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Rabbit breeding: constitution and exterior of rabbits

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For rabbits meat direction of productivity and downy breeds most desirable airy type of physique. Rabbits of this type should have a relatively small head, a compactly torso, a wide deep chest, a broad back with a well-developed back, a wide and rounded croup, thick and strong legs.

In all rabbits of the desired type, sexual dimorphism, i.e. males have masculine traits, and females have feminine traits. Thus, males, in comparison with females, should have a more massive coarse and rounded head, a wider chest, larger and stronger legs, and a coarser hair. Females should have a lighter and slightly elongated head, a more developed back of the trunk, an elastic abdomen and at least four pairs of normally developed nipples.

A pronounced leptosomal type is undesirable for almost all common breeds of rabbits, since rabbits of this type have a thinner hairline, develop more slowly and pay less for food growth. However, rabbits of this type, as a rule, have the largest sizes in adulthood and therefore can be used when breeding for the purpose of enlarging small rabbits. The leptosomal type is characteristic of such breeds of large rabbits as the gray giant, white giant and black-brown. For these breeds, this type of physique is quite acceptable.

When determining the type of physique of rabbits, the eye assessment of articles begins from the head, then sequentially proceeds from the front to the back of the body and ends with limbs. At the same time, attention is paid to the development of skeleton and muscles, as well as to the density and color of the hairline. In conclusion, they examine the rabbit as a whole, paying attention to the proportionality of physique and compliance with the requirements for this breed. When examining individual articles, it is taken into account that each breed of rabbit has its own characteristics. Gender differences are also taken into account.

In normally developed rabbits, the head should not be too large and rough or, conversely, too light and tender. Ears are preferably directly set. Only in rabbits of the ram breed, ear drooping is a pedigree trait. The neck should be proportional to the body and muscular, the chest in rabbits of all breeds - wide and deep. A narrow chest indicates a weak constitution. A too-large undercoat is considered a disadvantage, especially for male producers, as this is a sign of a loose constitution and a phlegmatic temperament. The back and lower back are preferably flat, straight and wide. A hunchbacked or sagging back is a sign of rickets. A long and wide loin indicates high meatiness. The abdomen is considered normal if the lower body is a line running parallel to the back.

Females pay attention to the number and condition of the nipples. The limbs are evaluated by their strength, staging and growth of the paws. The clubfoot or X-shaped setting of the front legs, as well as the proximity of the hock joints of the hind legs are considered body defects. A big drawback should be considered and poor clumping of the paws, since such rabbits are prone to the disease pododermatitis, especially with prolonged maintenance on the mesh floor. The general shape of the body in rabbits, as well as the density and color of the hairline, should be typical of the breed.

Source: Rabbits, nutria and poultry in homestead and peasant farms E.A. Vagin, R.P. Tsvetkova

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