1. Rabbit rearing started gaining popularity in the beginning of 19th century in Western Europe.
2. Rabbit Farming in India is of recent origin and is largely on experimental scale.
3. Rabbit meat has yet not been accepted as a regular diet item. However in places like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh rabbit meat is available.
4. Rabbits are more efficient feed converters than other animals and con digest protein in feed with high cellulose content.
5. Certain varieties like Angora, yield precious wool.
6. Rabbit breeding is useful for increasing employment potential in rural sector.
7. Kerala Agricultural University has setup the ICAR project for rabbit breeding in 1984. This study shows that Soviet Chinchilla as maximum birth weight of 62 gms. While the average body weight at 12 weeks of age was maximum of New Zealand White being 1539 gms. The litter size was highest in Soviet Chinchilla and it was 4.9 in number. The litter weight at weaning was highest in the cross of new Zealand White and Soviet Chinchilla being 2537 gms.
8. Carcass traits showed that the highest dressing percentage at 12 weeks age was in the cross of Desi and New Zealand White being 50%.
9. The analysis revealed that the weights were influenced by general combining ability. New Zealand White had highest general combining ability at 4 weeks, while Soviet Chinchilla had highest general combining ability during 24 to 28 weeks.
10. Genetic growth is a significant source of variation for litter size and it was found to be highest in winter followed by autumn and summer and lowest in raining season.
11. Pre-weaning mortality is highest in kids born during these summer season.
12. The level of production ranges between 200 gms to 60 gms. The level of production of Angora wool is between 200 gms to 600 gms per animal per year. The wool sells at an average price of Rs. 500/- per kg.
13. Angora rabbit hair blends with other fibres like wool, silk, polyster and improves the performance while reducing cost.
14. The rabbit wool has 49.54% carbon, 6.52% hydrogen and 4.02% sulphur. It singes at 135?C in 3 minutes.
15. Rabbit hair resists the action of boiling strong acetic acid and cold dilute hydrochloric acid. Dilute nitric acid turns it yellow.
16. The rabbit hair fibres which are usually dyed are Mohaire and Cashimere. Dyed with crome dyes, it has a two tone effect.
17. It mixes well with wool because of its fine texture and diameter.
18. Angora fibre has lowest specific weight (1.2 gms/cm3) if compared to other natural textile raw material. It is smoother than wool and its moisture retention is 2% lower than that of wool.
19. Angora rabbit is popular in Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu. Russia Angora is better suited to Tamil Nadu.
20. The rabbit project at Garsa was undertaken to study the performance of various breeds. The study showed that Angora, New Zealand White and Soviet Chinchilla had much better adaptability and had maximum survival rate. The fur quality of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant is the best.
21. The rabbit project at Palampur showed that the highest combining ability is possessed by New Zealand White, which also has maximum growth rate.
22. In Karnataka 6 rabbit breeding farms with 200-300 rabbits in each has been setup.
23. The slaughtering age of rabbit in these farms is between 4 to 6 months within average weight of 3 kg.
24. The commercial rearing in Kerala has been started within private and Government sector. In four districts of Kerala the scheme for rabbit development is being implemented. The districts are Trivandrum, Eduki, Quilon and Pathanamthitta.
25. The rabbits require proper feed containing rice bran, groundnut cake, jaggery, soked gram and wheat. They are also given approximately 100 gms leafy vegetables per day.
26. The cages for rabbits are usually 36"/20"/18".
27. Medical care of the animals is most important and regular medication is necessary.
28. Rabbit farming is dependent on proper feeding and health care. Rabbit farming is highly labour intensive but their breed has to be selected according to the requirement of the farmer.
29. For meat type the breeds recommended are New Zealand White, Russia Grey Giant, Soviet Chinchilla, While Giant, California and Flemish Giant.
30. For fur purposes the breeds recommended are: German, French and English Angora.
31. For fancy varieties the recommended breeds are: Polish, Palameno, Havana and Florida.
32. Heavy breeds are Bauscat, White Giant and French Lope: average, breed is English Silver, German Silver, New Zealand White and Soviet Chinchilla and light weight breeds are Himalayan Small Chinchilla and French Havana.
33. The cross of Grey Giant and Soviet Chinchilla is supposed to have minimum of 8 teats.
34. For selection of animals for breeding purposes, the doe must have minimum of 8 teats.
35. The doe reaches puberty when it attains 75% of mature weight.
36. Domesticated rabbits are prone to diseases like intestinal and respiratory.
37. Housing is extremely important and the rabbit should be housed in either hutch or shed system.
38. A wire mesh flooring is recommended to soke possible moisture.
39. Rabbit breeding can have positive effect in increasing employment opportunities as well as generating income. Rabbit farming also utilizes kitchen waste.
40. Rabbit meat is a high protein food and is useful for human consumption having low cholesterol level.
41. The Government should give impetus to rabbit farming of its social economic benefits.
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