Use of straw and wood shavings as nest material in primiparous does
Keywords:nest material, preference, rabbit husbandry, behavior
In rabbit production, several materials such as hay, straw, wood shavings or waste wool and cotton are used as nesting materials during parturition. In this work, straw and wood shavings were studied as potential materials for nest boxes, and a choice test was designed for this purpose. Two replicates of 30 primiparous does each were carried out. Does were housed 10 d before parturition in a double commercial cage, so each doe had access to 2 different nest boxes. One of the nests was filled with 8 cm of barley straw and the other with 8 cm of wood shavings, so the doe could choose which of them she prepared and gave birth in. During the 24 h prior to parturition, the state of the nest was assessed, according to the mixing of the material and the doe’s hair and the preservation of the original material, as well as the chosen nest box. When the does gave birth, the number of live and dead newborn was recorded. In the first replicate, 87% of the does chose the straw nest box, while in the second replicate 93% of the does did so. The number of live kits at birth did not differ statistically for straw and wood shavings nests (8.36±1.74 vs. 6.85±3.44), but litters reared in straw reacted a higher size at weaning (7.98±1.73 vs. 6.29±3.35; P<0.05). Finally, all the nests achieved a good level of mixing between the original material and the hair of the doe and only 5% of the does removed the original material (regardless of whether it was straw or wood shavings) and made the nest only with their hair. In conclusion, our results suggest that does might have a strong preference for straw rather than wood shavings as nest material.
Baumann P., Oester H., Stauffacher M. 2005. Effects of temporary nest box removal on maternal behavior and pup survival in caged rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 91: 167-178.
Baumans V. 2005. Environmental enrichment for laboratory rodents and rabbits: requirements of rodents, rabbits and research. ILAR J. 46: 162-170.
Baselga M. 2002. Line V (Spain). In: Rabbit genetic resources in Mediterranean countries. Options Méditerranéenes, Série B, No. 38. CIHEAM-IAMZ. Zaragoza, Spain. 231-241.
Damn B.I., Pedersen L.J., Heiskanen T., Nielsen N.P. 2005. Longstemmed straw as an additional nesting material in modified Schmid pens in a commercial breeding unit: effects on sow behaviour and on piglet mortality and growth. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 92: 45-60.
Fernández-Carmona J., Solar A., Pascual J.J., Blas E., Cervera C. 2005. The behaviour of farm rabbit does around parturition and during lactation. World Rabbit Sci., 13: 253-277.
González-Redondo P. 2010. Maternal behaviour in peripartum influences preweaning kit mortality in cage-bred wild rabbits. World Rabbit Sci., 18: 91-102.
Hudson R., Schaal B., Martínez-Gómez M., Distel H. 2000. Motheryoung relations in the European rabbit: physiological and behavioural locks and keys. World Rabbit Sci., 8: 85-90.
Kruschwitz A., Zupan M., Buchwlader T., Huber-Eicher B. 2008. Nest preference of laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) and their motivation to exert themselves to gain nest access. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 112: 321-330.
Lanteigne M., Reebs S.G. 2006. Preference for bedding material in Syrian hamsters. Lab. Anim., 40: 410-418.
Morgan K.N., Tromborg C.T. 2007. Sources of stress in captivity. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 102: 262-302.
Ras T., Van de Ven M., Patterson-Kane E.G., Nelson K. 2002. Rats’ preferences for corn versus wood-based bedding and nesting materials. Lab. Anim., 36: 420-425.
SAS. 2009. SAS/STAT User’s Guide (Release 9.1). SAS Inst. Inc., Cary NC, USA.
Selzer D., Hoy S.T. 2003. Comparative investigations on behaviour of wild and domestic rabbits in the nestbox. World Rabbit Sci., 11: 13-21.
Shields S.J., Garner J.P., Mench J.A. 2004. Dustbathing by broiler chickens: a comparison of preference for four different substrates. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 87:69-82.
Van de Weerd H.A., Van Loo P.L.P., Van Zutphen L.F.M., Koolhas J.M., Baumans V. 1997. Preferences for nesting material as environmental enrichment for laboratory mice. Lab. Anim., 31: 133-143.
Weber E.M., Olsson I.A. 2008. Maternal behaviour in Mus musculus sp.: an ethological review. Appl. Anim
This journal is licensed under a "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)".