Technical Note: Plastic mats prevent footpad injuries in rabbit does
In the Netherlands, welfare regulations indicate that rabbits should be housed on 3 mm wire floors. In a pilot study, 3 mm wire floors did not decrease footpad injuries as expected, whereas a plastic mat fixed to the 3 mm wire did improve footpad quality. However, more data were necessary to support this finding. To this end, footpad injuries were studied in does housed on 3 mm wire floors (NOMAT) and 3 mm wire floors with a plastic mat (MAT) on five rabbit farms. On each farm, 25 cages were used for each floor type and footpad quality was measured during 5 successive reproductive cycles. Footpad quality was scored once every production cycle of 42 or 49 d, using a scale from 0 (= intact footpads) to 4 (=wounds). The total number of does in the experiment declined at later parity, due to relocation within the farm and mortality. The percentage of does with intact footpads on NOMAT declined from 96.4% to 13.3% from the first to the fifth parity, respectively. On MAT, 81.3% of the does still had intact footpads at the fifth parity. Results indicated that on NOMAT footpads became injured after the second parity, with a negative effect on the welfare of the does. The average footpad score was significantly lower for the does on MAT as compared to the does on NOMAT (average scores ± SD were 0.17 ± 0.43 and 0.32 ± 0.54, respectively; P < 0.05). Fewer injuries were observed on MAT. Thus, plastic mats have a positive effect on prevention of footpad injuries.
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1. Performance and welfare of rabbit does in various caging systems
A. Mikó, Zs. Matics, Zs. Gerencsér, M. Odermatt, I. Radnai, I. Nagy, K. Szendrő, Zs. Szendrő
Animal vol: 8 issue: 7 first page: 1146 year: 2014
Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)
e-ISSN: 1989-8886 ISSN: 1257-5011 https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs