Mortality in young rabbits: a review


  • A.A. Rashwan Zagazig University
  • I.F.M. Marai Zagazig University



Mortality rate of young rabbits is of vital importance in commercial rabbit farming, since it determines the net income of the rabbitries. However, there is no definite proportion for mortality in young rabbits, since it may be less than 10% in one situation in a given breed and reaches 100% in other situations, in the same breed. This may be due to susceptibility of the genotype to diseases and to the numerous uncontrollable external environmental factors. The significant differences between breeds confirm that mortality can be genetically improved. Within the same breed, kit mortality during the suckling period decreases during the period between 4 and 12 months of doe production, then increases thereafter as age advances up to certain parity. The increase of pre-weaning mortality associates the increase in litter size at birth and reduction of remating interval period, although doe milk yield appeared to be the most important factor, in this respect. Thus, ali factors which may decrease doe rabbit milk yield (nutrition, management of the rabbitry, climatic conditions and doe diseases), increase pre-weaning mortality. lmprovement of nutrition (by using feed additives, antibiotics, probiotics, green fodder or natural sources) increases rabbit doe milk. Heat stress and diseases are the most important factors that affect post-weaning mortality. lt is worthy to note that young rabbits loss may be avoided to a large extent and health and vigour in the stock can be maintained by applying simple methods for cleanliness and in management. Prevention of diseases is also very important, because curative treatment is less successful in rabbits than in many other livestock classes.


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