Characterization of the indoor environment and gas emissions in rabbit farms

Salvador Calvet, María Cambra-López, Fernando Estellés Barber, Antonio Germán Torres


There is a need to characterize gas concentrations and emissions from rabbit production. A study was conducted in order to determine ammonia, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide concentrations and emissions in three rabbit farms in the Spanish Mediterranean area. Gas emissions were measured for 187 days in two different production stages (reproductive does and fattening rabbits). Gas concentrations were measured every two hours. Indoor temperature, relative humidity and ventilation flow were measured hourly. As a result, indoor temperature and relative humidity varied throughout the year, following a sinusoidal daily variation pattern. Maximum gas concentrations (14.3 mg/m3 of NH3, 7041 mg/m3 of CO2 and 5.10 mg/m3 of N2O) did not exceed the maximum recommended thresholds considering human health and animal welfare. Ammonia emissions were on average 55.9 and 10.2 mg/h per reproductive doe and fattening rabbit, respectively, and they were affected by temperature and relative humidity. The average carbon dioxide emission was 12588 mg/h per animal for does and 3341 mg/h for fattening rabbits. Nitrous oxide emission from does was 10.3 mg/h per animal, whereas for fattening rabbits the emission was negligible. Daily variation patterns of all measured parameters were observed and characterised in this study.


rabbits; ammonia; carbon dioxide; nitrous oxide; emissions

Full Text:



Burton C.H., Turner C. 2003. Manure Management: Treatment strategies for sustainable agriculture. Lister & Durling printers. Silsoe. Bedford. UK.

Calvet S., Estellés F., Hermida B., Blumetto O., Torres A. 2008. Experimental balance to estimate efficiency in the use of nitrogen in rabbit breeding. World Rabbit Sci., 16: 205-211.

Calvet S., Cambra-López M., Blanes-Vidal V., Estellés F., Torres A.G. 2010. Ventilation rates in mechanically-ventilated commercial poultry buildings in Southern Europe: Measurement system development and uncertainty analysis. Biosyst. Eng., 106: 423-432. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2010.05.006.

Cervera C. Fernández Carmona J. 1998. Climatic environment. In: de Blas C., Wiseman J. (ed). The nutrition of the rabbit. CABI publishing, Wallingford, UK. 273-295.

CIGR. 2002. Climatization of animal houses. Heat and moisture production at animal and house levels (ed. pedersen S. and Sälvik K.). Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences. Horsens, Denmark.

EPA. 2010. Inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks: 1990-2008. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report No. EpA 430-R-10-006. Washington, U.S.

Estellés F., Rodríguez-Latorre A.R., Calvet S., Villagrá A., Torres A.G. 2010. Daily carbon dioxide emission and activity of rabbits during the fattening period. Biosyst. Eng., 106: 338-343. doi:10.1016/j. biosystemseng.2010.02.011.

European Environment Agency 2009a. European Community emission inventory report 1990–2007 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). EEA Technical Report No 8/2009,

European Environment Agency. Copenhagen, Denmark.

European Environment Agency 2009b. Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2007 and inventory report 2009. EEA Technical Report No 4/2009, European Environment Agency. Copenhagen, Denmark.

German Institute for Occupational Safety. 2009. GESTIS-database on hazardous substances. Information system on hazardous substances of the Berufsgenossenschaften. BGIA, Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, Germany.

Groot Koerkamp P.W.G., Metz J.H.M., Uenk G.H., Phillips V.R., Holden M.R., Sneath R.W., Short J.L., White R.P., Hartung J., Seedorf J., Schroder M., Linkert K.H., Pedersen S., Takai H., Johnsen J.O., Wathes C.M. 1998. Concentrations and emissions of ammonia in livestock buildings in Northern Europe. J. Agric. Eng Res., 70: 79-95. doi:10.1006/jaer.1998.0275.

HSE. 2007. List of approved workplace exposure limits. Health & Safety Executive, UK.

Hol J.M.G., Scheer A., Ogink N.W.M. 2004. Onderzoek naar de ammoniak- en geuremissie van stallen LX. Stal voor voedsters en vleeskonijnen. Report No. 219, Agrotechnology & Food Innovations B.V. Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

International Panel on Climate Change 2006. Emissions from Livestock and Manure Management. In: 2006 IPPC Guidelines for National Greenhouse gas Inventories. Volume 4: Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use. Hayama (Kanagawa), Japan. .

Jilge B. 1991. The Rabbit - A Diurnal or a Nocturnal Animal. J. Exp. Anim. Sci., 34: 170-183.

Kaliste E., Linnainmaa M., Meklin T., Nevalainen A. 2002. Airborne contaminants in conventional laboratory rabbit rooms. Lab. Anim., 36: 43-50. doi: 10.1258/0023677021911759

Kavolelis B. 2006. Impact of animal housing systems on ammonia emission rates. pol. J. Environ. Stud. 15: 739-745.

Kaye J., Buchanan J., Kendrick A., Johnson P., Lowry C., Bailey J., Nutt D., Lightman D. 2004. Acute carbon dioxide exposure in healthy adults: evaluation of a novel means of investigating the stress response. J. Neuroendocrinol., 16: 256-264. doi: 10.1111/j.09538194.2004.01158.x

Kiwull-Schöne H., Kalhoff H., Manz F., Kiwull P. 2005. Food mineral composition and acid-base balance in rabbits. Eur. J. Nutr., 44: 499508. doi: 10.1007/s00394-005-0553-z

Krupa S.V. 2003. Effects of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) on terrestrial vegetation: a review. Environ. pollut., 124: 179-221. doi:10.1016/ S0269-7491(02)00434-7

Lacey R.E., Redwine J.S., Parnell C.B. 2003. Particulate matter and ammonia emission factors for tunnel-ventilated broiler production houses in the Southern US. Trans. ASAE 46: 1203-1214.

Maertens L., Cavini C., Petracci M. 2005. Nitrogen and phosphorus excretion on commercial rabbit farms: calculations based on the input-output balance. World Rabbit Sci., 13: 3-16.

Michl R., Hoy S. 1996. Results of continuous measuring of gases in rabbit keeping by using multigas-monitoring. Berl. Munch. Tierarztl., 109: 340-343.

Oldenburg J. 1989. Geruchs- und Ammoniak Emissionen aus der Tierhaltung. KTBL Schrift-333. Darmstadt, Germany.

Ooms T.G., Artwohl J.E., Conroy L.M., Schoonover T.M., Fortman J.D. 2008. Concentration and emission of airborne contaminants in a laboratory animal facility housing rabbits. J. Am. Assoc. Lab. Anim., 47: 39-48.

Pedersen S., Takai H., Johnsen J.O., Metz J.H.M., Koerkamp P.W.G.G., Uenk G.H., Phillips V.R., Holden M.R., Sneath R.W., Short J.L., White R.P., Hartung J., Seedorf J., Schroder M., Linkert K.H., Wathes C.M. 1998. A comparison of three balance methods for calculating ventilation rates in livestock buildings. J. Agric. Eng Res., 70: 25-37.

Roney N., Llados F., Little S.S. Knaebel D.B. 2004. Toxicological Profile of Ammonia. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, GA, USA.

SAS. 2001. User’s guide: statistics (Release 9.2). SAS® Institute Inc. Cary, NC, USA.

Solomon S., Qin D., Manning M., Alley R.B., Berntsen T., Bindoff N.L., Chen Z., Chidthaisong A., Gregory J.M., Hegerl G.C., Heimann M., Hewitson B., Hoskins B.J., Joos F., Jouzel J., Kattsov V., Lohmann U., Matsuno T., Molina M., Nicholls N., Overpeck J., Raga G., Ramaswamy V., Ren J., Rusticucci M., Somerville R., Stocker T.F., Whetton P., Wood R.A., Wratt D. 2007. Technical Summary. In: Climate Change 2007: The physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Wathes C.M., Charles D.R. 1994. Livestock Housing. CABI publishing. Wallingford. UK.

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. Evolution of NH3 Concentrations in Weaner Pig Buildings Based on Setpoint Temperature
Manuel R. Rodriguez, Eugenio Losada, Roberto Besteiro, Tamara Arango, Ramon Velo, Juan A. Ortega, Maria D. Fernandez
Agronomy  vol: 10  issue: 1  first page: 107  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/agronomy10010107


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011