Growth performance until weaning of young rabbits born in France and fostered in Benin at 3 days of age, in comparison with local rabbits


  • M. Kpodekon Université Nationale du Bénin
  • R. Adehan Université Nationale du Bénin
  • A.Y. Djago College Polytechnique Universitaire
  • F. Lebas INRA
  • P. Coudert INRA



A total of 80 two-day-old suckling rabbits of a selected New Zealand White rabbit strain imported from a temperate country (France) were suckled in a tropical country (Benin) by foster does of the local population. The growth performance of the imported rabbits and of 81 native rabbits suckled by the same does was compared. No morbidity was observed in both groups. Growth rate was identical in both groups up to 21 days i.e. the end of the exclusive milk feeding: 10.2 and 10.5 g/day for imported and native rabbits respectively. During the last period befare weaning (21 to 31 days) the group of imported sucklings had a lower growth rate (13.0 vs 17.1 g/day). This period corresponds to the beginning of salid food consumption. A genetic adaptation of the local rabbits to the local feed and/or climate, or, more probably, an effect of the early chemosensory experience (during both gestation and first suckling) of the imported strain are discussed.


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