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Estimation of the liveweight and body condition of working donkeys in Morocco
  1. R. A. Pearson, BSc, PhD1 and
  2. M. Ouassat, DVM, PhD2
  1. 1 Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  2. 2 Institut Agronomique et Vetrinaire, Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco

Abstract

The age, sex, liveweight and body measurements (heart girth, umbilical girth, height, length from elbow to tuber ischii and circumference of the foreleg cannon bone) of 516 donkeys used to transport goods in Morocco were recorded. There were few donkeys over 12 years of age. For adult donkeys weighing from 74 to 252 kg, the best equation with only one variable for predicting liveweight was: liveweight (kg) = heart girth (cm)2.65/2188. The inclusion of two variables improved the prediction marginally, but the addition of further variables gave little further improvement. The best prediction equation for adult donkeys was: liveweight (kg) = (heart girth [cm]2.12 x length [cm]0.688)/380. For donkeys under three years of age, weighing from 52 to 128 kg, the best prediction equation was: liveweight (kg) = (umbilical girth [cm]1.41 x length [cm]1.09)/1000. Other liveweight prediction equations for donkeys and horses were tested on the data and tended to overestimate the weight of these working donkeys. A supjective method for assessing the body condition of the donkeys was developed, using a scale from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese).

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