Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, rte de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux

Rabbit breeding and excretions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium

The aim of this study was to evaluate, by means of a survey, the forage intake and nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) excretions in breeding and fattening rabbit farms. The does produced an average of 6,4 litters a year and kittens were weaned between 24 and 35 days. In the fattening units, 5,2 stock rotations were accomplished a year and a final weight of 2,9 kg was reached with an average gain of 42 g/d and a feed conversion ratio 4,17. Based on fresh matter, the N, P and K contents of rabbits were respectively 30,4, 6,5 and 3,1 g/kg. The dietary contents ranged between 21,4 and 23,8 g N, 5,0 and 6,0 g P and between 13,5 and 14,9 g K depending on the animal category. Forage intake represented 20, 15 and 9 % of total intake by does, young breeding stock and fattening rabbits respectively. The annual excretion of N and P was lower than the currently used standards in rabbit breeding but higher in rabbit fattening. The annual K excretion was considerably higher than currently believed in cuniculture.

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