Journal of Animal Health and Production

Research Article
J. Anim. Health Prod. 9(s1): 50-55
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Mohamed A.E. Omar, Marwa El-Shahat, Fardos A.M. Hassan*

Department of Animal Wealth Development, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, El-Zeraa St. 114; 44511-Zagazig, Egypt.

Abstract | A total of sixty, 4 week-old male New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits were used to explore the impact of stocking density on the performance, carcass characteristics, blood biomarkers, and economic indices in growing rabbits. All animals were kept in wire cages (50 length x 50 width x 40 cm high) in groups of 2, 4, and 6 rabbits/cage (represented 8, 16, and 24 rabbits/m2); each stocking density was replicated 5 times. A significantly lower body weight (1748.67, 1567.58 vs. 2017.83 g) and feed intake (5040.36, 4807.47 vs. 5107.41 g) with higher feed conversion (4.22, 4.77 vs. 3.53) were observed in rabbits stocked 16 and 24 rabbits/m2 compared to 8 rabbits/m2, respectively (P < 0.01). No statistical variation (P > 0.05) was found in percentages of skin, full stomach, full intestine, head, and carcass parts under different stocking densities. However, a significantly lower dressing out and liver percentage (52.42 and 5.12 %, respectively) was recorded in rabbits stocked at 24 rabbits/m2 than other groups (P < 0.001). Rabbits stocked at 24 rabbits/m2 had the lowest values of RBCs counts, Hb, and PCV (P < 0.01). The levels of total protein, globulin, urea, and creatinine were significantly lower in the group of 24 rabbits/m2 than those of 8 and 14 rabbits/m2 (P < 0.05). The total and net revenue was significantly decreased and the cost-benefit ratio was increased from 0.61 to 0.77 as the number of rabbits increased from 8 to 24 rabbits/m2 (P < 0.001). It can be concluded that high stocking density adversely affects rabbit performance and profitability.

Keywords | Performance, Carcass traits, Cost analysis, Rabbits