Print version ISSN 1405-3195
GONZALEZ-REDONDO, Pedro; NEGRETTI, Paolo and FINZI, Alessandro. Adoption of kits at different litter sizes in an alternative rabbit rearing system. Agrociencia [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.3, pp. 275-282. ISSN 1405-3195.
There has hardly been done any research into adoption of kits in alternative rabbit farms with few does, where the occurrence of few grouped births makes it difficult to standardize litter size. The objective of this study was to research into the effect of litter standardization to different numbers of kits on mortality of kits in an alternative rearing system of Leprino of Viterbo breed in semi-underground cells. Three hundred and fourteen litters, obtained between February 2006 and May 2007 on an Italian commercial farm, were the experimental units. The number of kits after birth, of kits donated or received in adoption, of kits in litter after adoption, and mortality until weaning were recorded. An analysis of variance and contingency tables were made, calculating chi-square tests. Fifty-eight point six percent of the litters were standardized, 53.8 % of them receiving kits. The most frequent litter size after standardization was 8 kits; also there were litters to 7 and 9 kits. There were no differences (p>0.05) in pre-weaning mortality for any litter size after adoption, in proportion of litters weaning all the kits present after adoption, neither of those where one, two, three, or more kits die during lactation, with respect to the litters having donated, received, or kept the same number of live-born kits. In alternative rabbit farms, it is viable to standardize the litters to different sizes, especially between 7 and 9 kits, without affecting their mortality.
Keywords : Oryctolagus cuniculus; adoption; rabbit; Leprino of Viterbo; pre-weaning mortality; alternative production.