Factors influencing does milk production and their implication for kit performance in rabbits
Keywords:Genotype, Non genetic factors, Performance, Milk, Rabbit
AbstractRabbit milk yield and chemical composition is determined by various factors. Growth rate and body weight gain are good indicators of kitsdoe’s maternal behavior, especially in milk production. Generally, it is pronounced that growth and survival of kits towards weaning is the most important stage related to does milking potential. However, it is important to note that lactation curves vary with breed, notwithstanding milk production being influenced by various factors. Clearly, it has been observed that apart from genotype being a dominant factor in influencing milk production in rabbits, there are other factors such as nutrition, parity, stage of lactation, litter size etc. which have also been implicated. In this aspect, appropriate knowledge on factors that influence does milking capacity is essential for improved performance in rabbits. Provision of adequate nutritional requirements of nursed kits through dam’s milk is essential for maximum growth, development and survival. In the early stage of growth until weaning, does milk is the exclusive source of nutrients to support the pertinent needs for maintenance and growth in rabbits. The accelerated growth preceding weaning can be ascribed to the doe’s energy rich milk that is significant in both fat and protein and low lactose. An increase in milk intake, can improve kits growth traits and may also transcribe to heavier final market weight and financial gains. It is reasonable to suggest that to enhance kits nutritional intake, the mother should produce adequate milk. On the other hand, milk production increases with increased litter size, while high total milk yield is registered in winter followed by autumn. Milk production increase firmly during the seven parity and decline from that time forward. Crossbreeding promote favorable and positive heterotic influence on milk yield and composition. There is a predictable positive correlation of does milking capacity and productive traits. The purpose of this review is to discuss the factors that influence milk production in does and their implication for rabbit performance.
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