The Influence of Shearing on Reproduction in Angora Rabbits


Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the optimum time and the conditions of mating for Angora rabbits. The study was initiated with 60 French Angora rabbits (53 does and 7 bucks). All animals were kept in individual cages under the same environmental conditions. The does were divided into 6 groups: does in group 1 were mated a week before the shearing, does in group 2 were mated during the shearing period, does in group 3 were mated a week after shearing, does in group 4 were mated a month after shearing and does in group 5 were mated 2 months after shearing. The sixth group was considered the control group and the does in this group were mated every other day. The does were shorn approximately once every 3 or 4 months and the bucks were shorn at 7-week intervals. The experiments were conducted throughout the 4 seasons of the year. Mating rates, frequency of matings, gestation rates in mated rabbits, gestation lengths, litter size, number of litter losses during the week after the parturition, the number of surviving female and male litters, live weights before and after shearing of the does, and the wool quantity and fibre length measures were recorded. Mating rates and gestation rates observed in the rabbits in groups 1- 6 were as follows in spring 77.7%-44.4%, 88.8%-66.6%, 77.7%-55.5%, 88.8%-55.5%, 66.6%-44.4% and 100%-100%; in autumn 77.7%-55.5%, 88.8%-66.6%, 88.8%-55.5%, 100% -66.6%, 88.8%-44.4% and 100%-100%; in winter 66.6%-55.5%, 100%-88.8%, 88.8%-88.8%, 88.8%-66.6%, 88.8%-66.6% and 100%-88.8%; and in summer 55.5%-33.3%, 88.8%-88.8%, 77.7%-77.7%, 44.4%-33.3%, 55.5%-44.4% and 88.8%-77.7%, respectively. The parturitions of the animals in group 6 were spread over a period of 3–4 weeks, whereas those in the other groups took place over 4 days. The findings indicated that shearing significantly affected the fertility of Angora rabbits mated in summer (P < 0.05), but did not affect the matings in other seasons. On the other hand, shearing did not influence the litter size or the gestation length measures in any of the groups.

Keywords: Angora rabbit, shearing, reproduction

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