Water management in rabbit farms

Partner(s): Hypharm
Industry(ies): Rabbit

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Controlling the quality of drinking water is essential for ensuring the production batch is successful and also for the expression of the genetic potential of your animals.


Claude Barré


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The challenges of water management

There are many water sources:

  • From bore holes
  • Surface wells
  • Piped water.

Whatever the source, the physico-chemical and bacteriological quality of drinking water up to the point it is consumed must be guaranteed.

Physico-chemical standards

Regarding the physico-chemical criteria, the Ph must be between 5.5 and 7.5, the hardness between 10 and 15, iron less than 0.2mg/l, manganese less than 0,05mg/l, nitrates less than 50 mg/l, nitrites less than 0.1 mg/l and ammonium less than 0.5 mg/l.

Bacteriological standards

Total germs at 37 degrees must be fewer than 20 in 1 ml, total coliforms fewer than 10 in 100ml, faecal Eschericihia coli fewer than 5 in100ml, intestinal enterococci fewer than 5 in 100 ml and sulfito-reducing bacteria fewer than 5 in 100ml.

The points of vigilance

The goal will be to meet the recommended potability standards. Bi-annual sampling at the water consumption point will validate the cleanliness and maintenance quality of the distribution circuits.

Water management

Tests or reagents can be used to monitor water on a daily basis. These tests are easy to perform and especially provide an immediate result for the farm.

For example, we can analyse the redox potential or end-of-pipe residual chlorine, the peroxide level or the pH using specific strips.

The distribution circuits are long and with low flow rates. These are characteristics which favour the development of biofilm.

Cleanliness of the system is therefore, essential.

Cleaning of distribution channels

Flushing out once a week is the primary maintenace operation.

It is also an operation that needs to be systematically repeated after each supply of vitamins or deworming operation via the drinking water.

During depopulation, a full cleaning operation is carried out in three stages:

  1. Degreasing
  2. Descaling
  3. Disinfection

The stages of the sanitary “stop”

It should also be noted that the water distribution system must allow all the animals to drink easily, regardless of their physiological stage.

That is why it is recommended to install the pipettes at a maximum height of 24 cm and for these pipettes to have a flow rate of between 140 and 180 ml/min.

This point can be easily checked in the shed.

Implementation of all these measures ensures the quality of the drinking water for the animals at all times, which is essential for the expression of their genetic potential.

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