Management of the summer period – Part 2

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Filière(s) : Lapin

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The growth and production of the animals is linked to the amount of energy ingested. Since the intake naturally decreases in summer discover in this second part, the approach to nutritional strategy during the summer period.


Claude Barré


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As we have seen, it is absolutely necessary to limit heat stress, which is responsible for many zootechnical consequences in rabbits.

In addition to the equipment, the feed should be given special attention. The growth and production of the animals is strongly linked to the amount of energy ingested. Since the intake naturally decreases in summer, it is necessary to compensate for this.

Managing distribution channels

For fattening and pre-breeding animals, the timing of feed distribution should be adapted. The optimal time for feeding is at the beginning of the night when the temperature in the building has dropped.

In hourly feeding programmes, the duration will be increased to compensate for the reduced ingestion rate.

In order to obtain persistent female breeders in the autumn, it is necessary for the future breeders to achieve target growths during the summer period. In this context, if the modification of feeding times is not sufficient, it will be necessary to use a more concentrated nutritional base on this category of animals.

Managing the feeding programme

In order to improve the nutritional intake of producing females; maternity feed is usually concentrated on most of these nutritional values from spring onwards.
The choice of pre-weaning feed and its duration of distribution can also be reconsidered during this period.

Do not hesitate to contact your feed manufacturer and your veterinarian in order to set up the most appropriate nutritional strategy for your farm.

The use of supplements

It is possible to supplement the nutrition of females, either through drinking water or feed. 

Via the drinking water, the type of supplementation is adapted to each period of the cycle:

  • During the transfer period farrowing, use Hepato protectors, which stimulate ingestion, kidney and liver functions.
  • Duing the farrowing period, use vitamin C and anti-oxidants, which stimulate food consumption.
  • During the pre-insemination period, provide specific vitamins for reproduction, with Vitamin E selenium
  • During the lactation period, provide vitamins, trace elements and amino acids to compensate for the lack of food intake.
  • For all periods, if the temperature is very high, you can use vitamin C, anti-oxidant and rehydration.

Supplementary feed is usually given to target the periods of underconsumption that occur before farrowing. It can also be used in periods of high need, between day 14 and day 21. The recommendations mentioned are inseparable from each other, summer nutritional support must be considered in a comprehensive approach.

Controlling the summer period is a crucial issue for the performance of a farm. Applying all of these recommendations will protect the health and well-being of your rabbits, and thus allow you to express the genetic potential of your animals.

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