Growth performance of three paternal rabbit lines with different potential for growth rate and resilience




growth rate, digestibility, mortality, genetic, rabbit


This experiment aimed to compare the growth performance, digestive efficiency and health status of three paternal lines for growing rabbits. The R line was selected by growth rate during the growing period for 37 generations; the RF line was founded by selecting a population of elite R animals (average daily gain>60 g/d); and the RFLP line was founded by backcrossing males from the RF line with females from the LP maternal line. A total of 387 weaned rabbits were used to evaluate growing performance from weaning until 63 d of age in individual cages, in three batches. Additionally, 33 animals were used to determine nutrient digestive efficiency in a digestibility trial. Body weight and feed intake were controlled at weaning (28 d), 46 and 63 d of age. Mortality and morbidity were also monitored daily. During the digestibility trial, feed intake and faeces excretion were controlled daily. Results showed no significant effects of genetic type on body weight, daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio throughout the experiment. However, RF animals had a higher average daily gain from 28 to 46 d of age (+4.4%; P<0.05) compared with R animals, but lower from 46 to 63 d of age (–4.3%; P<0.05). Regarding digestive efficiency, RF and RFLP lines showed slightly higher faecal digestibility for dry matter and gross energy of the diet compared with the R line (+1.3 percentage points; P<0.05). Mortality was higher in animals from R and RF lines compared with RFLP (on av. 25.40 vs. 14.06%; P<0.05). Our results suggest that the introduction of resilient genetics could be a suitable strategy to improve the digestive health of paternal lines without affecting significantly their growth performance.


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Author Biographies

Catarina Peixoto-Gonçalves, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology

Eugenio Martínez-Paredes, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology

Luis Ródenas, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology

Juan Manuel Corpa, Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU

Biomedical Research Institute (PASAPTA-Pathology Group), Facultad de Veterinaria

Enrique Blas, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology

María Cambra-López, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology

Juan José Pascual, Universitat Politècnica de València

Institute of Animal Science and Technology


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