rabbit crosses, litter size, weight gain, carcass yield.
Objective: Evaluate the growth performance and carcass characteristics as well as the individual and maternal heterosis effects of New Zealand White (NZB), California (CA) rabbits and their crosses.
Design/methodology/approach: 450 offspring rabbits, from 48 females mated to 6 stud rabbits, were evaluated, recording the weight (PNC) and litter size at birth (TCN) and at weaning (TCD), as well as, and weight (PMS), weight gain (GMD), consumption (CMS), and feed conversion (CONV) for during 8 weeks post-weaning. The carcass live weight at slaughter, warm carcass weight with head, carcass yield, and carcass parts of the carcass were evaluated.
Results: Showed differences (p <0.05) in TCN and TCD with values of 10.47 and 9.03 kits, respectively. When NZB was used as the paternal breed, obtaining an individual heterosis of 5.91% for litter size and 12.44% for weaning weight. In the productive performance and carcass characteristics, the superiority of the California breed as a paternal breed was evidenced, with average values of 36.05 g in GMD and 2.95 kg in CONV. The average
individual weight at the end of the fattening, at 70 days of age, was 2.09 kg and the weight of the carcass 1.16 kg. Post-weaning heterosis for the characteristics evaluated during fattening was were positive and moderate.
Limitations on study/implications: It is necessary to carry out genetic improvement studies, with different crossing systems and to evaluate results based on the productive and reproductive behavior.
Findings/conclusions: in reproductive characteristics, when using NZB as a
paternal breed, the offspring are superior to those obtained from CA; while in
the productive variables, the offspring from CA show superior results.