COMPARISON OF FATTENING PERFORMANCES HOUSED IN PARKS OR ENRICHED CAGES

Luc Maertens, Stephanie Buijs

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    Abstract

    During four consecutive fattening cycles; the production performances of weaned rabbits housed in parks or in enriched cages were studied. Park systems measured 20 000 cm² and were equipped with an elevated platform of 6 000 cm² and floored with slatted plastic (P-parks) or with wire partly covered with plastic footrests (WF-parks). In the enriched cages (3 800 cm² + platform of 1 000 cm²) 7 weanlings were housed while in parks 32 weanlings were housed. Additionally, in the park housing the effect of the presence of supplementary enrichment was evaluated (pressed straw cylinders or plastic tubes). In total 2183 hybrid weanlings were used for the fattening trials(32-69 days). Due to an outbreak of ERE, performances in the 3rd and 4th cycle (batch) were significantly (P<0.001) lower. Under good sanitary conditions (cycle 1 and 2; <2% mortality), daily weight gain (DWG) amounted 45.8g, 46.8g and 47.8 in WF-parks, P-parks and cages, respectively. The difference between WF-parks and cages was significant. Under bad sanitary conditions, no difference in DWG was observed between housing systems. Even under bad health situation (cycle 3 and 4) mortality and unmarketable rabbits were not higher in park systems than in cage fattening. The floor or the additional enrichment (pressed straw or tubes) did not have a pronounced effect on the performances or losses during the fattening period
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 16-Jun-2016
    Event11th World Rabbit Congress - Qingdao, China
    Duration: 15-Jun-201618-Jun-2016

    Conference

    Conference11th World Rabbit Congress
    CountryChina
    CityQingdao
    Period15/06/1618/06/16

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