensities: 40 lx, 60 lx, 80 lx and 120 lx. In experiment 3, does were exposed to different light colours: white, yellow, blue and red. For all experiments, conception rate, kindling rate and pre-weaning mortality were calculated; litter size at birth, litter weight at birth, litter size at weaning, litter weight at weaning and individual kit weight at weaning were recorded. Results showed that none of the reproductive parameters of does were affected by the application of 16L:8D-18d lighting schedule compared with the continuous 16L:8D group(P>0.05). Moreover, rabbits does exposed to 80 lx light performed as well as those under 120 lx light in conception rate, kindling rate, litter size (total and alive) at birth and litter weight at birth (P>0.05). Furthermore, the exposures of 60 lx and 80 lx light were beneficial for litter weight at weaning. In addition, red light had a positive effect, as it led to a larger litter size and litter weight at weaning and lower pre-weaning mortality than white light (P<0.05). In summary, a 16L:8D photoperiod with 80 lx red light from 6 d before AI to 12 d post-AI is recommended for use in breeding of rabbit does according to our results.
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