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This experiment was designed to study the behavioural and physiological responses of two breeds of rabbits to natural oestrus induction methods in non-receptive female rabbits to mating. One hundred multiparous female rabbits from Baladi Red (BR) and New Zealand White (NZW) breeds (50 from each breed) and twenty mature bucks from two breeds (10 from each breed) were used in the study. The following two methods were used: (1) doe-litter separation in the suckling females, or (2) presence of a doe beside buck cage in the non-suckling females. Basic behavioural (time of standing, walking and sitting %) and sexual behavioural activities (frequency of male circling around female, female circling around male, male mounting female and actual mating) were recorded for each male and female rabbits. Receptivity and conception rates were calculated in each treatment group. Also, serum concentrations of estradiol-17β hormone were determined in does under investigation. The results of this experiment indicated that animals after application of natural inducing oestrus treatments are more active than before treatments. Time of standing was significantly higher than time of sitting in both breeds after treatments compared with those before treatments. Moreover, animals after application of treatments showed significantly higher frequency of female circling around male, male mounting female and actual mating, and insignificantly higher frequency of male circling around female, than those values recorded in animals before application of treatments. Oestrogen levels significantly increased after presence doe beside buck cage and insignificantly increased after doe-litter separation in both breeds. Both treatments showed pronounced improvement in terms of receptivity and conception rates, irrespective of breed. NZW does were significantly superior over BR does in most studied traits. Highly significant positive correlations were found between both sexual behaviour and oestrogen level with receptivity and conception rates. Generally, natural methods used to induce oestrus led to a positive change in the basic and sexual behaviour as well as improvement in the physiological performance of non-receptive female rabbits for mating.
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