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Citation of this paper

Carcass and meat quality traits of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) under warm-humid condition of West Bengal, India

N Ghosh and L Mandal

Department of Animal Science, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia – 741 252, West Bengal, India
gnilotpal@yahoo.com

(Paper presented at the 6th All India People’s Technology Congress, February 10-11, 2007, Forum of Scientists, Engineers and Technologists, Kolkata, India)

Abstract

The carcass and meat quality traits of two breeds of broiler rabbits, viz., Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant were studied under warm-humid conditions of West Bengal. Overall dressing yields averaged 47.6, 51.7 and 57.9% in respect to hot carcass, hot carcass plus giblet, and hot carcass plus giblet and dressed head, respectively. The dressing yield was more in Grey Giant than Soviet Chinchilla, and it was higher in males than females in both the breeds. Statistically breed and sex had no significant effects on various carcass characteristics. The rabbit meat is high in protein (20.2%) and low in fat (7.9%) than those of common meat sources like chicken, lamb and pork. The breed and sex had no significant effects on various meat quality traits.

Key words: carcass, dressing yield, Grey Giant, meat quality trait, Soviet Chinchilla


Introduction

Rearing rabbits for meat is an established industry in many countries of the world but study of broiler rabbits under different agro-climatic zones of India is very scanty. The carcass quality and meat chemical composition of broiler rabbits are influenced by breed (Ouhayoun 1998; Singh and Prasad 2005). This article reports the effect of breed and sex on carcass characteristics and meat chemical composition of male and female rabbits of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant under routine farm feeding management in warm-humid environmental conditions of West Bengal, India.

Materials and methods

This investigation was undertaken at the Rabbit Unit of the Department of Animal Science of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal, located at latitude 220 56/ N, longitude 880 32/ E and altitude 9.75 m above MSL, in the warm-humid zone of India. The investigation was carried out under warm-humid conditions having average ambient temperature ranging from 190C (min) to 310C (max), relative humidity 67% (min) to 96% (max) and the annual precipitation of 1837 mm (Table 1).

Table 1.   Meteorological attributes during the experimental period of three seasons (Mean SE)
Season Air Temperature,
0
C
Relative Humidity,
%
Total rainfall, mm No. of rainy days

Maximum Minimum Morning Afternoon
Winter (Nov - Feb) 27.41 0.39 14.24 0.34 96.96 0.82 56.30 1.30 105.50 5.00
Summer (Mar – Jun) 33.76 0.21 23.45 0.34 94.02 0.41 64.46 1.71 467.35 25.50
Monsoon (Jul – Oct) 32.20 0.50 19.68 0.21 97.89 0.22 79.93 1.07 1264.50 55.50

The animals were maintained in galvanized iron wire cages having the specification of 183cm x 53.5cm x 46cm (for six animals) under standard management practices.

The weanling rabbits were fed green roughages and concentrate feed in the form of wet mash along with soaked gram. The wet mash and overnight soaked gram were mixed together and offered in a feeding trough once daily in the morning followed by greens given on the floor of the cages. The greens were also offered in the afternoon. Water was supplied ad libitum in the respective waterer (earthen pot) kept inside the cage.

The green roughages were given ad libitum. The greens were para grass (Brachiaria mutica), clover (Trifolium alexandrinum) and dhub grass (Cynodon dactylon), and small quantity of cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and subabul (Leucaena leucocephala) as per the availability. The soaked gram was given at the rate of 30 g for each kit and the concentrate feed in the form of wet mash was given at the rate of 50-80 g/head/day.

The concentrate feed mixture was prepared with different ingredients collected from the local markets. The concentrate mixture was composed of ground maize (48%), groundnut cake (solvent extracted) (10%), groundnut cake (expeller variety) (10%), wheat bran (28%), fish meal (2%), mineral mixture (Milkmin) (1%) and common salt (1%). The crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract, nitrogen-free-extract and total ash contents of the concentrate feed were 20.8, 7.0, 3.4, 60.0 and 8.8 percent, respectively on DM basis.

Routine prophylactic and curative health cover was provided as per the standard schedule. A total of ninety six animals (24 males and 24 females of each of the two breeds, viz., Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant) aged between 3-3.5 months were randomly selected and slaughtered after 12 hours fasting following the standard procedures (Newton and Penman 1990); different carcass characteristics viz., live weight before and after fasting, fasting loss, edible offal, inedible offal, dressing yield, inedible-edible ratio and primal cut-up parts were studied. Individual organ weights were also taken by mono-pan balance.

Meat samples were collected from male and female rabbits of each breed separately, and were subjected to analysis of water, crude protein, ether extract (fat) and mineral matters (AOAC 1980).

The data generated during the course of investigation were compiled and subjected to statistical analysis as per the standard methods (Snedecor and Cochran 1967).

Results and discussion

The average meteorological attributes in respect of three principal seasons, viz., winter (November-February), summer (March-June) and monsoon (July-October) during the period of investigation are presented in Table 1. The information furnished on meteorology indicated that the overall environment of the study area was warm and humid.

Carcass characteristics, viz., live weight before fasting and at slaughter, fasting loss, edible parts, inedible parts, edible-inedible ratio, dressing yield in males and females of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant rabbits are presented in Table 2.

Table 2.  Carcass characteristics of broiler rabbits (Mean SE)
Parameters Soviet Chinchilla Grey Giant

Male Female Overall Male Female Overall
Live weight before fasting, g 2188 161 2319214 2253 128 2267 195 2273 284 2270 164
Live weight at slaughter, g (Fasted pre-slaughter weight) 2129 156 2270 213 2200 127 2218 194 2218 280 2218 163
Fasting loss, g 58.35.87
(2.650.13)
49.2 2.01
(2.250.21)
48.8 1.75
(2.450.13)
48.3 3.07
(2.260.20)
55.0 5.00
(2.630.28)
51.7 2.97
(2.440.17)
Weight after bleeding, g 2066 151 2203 206 2135 123 2154 187 2158 272 2156 158
Edible parts





Hot carcass, g 1012 72.1
(47.60.22)
1070 114
(46.90.92)
1041 64.9
(47.20.46)
1083 96,0
(48.91.34)
1050 138
(47.10.68)
1067 80.1
(48.00.76)
Giblet – liver, heart and kidneys, g 81.0 7.69
(3.770.11)
87.8 8.41
(3.890.15)
84.4 5.53
(3.830.09)
84.8 5.64
(3.880.16)
89.5 7.65
(4.280.47)
87.0 4.58
(4.080.25)
Dressed head, g 127 5.02
(6.070.33)
147 16.2
(6.700.92)
137 8.65
(6.380.48)
143 13.5
(6.490.29)
134 11.8
(6.270.36)
139 8.65
(6.380.22)
Total edible parts, g 1220 83.4
(57.40.33)
1305 122
(57.50.47)
1262 71.5
(57.40.27)
1311 113
(57.32.13)
1274 155
(57.70.61)
1292 91.7
(57.51.06)
Dressing yield





Carcass, % 47.6 0.22 46.9 0.92 47.2 0.46 48.9 1.34 47.1 0.68 48.0 0.76
Carcass with giblet, % 51.9 0.90 50.8 0.88 51.4 0.62 52.8 1.44 51.4 0.43 52.1 0.74
Carcass with giblet and dressed head, % 57.1 0.25 57.5 0.33 57.3 0.26 59.3 1.59 57.7 0.61 58.5 0.85
Inedible parts





Blood, g 63.2 4.29
(2.970.05)
67.0 7.17
(2.850.12)
65.1 4.03
(2.910.06)
63.9 6.90
(2.8 0.08)
60.5 8.29
(2.700.07)
62.2 5.17
(2.780.05)
Pelt, g 179 14.4
(8.370.10)
205 20.9
(9.030.42)
192 12.7
(8.700.23)
214 27.6
(9.470.56)
195 24.3
(8.930.46)
205 17.7
(9.200.35)
Feet and tail, g 80.0 1.50
(3.880.34)
89.5 3.07
(4.120.42)
84.8 2.17
(4.000.26)
92.7 4.64
(4.310.34)
82.8 4.38
(4.170.70)
87.8 3.39
(4.240.37)
Spleen, g 1.67 0.25
(0.080.01)
2.33 0.36
(0.110.01)
2.00 0.23
(0.090.01)
1.83 0.10
(0.080.002)
1.75 0.33
(0.080.01)
1.79 0.17
(0.080.004)
Lungs and trachea, g 17.5 1.67
(0.820.03)
18.3 2.20
(0.800.04)
17.9 1.32
(0.810.02)
14.8 1.25
(0.67 0.23)
18.3 1.82
(0.860.08)
16.6 1.18
(0.77 0.05)
G.I. tract full, g 249 27.2
(11.50.64)
255 15.7
(11.40.39)
252 15.0
(11.5 .36)
268 11.3
(12.5 0.90)
245 18.17
(11.71.00)
257 10.8
(12.1 0.65)
Inedible parts of head, g 74.8 4.85
(3.540.11)
88.83 12.8
(3.84 .22)
81.8 6.84
(3.69 .13)
76.2 7.89
(3.41 0.18)
72.3 9.70
(3.300.22)
74.3 5.99
(3.35 0.14)
Total inedible parts, g 675 44.8
(31.80.38)
726 57.2
(32.20.69)
703 34.1
(32.00.38)
732 55.2
(33.30.92)
673 57.4
(31.62.05)
702 39.0
(32.4 .10)
Inedible : edible 1 : 1.82 0.02 1 : 1.79 0.04 1 : 1.80 0.02 1 : 1.79 0.08 1 : 1.86 0.10 1 : 1.82 0.06
Figures in the parenthesis indicate percentage of fasted pre-slaughter weight in all cases except fasting loss where the figures indicate percentage of live weight before fasting

The overall mean values of live weight before fasting and at slaughter, and fasting loss of the two breeds of rabbits were found to be 2262, 2209 and 52.7 g, respectively. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were 23.6, 23.9 and 19.8 percent, respectively). The sex-wise mean values of these traits were 2227, 2174 and 53.3 g in male and 2296, 2241 and 52.1 g in female rabbits, respectively. Statistically breed and sex had no significant effect on these traits. Zelnik and Rafay (1986) recorded the average slaughter weight of 2200 and 2225 g in Californian White and New Zealand White rabbits, respectively. Salroo et al (1989) reported the average slaughter weight in Soviet Chinchilla fryers at 12 weeks of age as 1.72 kg. The body weight at slaughter of this investigation was higher than the report of Salroo et al (1989), which might be due to the differences in age groups of the animals slaughtered.

The overall mean values of hot carcass, giblet, dressed head and total edible parts of rabbit carcass were found to be 1055, 138 and 1277 g, respectively. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were 25.0, 21.2, 22,0 and 23.2 percent, respectively). The sex-wise mean values of these traits were 1048, 82.9, 135 and 1266 g in male and 1060, 88.7, 140 and 1289 g in female rabbits, respectively. The effects of breed and sex on these traits were non-significant.

Salroo et al (1989) reported lower hot carcass weight of 780 g in Soviet Chinchilla fryers at 12 weeks of age. Fennell et al (1990) stated a similar value of 1406 g but in New Zealand White rabbits.

The overall mean value of total inedible parts of rabbit carcass was found to be 701.4 g (CV = 18.8%) which was 32.2% of the live weight at slaughter (Table 2). The sex-wise mean values of this trait were 703 and 699 g in male and female rabbits, respectively. There was no significant difference between the sexes and breeds for this trait. Salroo et al (1989) reported that the non-edible offal of carcass averaged 816 16.7 g in Soviet Chinchilla rabbits slaughtered at 12 weeks of age.

The overall mean ratio of inedible and edible parts of rabbit carcass was 1:1.81. The sex-wise ratios were 1: 1.80 and 1: 1.82 in male and female rabbits, respectively. However, this marginal difference was statistically non-significant. The effect of breed on this trait was also non-significant.

The overall mean values of dressing yield in respect to hot carcass, hot carcass plus giblet, and hot-carcass plus giblet and dressed head of the two breeds of rabbits were found to be 47.6, 51.7 and 57.9%, respectively. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were 4.56, 4.63 and 3.77 percent, respectively). The dressing yields were more in Grey Giant than Soviet Chinchilla. The corresponding figures in the two breeds were 48.0 and 47.2%, 52.1 and 51.4% and 58.5 and 57.3%, respectively. However, these differences were statistically non-significant. The dressing yields were more in male than female rabbits. The corresponding figures were 48.2 and 47.0%, 52.4 and 51.1% and 58.20 and 57.6%, respectively, in the male and female rabbits. However, these variations were also statistically non-significant.

The present findings are in close conformity with the findings of Salroo et al (1989) in Soviet Chinchilla rabbits (45.1% carcass yield), Singh et al (1999) in Soviet Chinchilla rabbits (47.8% carcass yield), and Sen and Bhagwan (1999) in White Giant and Soviet Chinchilla rabbits (50.4 to 56.2% dressing yield considering hot carcass weight plus giblet weight). Higher carcass yield in males than females, as observed in the present investigation, was also reported by Sen and Bhagwan (1999), though significant influence (P<0.05) of sex on this trait was seen in their observation. Other carcass traits were not too much varied in males and females of White Giant and Soviet Chinchilla in the report of Sen and Bhagwan (1999) which supported the present investigation. Singh (1997) reported that differences in the carcass quality traits were not significant among different breeds of rabbits.

The average values of four primal cut-up parts in males and females of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant rabbits are presented in Table 3.

Table 3.  Primal cut-up parts of rabbit carcass (Mean SE)
Traits Soviet Chinchilla Grey Giant

Male Female Overall Male Female Overall
Hot carcass weight, g 1012
72.1
1070
114
1041
64.9
1083
96,0
1050
137
1067
80.1
Cut-up parts





Two shoulders, g 149 10.8
(14.70.12)
15116.91
(14.10.25)
150 9.58
(14.40.16)
161 18.8
(14.70.53)
149 19.2
(14.30.16)
155 12.9
(14.50.27)
Thorax, g 22112.8
(22.00.49)
22721.7
(21.40.78)
224 12.1
(21.70.45)
215 20.3
(19.70.18)
224 25.3
(21.80.88)
219 15.5
(20.80.53)
Loin, g 32127.43
(31.50.69)
31936.32
(29.81.32)
320 21.7
(30.70.76)
356 24.0
(33.31.01)
312 40.1
(29.71.44)
334 23.3
(31.50.99)
Two legs, g 31323.8
(31,00.79)
364 43.1
(33.91.28)
339 24.7
(32.40.84)
344 35.0
(31.60.71)
352.2 54.7
(33,01.16)
348 31,0
(32.30.68)
Cutting loss, g 8.50 0.56
(0.880.11)
9.500.56
(0.910.05)
9.00 0.41
(0.89 0.06)
7.83 0.54
(0.760.09)
13.0 2.94
(1.310.26)
10.4 1.63
(1.030.16)
Figures in the parenthesis indicate percentage of hot carcass weight

The overall mean values of different cuts were: two shoulders 152 g (14.4%), thorax 222 g (21.0%), loin 327 g (31.0%) and two legs 343 g (32.3%) based on hot carcass weight. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were found to be 26.9, 22.7, 24.5 and 29.1 percent, respectively). Breed and sex did not seem to affect the relative weights of different physical cuts. The present findings are in close agreement with the findings of Salroo et al (1989) and Farghaly and El-Mahdy (1999). Non-significant effect of sex on different physical cuts of rabbit carcass was also observed by Sen and Bhagwan (1999).

Overall mean cutting loss of 9.71 g (0.97% of the hot carcass weight) was observed in this study (Table 3). Breed and sex had no significant effect on this trait. The present finding was much lower than the report of Salroo et al (1989) who recorded 6.04% cutting loss in Soviet Chinchilla rabbit.

Different organ weights in males and females of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant rabbits are presented in Table 4.

Table 4.   Organ weights in relation to body size in broiler rabbits (Mean SE)
Organs Soviet Chinchilla Grey Giant
Male Female Overall Male Female Overall
Body, g 2129156
(100)
2270 213
(100)
2200 127
(100)
2218 194
(100)
2218 280
(100)
2218 163
(100)
Head, g 202 9.66
(9.60 0.42)
236 22.1
(10.540.93)
219 12.6
(10.070.51)
219 19.4
(9.90 0.25)
206 20.7
(9.57 0.48)
213 13.7
(9.73 0.26)
Liver, g 58.5 5.55
(2.72 0.08)
64.7 7.31
(2.85 0.16)
61.6 4.48
(2.79 0.09)
63.0 4.52
(2.87 0.13)
67.7 6.12
(3.260.39)
65.3 3.70
(3.07 0.20)
Kidney, g 16.0 1.53
(0.75 0.02)
16.2 1.12
(0.72 0.02)
16.1 0.90
(0.73 0.02)
15.2 0.98
(0.700.04)
15.5 1.36
(0.73 0.06)
15.3 0.80
(0.71 0.03)
Heart 6.50 0.62
(0.30 0.01)
7.00 0.52
(0.32 0.02)
6.75 0.39
(0.31 0.29)
6.67 0.49
(0.310.02)
6.33 0.49
(0.310.04)
6.50 0.34
(0.31 0.02)
Spleen, g 1.67 0.25
(0.08 0.01)
2.33 0.36
(0.11 0.01)
2.00 0.23
(0.09 0.01)
1.83 0.10
(0.080.002)
1.75 0.33
(0.08 .01)
1.79 0.17
(0.080.004)
Lungs with trachea, g 17.5 1.67
(0.82 0.03)
18.3 2.20
(0.80 0.04)
17.9 1.32
(0.81 0.02)
14.8 1.25
(0.67 0.23)
18.3 1.82
(0.86 0.08)
16.6 1.18
(0.77 0.05)
G.I. tract full, g 249 27.19
(11.5 0.64)
255 15.74
(11.4 0.39)
252 15.00
(11.5 0.36)
269 11.3
(12.5 0.90)
245 18.1
(11.7 1.00)
257 10.8
(12.1 0.65)
Figures in the parenthesis indicate percentage of body weight

The overall mean values of different organ weights of the two breeds of broiler rabbits were : head 216 g (9.90%), liver 63.5 g (2.93%), kidneys 15.7 g (0.72%), heart 6.63 g (0.31%), spleen 1.90 g (0.09%), lungs with trachea 17.3 g (0.79%) and G.I. tract full 254 g (11.8%) based on the fasted pre-slaughter body weight. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were 21.1, 23.0, 19.7, 19.7, 36.1, 25.1 and 18.3 percent, respectively).There was no significant difference in organ weights in male and female rabbits. The effect of breed on these traits was also non-significant.

The results obtained in this investigation are in close conformity with the results reported by Sen and Bhagwan (1999) and Farghaly and El-Mahdy (1999). Sen and Bhagwan (1999) recorded non-significant effect of sex on these traits except alimentary canal and its contents, which comprised 16.4-22.8% of the body weight and significantly more (P<0.05) in females. However, the reported value of Sen and Bhagwan (1999) was higher than that of others (Rao et al 1978; Nofal et al 1995). Farghaly and El-Mahdy (1999) also recorded non-significant effect of sex on different organ weights except liver weight which was significantly more (P<0.01) in females than males.

The chemical composition of meat in terms of water, crude protein, fat and minerals of meats in males and females of Soviet Chinchilla and Grey Giant rabbits are presented in Table 5.

Table 5.   Chemical composition of rabbit meat (on DM basis)
Nutrient, % Soviet Chinchilla Grey Giant

Male Female Overall Male Female Overall
Water 69.5 1.34 69.7 1.17 69.6 0.85 69.8 1.51 70.2 1.49 70.0 1.02
Crude protein 20.7 0.81 20.1 0.76 20.4 0.54 20.5 1.06 20.0 1.12 20.3 0.74
Fat (crude) 7.92 0.44 8.25 0.44 8.08 0.30 7.75 0.44 7.87 0.42 7.81 0.29
Minerals 1.04 0.11 1.11 0.11 1.08 0.07 0.91 0.07 0.96 0.09 0.93 0.06

Overall mean values of meat chemical composition of the broiler rabbits on DM basis were: water 69.8%, crude protein 20.2%, fat (crude) 7.95% and minerals 1.00%. (The coefficients of variation for these traits were found to be 4.86, 11.3, 13.4 and 24.07 percent, respectively).

There was no significant difference in the meat chemical composition in male and female rabbits. The effect of breed on these traits was also non-significant. The present findings are in close accordance with the reports of Singh (1997a) and Chakrabarti et al (1999). The rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat than those of common meat sources like chicken (20.0 and 11.2%), lamb (15.7 and 14.0%) and pork (11.9 and 45.0%) as per the report of Singh (1997a).

Conclusions

References

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Received 15 May 2007; Accepted 16 June 2008; Published 4 September 2008

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