Different rearing systems for fattening rabbits: Performance and carcass characteristics.

Department of Animal Science, University of Torino, via L. da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy.
Meat Science (Impact Factor: 2.23). 01/2009; 82(2):200-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2009.01.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate the effect of different rearing systems and sex on productive performance and carcass composition and quality, 80 rabbits (40 males and 40 females) of Carmagnola breed were reared from 9 to 16 weeks of age in individual California type cages (0.12m(2)) or in group ground pens (0.25m(2)/head). The animals were kept in standard and uniform environmental conditions and fed the same ad libitum pellet feed. Data on live weight and feed intake were recorded. At the end of the fattening period 10 animals per group were slaughtered and data provided in the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA) standard method were collected, as well as pH and meat colour. Animals reared in ground pens showed lower productive performances, while, as to slaughtering performances, rabbits reared in cages showed the highest slaughtering weight and also the highest weights for most body parts. Gender slightly affected productive and slaughtering performances: females showed higher feed consumption and higher perirenal fat weight than males. Meat colour parameters showed significant differences in Longissimus lumborum and Biceps femoris due to housing systems and gender effects. In both muscle, rearing system affected pH only 24h after slaughter.

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