INTEGRATED LIVESTOCK PRACTICES AT THE UNIVERSITY RABBIT FARM

The Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche has a teaching rabbit farm in Polytechnic School at Orihuela (EPSO). The project involves a rabbit farm breeding by students of Degree and Master courses offered by the Polytechnic School at Orihuela (EPSO), in groups of 2-4 members, tutored by a multidisciplinary group of teachers. Specifically, the students conduct an intensive production of 20 females and 2 male. The students simulate the direction of a real rabbit farm on a small scale. The educational objective of the project is to help students acquire the skills necessary for the management of a conventional livestock farming, with similar characteristics of which are to be found in the labour market when they finish their university studies. The participating students, under the supervision and coordination of tutors, will perform the management of the production unit, planning and carrying out all activities involved, including related to reproduction (mating, weaning, lactation control, review and monitoring of breeding tasks and offspring, etc.), nutrition (supply and review of feed, fodder, drinking water), health and animal welfare (state of the accommodation, observing behaviour, supervision of animals, etc.). In addition, the students will perform data management by computer programs and will give visibility to their experience by managing a specific blog for this activity. Students of Degree in Food Science and Technology, Degree in Agricultural Engineering and Agroambiental and Master in Agronomic Engineering can make this voluntary extracurricular practices. With the marked cross-project approach, much of competences, both general and specific, of the 3 degrees are worked. These extracurricular practices will add value in their training because they can gain experience field for several years, managing a rabbit farm, which has interest in itself and as a model for management of other livestock species.