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INTRODUCTION The domestic rabbit is descended from the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), which originally occurred mainly in south-west Europe, but did not occur in central Europe. Some 2000 years ago the Romans kept rabbits in enclosure , 'leporaria', for their meat. This method was later also used in France and England; it served to meet the desire for hunting. The first wild rabbits came to Germany around 1300, and they were kept on the island of Amrum. Real domestication was completed in the Middle Ages, initially in France, by keeping them in enclosures. The first books on this animal species also appeared here. Domestic rabbits were kept in Germany from the middle of the twelfth century, i.e. before the wild form. They were still kept very extensively in enclosures. Soon after the animals became domesticated, the first different colours and forms appeared. At the end of the eighteenth century there were already several breeds, including the Angora rabbit and animals with lop ears. Currently there are about 80 breeds with approximately 200 colour strains, which can be divided into five groups depending on size and hair length. In addition, there are breeds which do not fit into the normal clas ification, as well as new breeds. Rabbits have a fairly long body. The neck is short, the head fairly long with long ears. Short tail, wool-covered and close to the body. Soft hair, varying in length. The individual breeds differ in colouring, size, form, and hair structure. There are dozens of different colours and colour combinations of white, grey, blue, yellow and black. Lop ears and Angora wool are prominent physical features of individual breeds. Adult rabbits weigh between 1 and 8 kg. They occur alJ over the world and are often feral. Insofar as rabbits are not kept for pleasure, they are mainly kept for meat. All large and medium-sized breeds are suitable for meat, especially the New Zealand, Chinchilla, Large Silver, Viennese and Aries rabbits.The pelts of Short-haired (Rex rabbits) and Fox rabbits are made into furs. The hair is used in hatting. The wool of the Angora rabbit make extremely soft, warm clothing. Rabbit dropppings are a valuable natural fertiliser in areas far from agriculture. The rabbit is one of the most frequently used animals for experin1ents. Dwarf rabbits are often kept as house pets, although it is often difficult to reconcile the different

Scientific classification Kingdom: :Animalia

Superphylum : Chordata Phylum: : Vertebrata

Class: Order: Family: Genera

Mammalia Lagomorpha

1. Pentalagus 2. Bunolagus 3. Nesolagus 4. Romerolagus 5. Brachylagus 6. Sylvilagus 7. Oryctolagus 8. Poelagus SECTION F - FANCY BREEDS No F.1 Angora F.2 Dutch F.3 Dutch Tri-coloured (R.V.) Breed No F.7 F.8 F.9 F.10 F.11 F.12 Breed Hare Belgian Hare Tan Harlequin Himalayan Lionhead Netherland Dwarf No F.13 F.14 F.15 F.16 F.17 F.18 Breed Polish Rhinelander (R.V.) Silver Tan Thrianta (R.V.) Tri-coloured English (R.V.)

F.4 English F.5 Flemish Giant F.6 Giant Papillon (R.V.) SECTION L - LOP BREEDS No L.1 Breed Lop Cashmere

No L.4

Breed Lop English Lop French Lop German

No L.7 L.8 L.9

Breed Lop Meissner (R.V.) Lop Miniature Lop Miniature Lion

L.2 Lop Cashmere Miniature L.5 L.3 Lop Dwarf L.6

NORMAL FUR BREEDS No N.1 N.2 N.3 N.4 N.5 N.6 N.7 N.8 N.9 N.10 Breed Alaska Argente Bleu Argente Brun Argente Crème Argente de Champagne Argente Noir Beige (R.V.) Beveren Blanc de Bouscat (R.V.) Blanc de Hotot (R.V.) No N.16 N.17 N.18 N.19 N.20 N.21 N.22 N.23 N.24 N.25 Breed Continental Giant coloured Continental Giant white Deilenaar (R.V.) Fox - Silver Golden Glavcot (R.V) Havana Hulstlander (R.V.) Lilac NZ White, black, blue NZ Red No N.31 N.32 N.33 N.34 N.35 N.36 N.37 N.38 N.39 N.40 Breed Siberian Smoke Pearl Squirrel (R.V.) Sussex (R.V.) Swiss Fox (R.V.) Thuringer (R.V.) Vienna Coloured (R.V.) Vienna White (R.V.) Wheaten (R.V.) Wheaten Lynx (R.V.)


Blanc de Termonde (R.V.)


Perlfee (R.V.)


Fauve de Bourgogne (R.V.)


British Giant


Pointed Beveren (R.V.) Siamese Sable - Marten Sable Sallander (R.V.)


Argente St Hubert

N.13 N.14

Californian Chinchilla

N.28 N.29


Miniature Satin


Chinchilla Giganta



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 General standard Self: black, blue, ermine, havana, lilac, nutria Shaded: sable siamese, seal siamese, smoke pearl, smoke pearl marten, tortoiseshell Tan pattern: fawn, fox, sable marten, seal marten, orange, otter, tan Agouti pattern:castor, chinchilla, cinnamon, lynx, opal Other varieties: dalmatian, harlequin, himalayan, silver seal, satin rex Rough coated: astrex Rough coated: opossum Mini rex Mini rex broken

(BRC et al) Classification of breeds based on body size
Breed Weight Size Body Type Fur

American American Chinchilla American Fuzzy Lop American Sable Belgian Hare Beveren Blanc de Hotot Britannia Petite Californian Champagne d‟Argent Checkered Giant Cinnamon Creme d‟Argent Dutch Dwarf Hotot

10-11 lbs 9-11 lbs 3.5-3.75 lbs 8-9 lbs 6-9.5 lbs 8-11 lbs 8-11 lbs 2.5 lbs 8-10 lbs 9-11 lbs 11.5+ lbs 8-11 lbs 8-11 lbs 3-5 lbs 2.5-3 lbs

Large Large Small Medium Medium Large Large Small Large Large Giant Large Large Small Small

Semi Arch Commercial Compact Commercial Full Arch Semi Arch Commercial Full Arch Commercial Commercial Full Arch Commercial Commercial Compact Compact

Flyback Rollback Wool Rollback Flyback Rollback Rollback Flyback Flyback Flyback Flyback Flyback Flyback Flyback Rollback




Body Type


English Angora English Lop English Spot Flemish Giant Florida White French Angora French Lop Giant Angora Gaint Chinchilla Harlequin Havana Himalayan Holland Lop Jersey Wooly Lilac Mini Lop Mini Rex Mini Satin Netherland Dwarf New Zealand Palomino Polish Rex Rhinelander Satin Satin Angora Silver Silver Fox Silver Marten Standard Chinchilla Tan Thrianta

6-9 lbs 9-10 lbs 6-8 lbs 13+ lbs 4-6 lbs 6-9 lbs 10.5-11 lbs 9-11 lbs 12-15 lbs 6.5-9 lbs 4.5-6 lbs 3-5 lbs 3-4 lbs 3-3.5 lbs 5.5-7.5 lbs 4.5-6 lbs 3-4.5 lbs 3-6 lbs 2-2.5 lbs 9-11 lbs 9-10 lbs 2.5-3.5 lbs 7-9 lbs 6-9 lbs 9-11 lbs 6-9 lbs 4-6 lbs 9-11 lbs 6-9 lbs 5-7 lbs 4-6 lbs 7-9 lbs

Medium Large Medium Giant Small Medium Large Large Giant Medium Small Small Small Small Medium Small Small Small Small Large Large Small Medium Medium Large Medium Small Large Medium Medium Small Medium

Compact Semi Arch Full Arch Semi Arch Compact Commercial Commercial Commercial Semi Arch Commercial Compact Cylindrical Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Commercial Commercial Compact Commercial Full Arch Commercial Commercial Compact Commercial Commercial Compact Full Arch Compact

Wool Flyback Flyback Rollback Flyback Wool Flyback Wool Flyback Flyback Flyback Flyback Rollback Wool Rollback Rollback Rex Satin Rollback Flyback Flyback Flyback Rex Flyback Satin Wool Flyback Rollback Flyback Rollback Flyback Rollback

Weights: First off the weights are estimated, the fact of the matter is- some rabbits of the same breed grow to be different sizes than others. I also want to point out that I do not own every breed of rabbit, so much of the data displayed above is based upon research I have preformed. Size: Grouped the rabbit breeds listed above by size based upon the following standards:  Small  Medium  Large  Giant 2-6lbs 6-9lbs 11lbs 11 lbs +

The size groupings above are based upon estimated breed weight, not your individual animal(s). BREEDS AVAILABLE IN INDIA 1. Soviet Chinchilla This breed was evolved in erstwhile USSR. Adults weigh 4.5 to 5 kg. Though this breed is reared for meat its fur is a fancy in fur crafts. The Giant Chinchilla Rabbit is one of the few rabbit breeds that was created in America. Before the English breed known as the Chinchilla Giaganta, which incidentally, corresponds to the so called "Heavy-Weight" or American Chinchilla and not to be our own being exibited in shows throughout the Middle West. Now the breed is called the Million Dollar Rabbit.

2. Grey Giant This breed is also a native of erstwhile USSR. Adults weigh 4.5 to 5 kg. Due to the resemblance of its fur with that of hare, it is often mistaken as hare. It is also reared for meat and fur skin.

3. New Zealand Breed Three colours  White  Red  Black Although, cross breeding can result in many different combinations of these three basic pigmentations. There are efforts with certificates of development on a blue and broken variety. The Red has bright golden red fur with a slightly harsher fat. One of the larger breed of rabbit, it can weight anywhere from 9 lb. to 12 lb (5 kg). New Zealands are a breed that makes a wonderful house pet. They may be easily litter trained, and are generally less destructive than some other breeds. "Bunny-proofing" the home should still be done with caution, however, since a bored bunny will still find things to chew on. Some adult New Zealands does can be more aggressive than males although not all females are aggressive. The aggressiveness is caused from not being spayed. 3. New Zealand White  This breed was evolved in England.  It is an albino animal with white fur.  The eye colour is red due to the absence of melanin pigment.  Adult weight is 4.5 to 5 kg. Meat and fur skin are the main products.  New Zealand Whites are popular rabbits as pets, in the show ring, and unfortunately in the laboratory and meat/fur farm.

 New Zealand White Rabbits are easily distinguished by their relatively large and solid bodies covered in dense white fur, their upstanding white ears, and their red eyes.  New Zealand Whites have become the poster child of the Easter Season, and are often depicted as being the Easter Bunny. The name "New Zealand White" is a bit of a misnomer however, as New Zealand Whites were originally bred in America. They were destined for the meat and fur trade even at their inception, and fate has not been much kinder with their widespread use in laboratories. However, as with many animals bred to be slaughtered or tested on, the New Zealand White Rabbit has a cheerful and friendly disposition. They are affectionate, intelligent, and one of the easier breeds to teach tricks. These factors make the New Zealand White an ideal pet choice, as unlike many of the other rabbit breeds, they are less likely to be standoffish and aggressive. Generally New Zealand White Rabbits grow to the following sizes: Buck: 4 - 5 kgs / 9 - 11 lbs Doe: 4.5 - 5.5 kgs / 10 - 12 lbs

4. White Giant White Giant also originated in the erstwhile Soviet Union. It is almost similar in appearance to New Zealand White with white fur and red eyes. The length of hind limbs as well as body size is larger than that of New Zealand White.

5. Angora The Angora rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft wool. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara (historically known

as Angora), Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with Frenchroyalty in the mid 18th century, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 20th century. They are bred largely for their long Angora wool, which may be removed by shearing, combing, or plucking. There are many individual breeds of Angora rabbits, four of which are recognized by ARBA; English, French, Giant, and Satin. Other breeds include German, Chinese, Swiss, and Finnish.Angora is a very ancient breed of small rabbit weighing around 3 kilograms. It is a wool type rabbit with white fur. Annual wool yield recorded is between 300-1000g in 3 to 4 clippings.

 

Weight: 9–10 lbs ARBA-accepted varieties: Standard (Pointed White)

The Californian was initially bred from crosses between Chinchilla, Himalayan, and New Zealand rabbits in the 1920s, with the intent of creating a better commercial meat rabbit. It was first brought to the UK from the United States in the 1950s.These are very popular in the commercial rabbit breeding industry. also a popular pet rabbit in the united states and often used in 4-H shows throughout the country. The color of the points on the ears, feet, and tail can be black, chocolate, blue, lilac or grey

6. Cross-breeds The crosses between the above mentioned breeds have been produced. They are found to be highly adaptive to Kerala conditions. The adult weigh 4 to 4.5 kg and breeds all through the year. Colour of fur is not uniform REPRODUCTION  Breeding males required – 1 male for 10 females (minimum 2 males for an unit)  Age at which first bred – Small breeds - 4 months age (Polish, Dutch)  Medium breed - 5 to 6 months (Newzealand White,Chinchilla)  Characteristics of oestrum – Polyoestrous (any time).  A female rabbit appears to have no definite oestrus cycle although a certain rhythm exists in their sexual receptivity.  Cycle lasts for about 12 days of which 2- 4 days are non receptive.

 Signs of heat – Congested, purple and moist vulva, restlessness, rubbing the chin on the sides of the cage, lying in mating posture and lifting the tail.  Mating behavior – The doe is always taken to the buck‟s cage for mating, and if the doe is receptive, it will lift the tail and within a minute the buck will be mating the doe.  Mating is successful when the buck falls to one side or backwards after mating.  Ovulation – Ovulation occurs 10 - 13 hours after copulation  Pseudo pregnancy/ – Pseudopregnancy in rabbit may result from sterile copulation false pregnancy and lasts for 16 to 17 days. At the end of this period she may pull hair from her body and attempt to make nest and shows development of uterus and mammary gland.  Gestation period – 28 -34 days (average 30 days)  Pregnancy diagnosis – The methods adopted to determine the state of pregnancy are weight gain method and the „palpation technique‟.  The palpation technique is the most reliable method if done by an experienced person.  Palpation technique – A completely relaxed doe should be placed on a table and should be restrained by gently holding the fold of skin behind ears and over the shoulders. The left hand is placed under the body between the hind legs and in front of the pelvis.  Embryos can be located and felt like small marble shaped bodies slipping backwards between thumb and fingers when moved gently in a sideways direction.  An experienced person can determine pregnancy by 8th to 10th day of mating using his technique.  Litter size – 6-8 kits  Weaning – 4-6 weeks (depending on weight of bunnies) Kindling interval – 2 1/2 to 3 months (it may be as short as one month if bred Immediately following kindling) ECONOMIC TRAITS IN RABBITS The traits of rabbit which are instrumental in giving financial benefits to the farmer are called as economic traits of rabbits. The performance of rabbits in these traits is the basis for selection of breeding animals. These traits are, 1. Litter size at birth All the young ones of a kindling constitute a litter. Litter size at birth for the doe is one of the haracters which contributes for the economic returns from rabbit rearing. The optimum value should be eight. Some of the kits will be born dead and that should be considered.

2. Average birth weight of kits Usually birth weight of kits will be more if number of kits in the litter is less and vice-versa. For survivability of the kits, it should have at least 40 gms body weight at the time of birth. Average birth weight of kits of a litter in broiler rabbits should be 40-50 gms or more. 3. Litter weight at 21 day age (three weeks) The young kits depend fully on their mother for first 10-12 days of their life. At this time their eyes are not open and the sole feed is mother‟s milk. If the doe is good in its mothering ability the survivability growth of bunnies will be more. The litter weight at three weeks age is taken as criteria for measurement of mothering ability of the doe. The optimum value for litter weight at 21 days age is 1.2 - 1.5 kg. 4. Litter size at 21 days This trait is also equally important in measuring the mothering ability of doe. The does selected for breeding must have at least six bunnies in the litter at 21st day. 5. Weaning weight of litter The young bunnies are weaned between 25 days and 35 days. The weaning weight of the litter is an important selection criterion. At the time of weaning the body weight of bunnies should be more than 450 gms. Litter weight at weaning must be more than 3 kg. 6. Litter size at weaning At least 5-6 bunnies should be available from each litter at the time of weaning. More number of weaned bunnies is always advantageous for the farmer. 7. Number of kindling’s per year per doe: The gestation period of does is thirty days. Number of kindling‟s from a doe per year depends on many factors like weaning age, time of maturing, etc. Under our conditions it is advisable to breed the does within a week of weaning. So if weaning is practiced at thirty days, there should be five litters for weaning from each breeding doe. Number of weaned bunnies per year per doe. This is another economically important trait. If five to six bunnies are available for weaning from each litter and if five litters are produced by the doe per year, the number of weaned bunnies from the doe per year should be 25. 8. Number of weaned bunnies available from doe per year This is another economically important trait. If five to six bunnies are available for weaning from each litter and if five litters are produced by the doe per year, the number of weaned bunnies from the doe per year should be 25.

9. Growth Rate The basic principle of broiler rabbit industry is to exploit the feed efficiency ofbroiler rabbits. It is practically impossible to record daily the feed given to each and every rabbit. Hence the number of days taken to attain 2 kg body weight is taken as a yard stick for growth. Animals who attain 2 kg body weight at lower age are assumed to be better convertors of feed and are selected as breeding animal. 10.Feed conversion efficiency: The basic principle of broiler rabbit industry is to exploit the feed efficiency of broiler rabbits. It is practically impossible to record daily the feed given to each and every rabbit. Hence the number of days taken to attain 2 kg body weight is taken as a yardstick for feed conversion efficiency. Animals who attain 2 kg body weight at lower age are assumed to be better converters of feed and are selected as breeding animal.. POSSIBLE CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF COMMERCIAL MEAT STOCK 1. Number of teats on doe 2. Temperment of doe 3. Life performance of the doe I. II. III. Number of litters Number of young in total Total weight of all young one at 21 datys

4. Pregnancy rate 5. Young 1) Number of born alive/dead 2) Number surviving to 7days 3) Number of alive at slaughter 4) Weight in 21 days 5) Weight at slaughter total feed consumption to weaning 6) Total feed consumption to slaughter 7) Carcass conformation and quality 8) Carcass fat- distribution and colour 9) Carcass dressing-out Systems of breeding There is a veriety of different breeding systems adopted by rabbit breeders.The commenest is ‘‘ like to like”mating.No system is ideal for the all purposes, and the particular system the breeder adopts will depend upon his or her requirement

Different systems of breeding in rabbit 1 Inbreeding Inbreeding is defined as mating between animals which are more closely related to each other than the average relationship between all individuals of the population. 2.Line breeding Line breeding is a form of inbreeding in which the relationship of an individual or individuals is kept as close as possible to an admired or outstanding ancestor. The ancestor is usually a male because a male can produce more number of progenies during its life time than a female. Merits of line breeding (i) Line breeding should be practised in pure bred population of a high degree of excellence after identifying outstanding individuals. (ii) Line breeding is probably most useful when the outstanding sire is dead or not available for breeding purposes. (iii) Line breeding also builds up homozygosity and prepotency like other kinds of inbreeding. (iv) When progress by inbreeding comes to standstill line breeding makes additional progress possible. (v) It can be practised to distinguish a breed into families or lines. (vi) Line breeding is useful where there is much epistasis i.e. by producing different line and crossing these lines for combining ability or nicking ability.

3.Like to like breeding If mated pairs are of the same phenotype more often than would occur by chance it is called as assortative mating. Positive assortative mating tends to create more genetic and phenotypic variation in the offspring generation than would be found in a comparable randomly mated population. The consequence of assortative mating with a single locus in terms of genotypic frequencies among the progeny is to increase the frequencies of homozygotes and reduce that of heterozygotes. It results in subdividing the population into groups and mating takes place more frequently within than between the groups. e.g. Large animal x Large animal

Medium animal x Medium animal Small animal x Small animal

4.Corrective Breeding Synomyms a. Negative Assortative Mating b. Disassortative Mating c. Unlike Mating If mated pairs are of the same phenotype less often than would occur by chance is called as disassortative mating. It is mating of individuals of unlike phenotype. Negative assortative mating tends to decrease variation and increase phenotypic uniformity in the population. This is also called as “Corrective mating”. homozygotes in the population. e.g. excellent Large animal Large animal Small animal x weak character x Small animal x Medium animal x Medium animal It leads to increase the heterozygotes and reduce

5.Cross breeding The mating of animals from different established breeds is called crossbreeding. The progeny produced is called crossbred. Crossbreeding is done for the following purposes: 1) To exploit hybrid vigour or heterosis and for commercial production of market animals. (Every time parental breeds have to be crossed for producing market animal). 2) Complementarity is the second reason for crossbreeding i.e. to combine good qualities of two or more breeds. This refers to the additional profitability obtained from crossing two populations resulting not from heterosis but from the manner in which two or more characters complement each other. (sandford et al) Reference 1.British RabbitCouncil(1995)breeds standards,1996-2000 2. SANDFORD .J.C,(1996) Fifth Edition ,The Domatic Rabbit ,page No.205- 208

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