Impact of housing system (cage vs. semi-group housing) and floor type on rabbit doe welfare. Welfare aspects were assessed in does housed either in single-doe cages (0.4 m², wire floor) or in semi-group parks (2 m² for 4 does) with a wire floor or with a plastic slatted floor. Does were housed in these systems for 4 consecutive reproduction cycles (24 does/housing type). From 3 days before kindling till 18 days after kindling, each park was divided into 4 individual units. The other 3 weeks of the 42 days reproduction cycle, 4 does were housed together in each park. In the period immediately after grouping, hopping and sniffing/allo-grooming took up 4.3% and 1.3% of the semi-group does’ time budget, whilst in cages these behaviors took up 0.7% and 0%, respectively (p<0.01). However, 4 and 11 days after grouping, treatment differences were much smaller. Semi-group does did not spend significantly more time in bodily contact than caged does in any of the observation periods. Immediately after grouping, agonistic behavior took up 7.3% semi-group does’ time, whilst it was absent in the cages. Although agonistic interactions decreased very rapidly after grouping, they resulted in skin lesions in many does (58% showed slight lesions and 20% more severe lesions). No difference in adrenal weight or the prevalence of spinal deformations was observed between the systems, but tibia cortical thickness was greater (p<0.05) in semi-group does than in caged does. The plastic slatted floor greatly reduced the prevalence of plantar hyperkeratosis: 5% vs. 65% (semi-group on plastic vs. on wire), cage on wire: 68% (p<0.001). In the absence of major changes in the behavioral time budget and indications of decreased stress, we could not provide clear evidence that our semi-group housing system had a major positive impact on doe welfare.
|Titel||16e Journées de la Recherche Cunicole|
|Uitgeverij||ITAVI, 28 rue du Rocher PARIS|
|Publicatiestatus||Gepubliceerd - 24-nov-2015|
|Evenement||16èmes Journées de la Recherche Cunicole - Le Mans, Frankrijk|
Duur: 24-nov-2015 → 25-dec-2015