The domestic livestock resources of Turkey: Notes on rabbits and a review of the literature
The Turkish wild rabbit is known from ancient times. As a minor component of Turkey’s array of livestock and poultry there is no official information on numbers or production. The iconic Angora is the only native breed. Imported breeds include New Zealand White, California, Chinchilla, Line V and French Angora. The Angora is a registered breed and is being conserved ex situ in vivo. Official data give Angora weight as 3.5–4.0 kg in males and 4.0–4.5 kg in females, fibre production as 700–800 g from bucks and 1,000 g from does from four clips per year, first breeding age as 6 months, litter size 1–6 kits and production of four litters per year. Production research is limited but generally shows lower fibre output than official data. A comparative study with California and Line V rabbits showed the latter was heavier at birth and grew faster to 10 weeks. The rabbit has been used as an animal model in several studies. There is little information on meat and fibre marketing as there is on international trade but there have been sporadic imports of meat. Pathologies include coccidiosis, mange and myiasis. Constraints include lack of producer knowledge, poor quality feed, inadequate housing and lack of breeding stock. Opportunities lie in public and private support, genetic improvement for fibre for product diversification and increased incomes, improved marketing and niche markets for low cholesterol and low fat meat.