Genetic selection of maternal lines and digestive efficiency in rabbits: long term selection for litter size at weaning versus hyper selection for reproductive longevity.

 J.J. Pascual, L. Ródenas, E. Martínez, C. Cervera, E. Blas, M. Baselga


The objective of the present paper is to evaluate how long-term selection for litter size at weaning or short-term hyper selection for reproductive longevity, affect the digestive utilisation of growing and lactating rabbits. A digestibility trial was carried out during the 3rd week of lactation with a total of 27 multiparous does: 14 females came from a line selected for litter size at weaning over 32 generations (V), and 13 from a recently constituted, long lived-productive line (LP). Another digestibility trial was performed during the growing period with a total of 48 growing rabbits (24 from each line). After a 7 d adaptation period, faeces were collected individually for 4 d (from 13 to 16 d of lactation or from 49 to 53 d of age, respectively). Daily feed intake and weight gain recorded during the experimental growing period were similar for both lines (137 g of dry matter (DM)/d and 48 g/d, respectively). Growing rabbits from the V-line showed greater values for the digestibility of the DM and OM (+1 percentage point; P<0.10) and signifi cantly higher values for the acid detergent fi bre (+3 percentage points; P=0.03) than animals from the LP line. No signifi cant differences for the apparent digestibility coeffi cients of crude protein, neutral detergent fi bre, crude fi bre and gross energy were observed between lines, these being on average 65.7, 23.0, 10.7 and 52.6%, respectively. Females from the LP line were initially heavier (+258 g of live weight; P=0.06), and presented a signifi cantly greater daily feed intake (+22 g DM/d; P=0.04) and milk yield (+37 g/d; P=0.01) during the pre-experimental and faeces collection phases (from 6 to 16 d of lactation). V-line lactating does displayed greater values for digestibility for all those nutrients evaluated (from +0.9 and +3.7 percentage points for the crude protein and acid detergent fi bre) compared to the LP line females, although these were only signifi cant for the DM, organic matter and gross energy (+2.3, +2.5, +2.1 percentage points; P<0.05). In conclusion, rabbits selected for litter size at weaning seem to have greater effi ciency for digestive utilisation than those hyper selected for reproductive longevity.


rabbits; selection; digestibility; litter size; longevity

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1. Digestive efficiency in rabbit does according to environment and genetic type
Davi Savietto, Enrique Blas, Concha Cervera, Manuel Baselga, Nicolas C. Friggens, Torben Larsen, Juan José Pascual
World Rabbit Science  vol: 20  issue: 3  year: 2012  
doi: 10.4995/wrs.2012.1152


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011