Management of reproduction on small, medium and large rabbit farms: A review

Z. Szendro, K. Szendro, A. Dalle Zotte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main goals of small, medium and large farms is to improve the reproductive performance of rabbit does. Stocks of lower productivity can be improved by crossing with intensive breeds. A better nutritional status of both foetuses and suckling kits has a positive effect on their later productivity. Overfeeding young females before first mating can lead to conditions of fattiness. Using restricted feeding or higher fibre content in the feed and changing it for a higher level ad libitum feeding about one week prior to first mating leads to longer lifespan and higher productive level. Intensive reproductive rhythm creates a negative energy balance in does : they are unable to consume enough feed (energy) for the nutritional requirements of foetus and lactation, and therefore lose most of their fat reserves. Furthermore, primiparous does also expend energy because they are still growing. Under intensive conditions, the 42-d reproductive rhythm (re-mating 11 days after parturition) is recommended. Under extensive conditions, the 18 or 25-d mating interval with 35 to 42-d weaning could be suitable. On small farms, natural mating is favoured; on large farms AI is commonly employed. The main advantage of AI is the all-in, all-out system. Hormonal (PMSG) treatment is used with AI to increase receptivity on d 11. Frequent and high level PMSG use can lead to higher anti-PMSG antibody rates. Lower level (max. 20 IU) and less frequent PMSG injection or non-hormonal alternative methods (short dam-litter separation, changing nursing method or lighting programs) are recommended for this reason.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalAsian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biostimulation
  • Energy balance
  • Farm size
  • Hormonal treatment
  • Rabbit does
  • Reproductive rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Engineering(all)

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