Pre-weaning growth performance of kits of a local Algerian rabbit population: influence of dam coat color, parity and kindling season

O. Abdelli-Larbi, F. Mazouzi-Hadid, M. Berchiche, G. Bolet, H. Garreau, F. Lebas

Abstract

This study evaluated the effect of dam coat colours, doe’s parity order, year and kindling season on litter size and growth of suckling kits of a local Algerian rabbit population. Rabbits were reared in the rabbitry of Tizi Ouzou (Algeria) in wire mesh cages placed in a building with natural lighting and ventilation and absence of temperature regulation. Weights and size of 572 litters (3795 kits) at birth, 7, 14, 21 and 28 d were analysed. The mother’s coat colours (2 levels only: albino or coloured coat), the doe’s parity (1, 2, 3, 4-5, 6-8, ≥9 kindlings), the kindling year (4 consecutive years) and the kindling season (3 seasons: Feb-May, June-Sept and Oct-Jan), were used as main fixed factors in a factorial analysis. The population was characterised by an average individual weight of 54 g at birth and 404 g at 30 d, growth rate of 10.24 g/d between birth and 24 d and of 19.02 g/d between 24 and 30 d. The coloured females were more prolific than the albino ones: 5.59 vs. 5.09 weaned/litter (P=0.016); but kits born from albino does had a larger individual weight at weaning: 391 vs. 362 g (P=0.006). The doe’s parity order had no significant influence on the litter weight, individual weight or litter size at kindling. However, it influenced litter weight and litter size from 7 d of age up to 28 d in favour of 2nd and 3rd parity (P<0.02). Litter size was not significantly affected by year of kindling at any considered age. On the contrary, year of birth greatly influenced litter and individual weights. For example, the difference in individual weights at 28 d between the best and the worst year represented 19% of the average weight at this age. The birth season influenced mainly (P<0.001) litter size from birth until weaning in favour of the spring season: 5.92 weaned/litter vs. 5.05 or 5.04 for the 2 other seasons. From day 7 until weaning, the litter weight was larger for the Feb-May season (P<0.02) and represented +0.87 grams per litter at 28 d. The litter weight was similar for the 2 other seasons (non significant differences) whatever the age in consideration. Season had no significant effect on individual weight of kits from birth until weaning.

 


Keywords

kit weight; coat colour; parity; season; local population

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References

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