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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2002;15(6): 812-820.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2002.812    Published online January 1, 2002.
Effect of Different Seasons on the Performance of Grey Giant Rabbits under Sub-Temperate Himalayan Conditions
R. S. Bhatt, S. R. Sharma, Umesh Singh, Davendra Kumar, V. Bhasin
An experiment was conducted on 190 progeny (winter -74; summer -59; rainy -57) of 12 Grey Giant rabbits (10 female +2 males), to assess the effect of different seasons in a year, on their reproductive, growth and productive performances along with feed efficiency, under sub-temperate Himalayan conditions. The daily meteorological attributes recorded during winter (October to March), summer (April to June) and rainy (July to September) seasons, and analysed were minimum and maximum temperature, relative humidity and rainfall. Various biological parameters recorded were doe weights at mating and kindling, litter size at birth, litter weight at birth, kit mortality, litter size at weaning, litter weight at weaning, weekly body weight up to 98 d and weaner mortality. Individual weight gains, dressing percentages, meat weights, liver weights, raw-pelt weights, processed pelt weights and processed pelt areas at slaughter on d 84 and 98, respectively were also recorded. The feed and fodder compositions and their nutritive values during different seasons were also analysed. Average ambient temperature during winter, summer and rainy seasons were 13.2 2.8, 22.4 3.7 and 24.8 2.3 C, respectively. The average relative humidity and total rainfall for winter, summer and rainy seasons were 68.9 1.5% and 48 26.6mm, 66.3 4.8% and 125.6 56.8 mm, and 77.3 1.3% and 116.3 90.4 mm, respectively. The weight of doe at mating and kindling, litter size at birth, litter weight at birth and litter size at weaning were comparatively higher whereas litter weight at weaning was significantly (p<0.05) higher during winter as compared to summer and rainy seasons. The kit mortality was significantly (p<0.05) higher during winter while the weaner mortality was significantly (p<0.05) higher during rainy season. At 84 d, the live weight per doe, slaughter weight, dressing percentage and liver weight were significantly (p<0.05) higher during winter than summer and rainy. Similarly, the gain in weight and meat weight at 84 and 98 d were significantly (p<0.05) higher during winter. The weight of raw pelt and processed pelt were recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher during winter while no difference in the area of processed pelts during different seasons could be observed. No difference in the biological performance could be observed between sexes in any of the seasons. Roughage analysis revealed comparatively higher crude protein percent and lower crude fibre percent during summer and rainy seasons than in winter. The roughage dry matter intake was comparatively higher during summer and rainy seasons vis-a-vis constant amount of concentrate supplied during all the three seasons. The digestibilities of dry matter was significantly (p<0.05) lower, whereas that of crude fiber, acid detergent fibre and cellulose were negative during winter. Interestingly, the feed:gain was exceedingly well during winter than in other seasons and it is concluded that it was the best season for production of rabbits under sub-temperate Himalayan conditions.
Keywords: Carcass Traits; Feed Efficiency; Growth; Rabbit; Reproduction; Seasons

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