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Effect of weaning age on behaviour and production performances of New Zealand White rabbit does in tropical climatic condition

Authors:

R. M. A. S. Bandara ,

Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, 70140, LK
About R. M. A. S.
Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
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T. S. Samarakone,

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, 20400, LK
About T. S.
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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M. P. S. Magamage,

Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, 70140, LK
About M. P. S.
Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
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M. P. B. Wijayagunawardane

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, 20400, LK
About M. P. B.
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

Artificial weaning induces stress in animals which is a welfare concern. Rearing temperate rabbit breeds in the tropics in addition may cause stress to them. This study assessed the effect of weaning on stress (based on behaviour), subsequent body development and production performances (litter weight at birth, litter size and gestation period) of New Zealand White rabbit does under tropical climatic condition. Fifteen nulliparous rabbit does were divided into three treatment groups (n = 5) corresponding to three different weaning ages of litters (T1= weaning at 21 days. T2 = weaning at 35 days and T3 = weaning at 49 days). The experiment was conducted up to the third parity in each doe while providing one week of resting period between the parities. Data were analysed by General Linear Model procedure of SAS. Decreased lying and increased grooming itself were observed following weaning in all 3 treatments (P<0.05). Some other behaviours were affected with different weaning ages. Does weaned at 21 days and 35 days were able to start to recover their negative energy balance during the resting period. However, multiparous does weaned at 49 days exhibited negative growth rate even after weaning. There were no significant differences (P>0.05) in the production parameters of the does (litter weight at birth, litter size in consecutive weeks up to a ninth week and average gestation length) among the treatments. Results revealed that weaning induced changes in behaviour of the rabbit does. Weaning age affected on recovering of the negative energy balance of the rabbit does in lactation.
How to Cite: Bandara, R.M.A.S., Samarakone, T.S., Magamage, M.P.S. and Wijayagunawardane, M.P.B., 2022. Effect of weaning age on behaviour and production performances of New Zealand White rabbit does in tropical climatic condition. AGRIEAST: Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 16(1), pp.41–55. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/agrieast.v16i1.110
Published on 18 Aug 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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