Free access | Research Article

The influence of sex and age on growth rate of domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Vida Korkor Lamptey, Julius Kofi Hagan, Bernard Ato Hagan, Francis Kruenti, Doris Yaa Osei

Published on: 30 Jun 2022 | DOI: | Volume: 9, Issue: 2 | Pages: 21-27 |

The experiment was conducted to measure the effect of age and sex on growth traits and their relationships in rabbits. 96 8-weeks-old (male and female) weaned composite rabbits were used in a completely randomized experiment. Data was analysed with the General Linear Model procedure of SAS (version 9.4). Differences between means were separated with the Tukey Comparison Method at 5% probability level. Body weight of the rabbits significantly increased as they grew from week 8 (577.51g) to 2090.51g in the 20th week. Sex had no significant effect on the rabbits’ body weight and post weaning average daily gain (PWADG) but the males were heavier than the females at all ages except the weaning age. There was medium to high positive correlation (r = 0.379 to r = 0.974) between body weights at all ages. The association between body weight and PWADG was negatively low in the younger animals, but the traits however had positive but low to medium correlation from week BW14 to BW20. Body weight of the does had low to high and positive correlations among the different ages. The younger does up to week 12 presented negative relationship between body weight and PWADG but from week 13 to week 20, the duo related positively. Body weight of the bucks had medium (0.455) to high (0.979) positive associations among the ages. Body weight and PWADG had negative correlation in the younger bucks up to week 13 except for week 12 (r = 0.051) but correlated positively in the older females from week 14. Growth rate is faster in younger rabbits than older ones and so younger rabbits must be managed adequately up to week 16 to boost their system for growth and to reach marketable sizes early. Bucks increase in weight faster than the does, and so must be housed separately to avoid bullying. For improved body weight, rabbits should be selected for breeding at a younger age.