Evaluation of rabbit breeds and crosses for overall commercial productivity Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8p58pg75p

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  • In two breeding experiments, straightbred and crossbred rabbits were evaluated for performance characters relating to reproduction, disease resistance, growth and carcass quality. In the first experiment, New Zealand White CNN) and Flemish Giant (FG) straightbreds and FG sire x (Florida White-New Zealand White dam) terminal-crossbreds (TX) were involved. Reproductive performance was generally lower for small crossbred compared to straightbred doe groups, which were similar. However, doe group comparisons based on total production per unit of building area were not made. For NN straightbreds compared to FG straightbred and TX groups, litter size was larger and litter weight was heavier at 56 d and feed intake was increased. Average daily gain and 56 d weight per rabbit were larger but mortality from respiratory diseases was higher for FG straightbreds, while performance was similar between NN and TX groups. Total mortality was lowest in TX compared to straightbred litters. From carcass appraisal investigations, FG-sired progeny had more favorable body composition than NN progeny. Comparisons of terminal-crosses to straightbred groups revealed crossbred advantages for body measurement and lean yield traits. In the second experiment, three sire breeds: Californian (CC), NN and FG and four dam genetic groups: CC and NN straightbreds and Californian x New Zealand White (CN) and New Zealand White xCalifornian (NC) reciprocal crossbred does were involved. In addition,two diets were fed to does and litters, either a commercial control diet or a 74% alfalfa diet. Preweaning and postweaning traits involving reproduction, disease resistance and litter growth were significantly influenced by straightbred doe, maternal heterosis, maternal breed and dietary effects, while sire breed effects on litter performance were more important during the postweaning phase. Important breed additive effects were found for carcass quality and lean yield traits. Maternal breed and heterotic and direct heterotic effects on carcass traits were generally of negligible importance. Carcass weights were heaviest in progeny of FG paternity and of crossbred dam maternity. Total meat percentage of carcasses was similar for all genetic groups evaluated. In conclusion, both experiments suggest the potential utilization of a large sire breed with straightbred or crossbred does of NN maternity to increase litter growth, disease resistance and slaughter weights of terminal-cross rabbits.
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