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Rabbits' feeding behaviour governs new rationing recommendations

The feed expertise  company Feedia by Techna has studied the feeding behaviour of fattening rabbits and is making new ration recommendations that factor in the variations in feed intake observed in the animals and the health and profitability expectations of farmers.

Feed restriction and feed intake behaviour of rabbits

In France, and more recently internationally, feed restriction is often applied in rabbit farms during the fattening period, for health reasons (to reduce certain digestive disorders), productivity reasons (to improve the feed conversion ratio) and socio-economic reasons (to reduce antibiotic use and production costs). There are several more or less precise and effective feed restriction methods, the implementation of which depends on the facilities at the farms. The main methods are quantity-based rationing and time-based rationing, for which it is more difficult to predict feed intake.

With this in mind, Feedia rabbit experts have studied the impact of different rationing strategies on the performance, health status and feeding behaviour of the animals. These studies, carried out in a variety of contexts, have provided objective knowledge on different factors that modulate dietary intake, particularly based on the nature of the feed and how it is distributed. It has been observed and demonstrated that the speed of consumption in rabbits is systematically influenced by various factors, including the rationing strategy applied, the feed base used and the growth of the animals. More broadly, the studies have helped to better understand rabbit feeding behaviour and correlate it with rabbit performance. 

New rationing recommendations and a tool developed by Feedia

Based on the data collected, Feedia has developed new, more efficient rationing recommendations as well as a tool for predicting the feed intake of fattening rabbits. This module can be used to define quantity-based rationing plans reproducing time-based restriction, and vice versa, tailored to each farming context. 
These new guidelines could be taken into consideration when developing rationing strategies, in order to optimize the productivity and profitability of rabbit farms.

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