INFLUENCE OF GENOTYPE AND FEED RESTRICTION ON POST-WEANING GROWTH PERFORMANCE OF DOMESTIC RABBIT


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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE
1.0       INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background information
1.2       Justification
1.3       Objectives
1.4       Hypothesis

CHAPTER TWO
2.0       LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Origin and Domestication of Rabbit
2.2       Anatomy of Rabbits
2.2.1    Musculoskeletal system
2.2.2    Dentition and oral cavity
2.2.3    Skin
2.2.4    Eyes and ears
2.2.5    Anatomy of the rabbit digestive tract
2.2.6    Respiratory system
2.2.7    The liver
2.2.8    Cardiovascular and urinary systems
2.3       Reproduction
2.3.1    Reproductive physiology of rabbits
2.3.2    Physiology of male reproductive system
2.4       Gestation Period
2.5       Lactation
2.6       Litter Size and Body Weight of Rabbits
2.6.1    Morphometric traits
2.7       Growth Traits in Rabbits
2.7.1    Pre-weaning performance of rabbits
2.7.2    Post-weaning growth of rabbits
2.8       Attributes and Importance of Rabbits
2.9       Breeds of Rabbit
2.9.1 The Chinchilla
2. 9.2 The New Zealand White
2.9.3 Dutch breed
2.10.    Rabbit Production and Management
2.11.    Rabbit Production Systems
2.12.    Nutrient Requirements of Rabbits
2.12.1 Crude protein
2.12.2 Energy
2.12.3 Crude fibre
2.12.4 Minerals and vitamins
2.12.5 Water as a nutrient for rabbits
2.13.    Rabbit Diseases
2.14.    Feed Restriction
2.14.1 Effect of feed restriction on body development
2.14.2 Effect of feed restriction on puberty characteristics

CHAPTER THREE
3.0       MATERIALS AND METHODS
3.1       Study Location
3.2       Experimental Animals
3.2.1 Source
3.2.2 Mating plan
3.2.3 Management and feeding regimes
3.3       Traits Measured
3.4       Experimental Design and Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR
4.0       RESULTS
4.1       Pre-weaning Performance of Rabbits
4.2       The least square means of growth traits for the different genotypes of rabbits from 6 to 14 weeks of age
4.3       The effect of feed restriction on growth and mortality rates of rabbit
4.4       Effect of interaction between the genotypes and the feeding regimes
4.5       Coefficients of correlation for growth traits for the six genotypes

CHAPTER FIVE
5.0       DISCUSSION
5.1       Pre-weaning Performance
5.2       Least square means (± SE) of growth traits for the different genotypes of rabbits from 6 to 14 weeks of age
5.3       Effect of feed restriction on growth traits and mortality rates of rabbit
5.4       Interaction between genotype and feeding regime
5.5       Coefficient of phenotypic correlation for different traits in rabbits

CHAPTER SIX
6.0       SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1       Summary
6.2       Conclusion
6.3       Recommendations
REFERENCES



ABSTRACT

Data on 102 progeny of New Zealand White (NZ), Chinchilla (CH) and Dutch (DU) breeds of rabbits and their crossbreds obtained from birth to 14 weeks were used for this study. Genotype and feeding regime were the factors of interest. The genotypes were New Zealand White x New Zealand White (NZxNZ), Chinchilla×Chinchilla (CHxCH), Dutch×Dutch (DU×DU), New Zealand White x Chinchilla (NZxCH), New Zealand White x Dutch (NZxDU) and Chinchilla×Dutch (CHxDU).The feeding regime consists of ad libitum feeding (A), 14 hours feed restriction/day (B), 10 hours feed restriction/day (C) and 6 hours feed restriction/day (D). The experiment was conducted at the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) Skill Acquisition Farm, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria-Nigeria. The traits studied at pre-weaning were litter size at birth (LSB), litter weight at birth (LWB), litter size at week 2 (LSW2), litter body weight at week 2 (LBW2), litter size at week 4 (LSW4), litter body weight at week 4 (LBW4), litter size at week 6 (LSW6) and litter body weight at week 6 (LBW6). Traits studied after weaning were body weight (BW), body length (BL), chest girth (CG), head-to-shoulder(HS), shoulder-to-tail drop (ST), length of hind leg (LHL), ear length (EL) and height at withers (HTW). Data collected were subjected to Analysis of variance and correlation procedure in SAS and a fixed effect model was used for the analysis with significant means separated using Duncan Multiple Range Test. There were significant (P<0 .05="" 1086.25="" 10="" 1206.00="" 12="" 1401.75g="" 14="" 601.30="" 650.00g="" 688.62="" 6="" 705.37="" 730.75="" 751.00="" 772.67="" 8="" 910.00="" 941.30="" a="" ages.="" ages="" all="" among="" and="" at="" b="" be="" body="" by="" c="" chinchilla="" chxch="" chxdu="" coefficients="" correlated="" correlation="" could="" d="" differences="" different="" except="" feeding="" followed="" for="" from="" g="" genetic="" genotypes="" growth="" high="" improvement.="" in="" indicated="" lbw2="" lbw4="" lbw6="" low="" lwb="" mean="" most="" negatively="" not="" obtained="" of="" optimum="" other="" over="" parameters.="" performance="" positive.="" positively="" post-weaning="" regime="" respectively="" results="" same="" significantly="" studied="" suitable="" superior="" that="" the="" this="" to="" traits="" was="" week="" weights="" were="" which="" x="">0.05). It can be concluded that CHxCH genotype performed better in most of the post-weaning growth traits and rabbit farmers can use any of the feeding regimes especially during scarcity of feed and forages for rabbit feeding. The CHxCH is recommended for higher litter size and body weight at weaning while any of the feeding regimes can be adopted.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE
1.0       INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background information
1.2       Justification
1.3       Objectives
1.4       Hypothesis

CHAPTER TWO
2.0       LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Origin and Domestication of Rabbit
2.2       Anatomy of Rabbits
2.2.1    Musculoskeletal system
2.2.2    Dentition and oral cavity
2.2.3    Skin
2.2.4    Eyes and ears
2.2.5    Anatomy of the rabbit digestive tract
2.2.6    Respiratory system
2.2.7    The liver
2.2.8    Cardiovascular and urinary systems
2.3       Reproduction
2.3.1    Reproductive physiology of rabbits
2.3.2    Physiology of male reproductive system
2.4       Gestation Period
2.5       Lactation
2.6       Litter Size and Body Weight of Rabbits
2.6.1    Morphometric traits
2.7       Growth Traits in Rabbits
2.7.1    Pre-weaning performance of rabbits
2.7.2    Post-weaning growth of rabbits
2.8       Attributes and Importance of Rabbits
2.9       Breeds of Rabbit
2.9.1 The Chinchilla
2. 9.2 The New Zealand White
2.9.3 Dutch breed
2.10.    Rabbit Production and Management
2.11.    Rabbit Production Systems
2.12.    Nutrient Requirements of Rabbits
2.12.1 Crude protein
2.12.2 Energy
2.12.3 Crude fibre
2.12.4 Minerals and vitamins
2.12.5 Water as a nutrient for rabbits
2.13.    Rabbit Diseases
2.14.    Feed Restriction
2.14.1 Effect of feed restriction on body development
2.14.2 Effect of feed restriction on puberty characteristics

CHAPTER THREE
3.0       MATERIALS AND METHODS
3.1       Study Location
3.2       Experimental Animals
3.2.1 Source
3.2.2 Mating plan
3.2.3 Management and feeding regimes
3.3       Traits Measured
3.4       Experimental Design and Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR
4.0       RESULTS
4.1       Pre-weaning Performance of Rabbits
4.2       The least square means of growth traits for the different genotypes of rabbits from 6 to 14 weeks of age
4.3       The effect of feed restriction on growth and mortality rates of rabbit
4.4       Effect of interaction between the genotypes and the feeding regimes
4.5       Coefficients of correlation for growth traits for the six genotypes

CHAPTER FIVE
5.0       DISCUSSION
5.1       Pre-weaning Performance
5.2       Least square means (± SE) of growth traits for the different genotypes of rabbits from 6 to 14 weeks of age
5.3       Effect of feed restriction on growth traits and mortality rates of rabbit
5.4       Interaction between genotype and feeding regime
5.5       Coefficient of phenotypic correlation for different traits in rabbits

CHAPTER SIX
6.0       SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1       Summary
6.2       Conclusion
6.3       Recommendations
REFERENCES



CHAPTER ONE


1.0    INTRODUCTION


1.1  Background Information

Variations exist in the growth performance of different breeds of rabbit. These variations are attributed to genetic and environmental factors. Environmental variations result from managerial, climatic and nutritional factors. Ibe and Nwakalor (1987) indicated that body size and conformation traits are highly heritable traits. This suggests that differences are expected among different genotypes. Several genetic factors such as breed, litter size, weaning age and sex as well as non-genetic factors such as diseases, season, temperature, housing and feeding have been noted to influence post-weaning growth performance of rabbits (Afifi and Emara, 1988). The productivity of an animal is therefore, largely determined by the interaction between genotype and environment (Chineke and Owosangba, 1999). Post-weaning growth is important in the economics of rabbit production, since it influences the rate of attainment of market weight. Kabir et al. (2012) reported that New Zealand White rabbit were superior for litter size at birth and at weaning, but Chinchilla breed is the best for individual weight at birth and at weaning as well as milk yield and mothering ability. Body weight and body measurements are good indicators of growth performance in domestic animals including rabbits. Body weight and body measurements are used to characterize rabbit breeds, contrast variation in size and shape (Shahin and Hassan, 2000) and estimate carcass and body weight (Oliveira et al., 2005). Rabbits need less space and feed due to small body size, shorter generation interval, high prolificacy, faster growth and high feed conversion efficiency which are characteristics that...


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