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Journal Articles World Rabbit Science Year : 2024

Pastured rabbit systems and organic certification: European union regulations and technical and economic performance in France

Abstract

In the European Union (EU), organic rabbit farming (ORF) remains uncommon (≈50 farms), found mainly in France, and to a much lesser extent in Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. As rabbits are herbivorous, ORF is based mainly on grazing. This review summarises information on the functioning and performance of rabbit farming systems in France, with organic certification and/or access to pasture. Recent studies have quantified the grass intake (30 to 80 g dry matter/d/rabbit) and growth rate of rabbits on pasture (15 to 30 g/d). ORF has an extensive production cycle with a mean of 2.7 parturitions per doe and per year. The main concerns for the farmers developing ORF include available land and managing health and feeding. However, in France, a herd with 40 does on 4 ha (of pastures and complementary crops), can provide a halftime minimum salary. Since January 2022, a new regulation on ORF is applied for all EU member countries that recommends a maximum use of pasture but nevertheless allows farmers to keep a herd with 40 does on only 200 m² of pasture. It also does not require rotating rabbits on the pasture between batches of animals, wich increases the risk of parasitism. A smartphone application (GAELA) was recently developed to assist with daily management of rabbit farming, and to build a database of technical benchmarks to support the development of organic and pastured rabbit farming in France.
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hal-04630867 , version 1 (01-07-2024)

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Thierry Gidenne, Laurence Fortun-Lamothe, Yayu Huang, Davi Savietto. Pastured rabbit systems and organic certification: European union regulations and technical and economic performance in France. World Rabbit Science, 2024, 32 (2), pp.83-97. ⟨10.4995/wrs.2024.20894⟩. ⟨hal-04630867⟩
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