GENEF3: Response on rabbit breeding programs for improving feed efficiency: Production and Behaviour. Computer vision systems for their evaluation in pigs and rabbits
The objective of the project is the evaluation of genetic selection and management programs to improve feed efficiency and to reduce the environmental impact of rabbit and pig production systems. Regarding the genetic improvement of feed efficiency, the activities concern the rabbit, in this species three populations have been selected for feed efficiency, for 6 generations, following different strategies to consider feed efficiency, but all of them taking into account for the effects of social interaction between animals sharing the cage. In the current project the response will be evaluated in both crossbred and inbred animals for different groups of characters, this will be done by comparing the current generation with an unselected population from vitrified embryos of the population that originated the 3 selected lines. All the traits to be studied during the project are involved in feed efficiency, a key element for the sustainability of livestock production.
They can be grouped into 4 categories: i) related to production, meat quality and the economic benefit of livestock farms; ii) related to the content of polluting elements in the feces; iii) involved in different physiological and metabolomic processes: digestibility, heat dissipation through the body surface, or the characteristics of the metabolome and transcriptome in different tissues and iv) related to the activity and behavior of the animals.
The joint analysis of al the results will allow us to explain the different mechanisms through which the response has been achieved in each of the 3 selected lines. With respect to the management techniques that will be explored, these will cover both pigs and rabbits and involve, on the one hand, the study of alternative feeding systems, such as the use of food restriction in rabbits, or the development of artificial vision systems. for the monitoring of the animals during their fattening, specifically considering the physical activity and behavior of the animals.