Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




The aim of the research was to investigate the effects of different stocking densities on fattening performance, slaughter, carcass, meat quality characteristics, and fatty acid composition in New Zealand rabbits raised in cage conditions and also determine the ideal housing frequency so that yields were not adversely affected. In the study, 36 New Zealand rabbits were used. After weaning, the fattening was started and rabbits were put into cages at different stocking densities as 1 rabbit/cage, 2 rabbits/cage, and 3 rabbits/ cage. The live weight of rabbits and feed consumption data were taken every week. At the end of 8 weeks of fattening, slaughtering was carried out and slaughter weights of the rabbits were recorded. The internal organ weights and hot carcass weights were determined. After 24 h, chilled carcass weight and reference carcass weight were defined. As quality parameters of meat; pH, color, cooking loss, water holding capacity, drip loss, and fatty acid composition were determined. In the results of the study, 3 rabbits/cage group had the lowest final live weight (2353.60 g) and daily live weight gain (25.62 g) but 1 rabbit/cage group had the lowest feed conservation ratio (3.56) (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in dressing out percentage, hot, chilled, and reference carcass weight. Head and hind part percentages were higher for 2 rabbits/cage and 3 rabbits/cage groups (p < 0.05). Stocking density had no relationship between meat quality and fatty acid composition data except b* value for the longissimus dorsi muscle measured at the 24$^{th}$ h and for the biceps femoris muscle measured at the 0$^{th}$ h (p < 0.05). In conclusion, 1 rabbit/cage and 2 rabbits/cage groups had better fattening performance values comparing the 3 rabbits/cage group because of movement area, social and hierarchical behavior between rabbits and advised for laboratory and commercial rabbit breeding for uniformity and profitability.


Cage, fatty acid composition, meat quality, rabbit, stocking density

First Page


Last Page