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PROJECT TOPIC: EFFECT OF LITTER SIZE ON THE BODY WEIGHT OF RABBIT

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTIONDomestic rabbits are of the descendants of oryctolagus cunniculus specie that is native to the western Mediterranean basin. The rabbit was domesticated recently with most breeds being developed by humans and are not older than 300 years (Lebas and Colin, 1992).The rabbit has being used as an experimental animal in genetics and reproductive physiology since the beginning of the century but it was not until 1950 that the first findings on quantitative genetics were published. To upgrade the performance of rabbits, breeders should use local rabbits, either native or imported populations that have been locally adapted and make use of genetic variability that is available (source). Priority should be given to research on rural and backyard rabbit production since they require little investment and by using local resources that will be reasonable for production (Finzi, 1992). The most strategy of any mammal is to produce offspring and thereby perpetuate the species. Therefore if the high demand for meat in future years will have to be met, much of the increase in production would have to come from short cycle animal such as rabbit which have gestation period between 30-32days and a rapid growth rate that makes it ready for breeding at five (5) months of age and under good management conditions which compares favourable with the growth rate of other animals such as chicken (FAO, 1991).



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