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Conference Papers Year : 2021

Organic rabbit pasturing: effect of grazing density on grass intake and growth of the rabbit

Abstract

Two grazing densities (D1=0.4m² and D3=1.2m²/rabbit/day) were compared using two groups of 5 movable cages on pasture, housing 1 or 3 rabbits for the same grazing area of 1.2m²). Rabbits were fed only by grazing, from weaning (45 days old) for 36 days. Herbage allowance and intake was measured by sampling the pasture before and after grazing, every week. The pasture allowance pasture averaged 6.6 t DM/ ha, for a herbage height ranging from 60 to 78 cm. The grass height meanly consumed ranged between 20 and 35 cm, and group D3 consumed a twice higher height compared to group D1 (30 vs 16 cm consumed, P<0.05). For D1 group, the pasture intake increased from 40 to 100 g DM/d/ rab. between day 1 and day 36, while it ranged from 25 to 60 g DM/d/rabbit fro D3 group. The pasture intake capacity of the rabbit averaged 75 and 38 g DM/d respectively for group D1 and D3 (P<0.01). Rabbits of D1 group consumed 9.38 kg of fresh matter (260g /day) over the 5 weeks of fattening, while those of group D3 consumed 4.76 kg (P<0.05). The growth rate was poor (meanly : 12 g/d), and lower for D3 compared to D1 group (8.4 vs 15.5 g/day, P=0.051). In conclusion, at the standard grazing density (0.4m²/rab./day) the pasturing capacity of the rabbit was not covered. According to the pasture quality, a complementary concentrated feed may be recommanded to reach a commercial weight (2.4 kg) within 5 or 6 weeks after weaning.
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Dates and versions

hal-03644737 , version 1 (19-04-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03644737 , version 1

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J Goby, Louise Chevallier, Thierry Gidenne. Organic rabbit pasturing: effect of grazing density on grass intake and growth of the rabbit. 12th World Rabbit Congress, Nov 2021, Nantes, France. ⟨hal-03644737⟩
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