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The effect of organic vs. conventional rearing system on performance, carcass traits and meat quality of fast and slow growing rabbits



The effect of organic vs. conventional rearing system on performance, carcass traits and meat quality of fast and slow growing rabbits



Animal Science Papers and Reports 32(4): 337-349



The effect of different housing systems was evaluated on productive performances and carcass and meat quality of a "local grey" population of rabbits (G). To compare data obtained from G, commercial hybrid rabbits (H) were reared and fed under standard practice. Rabbits were reared as follows: 96 G in outdoor colony cages (0) and fed organic feed based on pelleted feed (oP) and alfalfa hay (H) - group GOoPH; 80 G in conventional indoor colony cages (I) and fed the same organic diet (GoPH) - group GIoPH; 96 Gin I and fed conventional pelleted diet (cP) - group GIcP; 88 H in I and fed conventional pelleted diet (cP) - group HlcP. Fifteen rabbits of each group were slaughtered at live weight of 2500 g (100 days of age for G and 87 days of age for H), carcass and meat quality parameters were assessed. HIcP showed the highest average daily gain (33.5 g/day; P<0.05) and GOoPH the poorest total feed conversion (5.6; P<0.05). G showed the highest slaughter yield (P<0.05). GOoPH showed higher loin proportion and the lowest LL pH at 45 min post mortem (P<0.05). HIcP produced LL and BF meat with the less intense colour and rich in ash. LL meat of GOoPH was the richest in protein. GOoPH and GIoPH LL meat showed higher amount of C14:0 and 18:1 n-9. GOoPH showed the lowest value of 18:2 n-6, and HIcP showed the highest value of 20:4 n-6 and the lowest amount of 16:1 n-7. The G yielded meat with higher nutritive value, and the best results were obtained when animals received both pellets and hay and were reared outdoor.

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