Unit ADE - Reproductive management in rabbit farm

Veterinary medicine
Study-unit Code
In all curricula
Gabriele Brecchia
  • Gabriele Brecchia
  • 25 ore - Gabriele Brecchia
Course Regulation
Coorte 2014
Learning activities
A scelta dello studente
A scelta dello studente
Academic discipline
Type of study-unit
Opzionale (Optional)
Type of learning activities
Attività formativa monodisciplinare
Language of instruction
The course provides knowledge about the reproductive physiology of the
rabbit both male and female, the factors most strongly influencing the
reproductive performance of this species and describes the techniques of
management to increase the fertility and productivity of the rabbit farm,
referring also to the research activities of the teacher.
Reference texts
“Coniglicoltura. L’allevamento professionale del coniglio da carne ed
affezione”. Angeli Gamberini edited by Edagricole.
“Ferrets, rabbits and rodents”. J.W. carpenter, K Quesenberry edited by
Saunders (W.B.) Ltd.
"Recent advances in rabbit scienze" edited by L. Maertens and P. Coudert
ILVO 2006
Material provided by the teacher during the lectures and it will be make
available also online. The teacher is available to receive students on
Mondays and Thursdays from 11 to 13 for explanations and insights
concerning the topics of the program.
Educational objectives
The course takes into consideration the rabbit, an animal species that is
rarely treated in veterinary medicine courses, with the aim of improve
the basic theoretical knowledge and practical capacites regarding the
management of the rabbit farm and specifically that of the reproduction
of this specie.
In order to understand and know how to apply the knowledge and
techniques described in the teaching, the student must have knowledge
of anatomy, physiology of reproduction, nutrition, infectious and parasitic
diseases and of management of the breeding.
Teaching methods
The course is organized in 5 consecutive days, for a total of 25 hours as
1) Lectures on alll subjects of the course carried out at the didactical
center of the Department of Veterinary Medicine concerning:
- Introduction to the course (30 min)
- Production of the rabbit meat in the world and Europe (30 min);
- Management of rabbit farm (4 hs);
- Handling and examination of the animals (1h).
- Anatomical and physiological characteristics of rabbit, in particular
relating the reproductive systems and animal welfare (3hs);
- Infectious and parasitic diseases that affect the fertility of the rabbit
2) Practical activities will carried out at the experimental farm of the
Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science of the
University of Perugia. Students will be divide in group (maximum 6
students group) and will perform the followed practical activities:
- Evaluation of breeding structure, microclimatic parameters, types and
dimension of the cages, equipment and of all the activities carried out in the farm (3hs)
- semen collection and its evaluation (2hs);
- assessment of sexual receptivity of the female and evaluation of the
estrous cycle (1h);
- artificial insemination and natural mating (2hs);
- pregnancy diagnosis by abdominal palpation and untrasound (2hs);
- blood samples for hormone assessments (3hs);
- evaluation of the nutritional state of animals by BCS and measurement
of the thickness of the perirenal fat by ecography (2hs).
Learning verification modality
There is no final exam for the course, but an ongoing evaluation is carried
out on the learning and subsequent putting into practice of the topics
discussed. It is evaluated the approach to reproductive management and
the acquisition of practical skills inherent the reproduction of rabbit.
Extended program
The course is organized in 25 hours of theoretical and practical activities
as follows:
Theoretical lessons (10 hours):
- Introduction to the course (30 min);
- Production of rabbit meat in the world and Europe (30 min)
- Management of rabbit farm (3 hours):
a) types of farming, subdivision of spaces in the farm, animal categories,
types of cages (30 mins);
b) Microclimate (temperature, humidity, light, ventilation, density, feed)
(30 min);
c) Sanitary management (control of unwanted animals, control of persons
and means of transport, hygiene and cleaning of rooms and equipment,
staff training, control of drug administration, control of movement of
animals, elimination of waste and dead animals, Role of veterinarian)
d) Management of reproduction (hormonal treatments, semen collection
and evaluation, artificial insemination and natural mating, diagnosis of
pregnancy by abdominal palpation and ecography, nest preparation,
nursing, fostering, lactation, weaning, reproductive rhythms in rabbit
breeding) (1h).
- Techniques for handling and to perform the clinical examination of
animals (1 hour);
- Anatomy and physiology of the rabbit's reproductive system (2 hours
and 30 minutes):
A) Anatomy and reproductive physiology of the doe (gonadal axis,
oestrus cycle, placenta, factors affecting fertility, parental care) (1 hour
and 30 minutes);
B) Male anatomy and reproductive physiology (gonadal axis, semen
evaluation) (1h).
- Infectious and parasitic diseases that cause abortion and / or affect the
fertility of the rabbit; (30 min).
Practical activities in the farm (15 hours):
- - Evaluation of breeding structure, microclimatic parameters, types and
dimension of the cages, equipment and of all the activities carried out in
the farm (3hs)
- Semen collection and evaluation (2hs);
- Evaluation of the sexual receptivity of the doe and sexual libido of the
buck (1 hour);
- Artificial insemination and natural mating (2hs);
- Diagnosis of pregnancy by abdominal palpation and ecography (2hs);
- Blood sampling for hormonal evaluations (3hs);
- Evaluation of the nutritional status of the animal by BCS and
ecographycal evaluation of the perianal fat thickness (2hs).
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