Effect of housing system (wire cage versus group-housing) and in-house air quality parameters on the behaviour of fattening rabbits

Vytautas Ribikauskas, Daiva Ribikauskienė, Ina Skurdenienė


In the same room of an experimental rabbit house 2 housing systems were compared, namely three pens to keep rabbits on bedding and six wire cages for unbedded rabbit keeping. In total, 69 New Zealand White crossbred rabbits 8-12 wk old were used in the study. The rabbits were kept in groups with 0.6 m2 floor area per animal in pens with thinly scattered straw. Wire cages had no bedding and there were 4 rabbits in each cage and 0.4 m2 floor area per rabbit. The study lasted for 8 wk. Rabbit behaviour was observed once 1 wk for 24 h. Behaviour was recorded using a scan sampling every hour. Results were analysed by calculating the percentage frequency of each behaviour. Behaviour analysis according to the keeping method indicated that rabbits kept on bedding spent on average less time resting and grooming (41.53 % and 5.18 % vs. 53.60 % and 8.48 %) and more time eating (29.86 % vs. 18.03 %, respectively) in comparison with those kept in wire cages. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between environmental temperature, illumination, ammonia and carbon dioxide gas concentrations and activity of rabbits.


rabbits; behaviour; air quality; housing system

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World Rabbit Science  vol: 20  issue: 4  year: 2012  
doi: 10.4995/wrs.2012.1211


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011   https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs