E A Rotimi, H B Usman, L A Saulawa


Relationships between body weight and four linear body measurements (body length, ear length, rump length and heart girth) were determined in 80 rabbits comprising of 40 males and 40 males using path analysis. Results obtained showed that pair-wise correlations among body weights and linear body measurements were positive and highly significant (r = 0.554 - 0.823; p<0.01) for male rabbits. The highest direct effect on body weight in male rabbits was realized via body length (path = 0.699; p<0.01) followed by heart girth (path = 0.363; p<0.01). However, ear length and rump length had non-significant (path = 0.193; p>0.05) and negatively significant (path = -0.289; p<0.05) direct effects on body weight respectively. Therefore, ear length and rump length were excluded from the final regression model. The final regression equation of the male rabbits included body length and heart girth. Highest direct effect on body weight was realized through heart girth (path = 0.640; P<0.01) for the female rabbits. The direct contributions of body length and ear length were not statistically significant (path = 0.048 and 0.206 respectively) and negatively non-significant in ear length (path = -0.101). These redundant variables (body length, ear length and rump length) were excluded from the final regression model. Only heart girth was included in the final regression model for the female rabbits. The final regression model obtained for predicting the body weight had rump length and heart girth for male rabbits and heart girth for female rabbits. It can be concluded that bodyweight could be predicted with a high degree of precision using the rump length and heart girth in male rabbits while heart girth could be used in female rabbits. These morphological traits could be used as a selection tool to improve body weight in rabbits.

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