Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Effect of different housing systems (single and group penning) on the health and welfare of commercial female rabbits

  • S. Pérez-Fuentes (a1), A. Muñoz-Silvestre (a1), E. Moreno-Grua (a1), E. Martínez-Paredes (a2), D. Viana (a1), L. Selva (a1), A. Villagrá (a3), C. Sanz-Tejero (a4), J. J. Pascual (a2), C. Cervera (a2) and J. M. Corpa (a1)...

Abstract

In recent decades, concern about rabbit welfare and sustainability has increased. The housing system is a very important factor for animal welfare. However, information about how different available housing types for female rabbits affect their health status is scarce, but this is an important factor for their welfare. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the health status of female rabbits in five common housing systems: three different single-housing systems with distinct available surfaces and heights; a single-housing system with a platform; a collective system. Female rabbits in the collective and platform cages had greater cortisol concentrations in hair than those in the single-housing system with no platform. Haptoglobin concentrations and kit mortality rates during lactation were greater for the collective-cage female rabbits. The collective group had more culled females and more lesions than in the other groups. The main reasons for culling in all the groups were reproduction problems and presence of abscesses, and the collective group of females was the most affected. In conclusion, it appears that keeping females together in collective systems negatively affects their health status and welfare, while single-housing systems imply lower kit mortality rates during lactation and cortisol concentrations, and fewer lesions in female rabbits.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Alfonso-Carrillo, C, Martín, E, de Blas, C, Ibáñez, MA, García-Rebollar, P and García-Ruiz, AI 2014. Effect of cage type on the behaviour pattern of rabbit does at different physiological stages. World Rabbit Science 22, 5969.
Archetti, I, Tittarelli, C, Cerioli, M, Brivio, R, Grilli, G and Lavazza, A 2008. Serum chemistry and hematology values in commercial rabbits: preliminary data from industrial farms in northern Italy. In Proceedings of the 9th World Rabbit Congress, 10–13 June 2008, Verone, Italy, pp. 11471152.
Argente, M, García, ML, Birlanga, V and Muelas, R 2014. Relationship between cortisol and acute phase protein concentrations in female rabbits. The Veterinary Journal 202, 172175.
Cervera, C, Martínez-Paredes, E, Machado, L and Villagrá, A 2017. Producción de conejas en sistemas de alojamiento individual o colectivo en semigrupo. In Proceedings of the XLII Symposium de Cunicultura de ASESCU, 11–12 May 2017, Murcia, Spain, pp. 107110.
Dal Bosco, A, Mugnai, C, Martino, M, Szendrő, Z, Mattioli, S, Cambiotti, V, Mancinelli, AC, Moscati, L and Castellini, C 2019. Housing rabbit does in a combi system with removable walls: effect on behaviour and reproductive performance. Animals 98, 528.
Dalle Zotte, A, Princz, Z, Matics, Z, Gerencsér, Z, Metzger, S and Szendrő, Z 2009. Rabbit preference for cages and pens with or without mirrors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 116, 273278.
Dishlyanova, E, Georgieva, T, Petrov, V, Zapryanova, D, Marutsov, P, Dinev, I, Nikiforov, I and Georgiev, IP 2011. Blood haptoglobin response in rabbits with experimentally induced Staphylococcus aureus infection. Revue de Médecine Vétérinaire 162, 514518.
Hansen, L and Berthelsen, H 2000. The effect of environmental enrichment on the behaviour of caged rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 68, 163178.
Hawkins, P, Hubrecht, R, Buckwell, A, Cubitt, S, Howard, B, Jackson, A and Poirier, G 2008. Refining rabbit care. A resource for those working with rabbits in research. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), West Sussex and Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), Hertfordshire, UK.
Kriesten, K, Murawski, U and Schmidtmann, W 1987. Haematological values during normal reproduction of the maternal and the fetal rabbit. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. A, Comparative Physiology 87, 479485.
Machado, L, Cervera, C, Martínez-Paredes, E, Paragliola, F and Cano, C 2016. Comportamiento y manejo de conejas en sistemas de cría colectiva. In Proceedings of the XLI Symposium de Cunicultura de ASESCU, 12–13 May 2016, Hondarribia, Spain, pp. 134137.
Maertens, L and Buijs, S 2016. Impact of housing system (cage vs. part-time housing) and floor type on rabbit doe welfare. In Proceedings of the 11th World Rabbit Congress, 15–18 June 2016, Qingdao, China, pp. 707710.
Marai, I, Habeeb, A and Gad, A 2002. Rabbits’ productive, reproductive and physiological performance traits as affected by heat stress: a review. Livestock Production Science 78, 7190.
Marcato, PS and Rosmini, R 1986. Mammary glands. In Pathology of the rabbit and hare (eds. Marcato, PS and Rosmini, R), pp. 179186. Società Editrice Esculapio, Bologna, Italy.
Masthoff, T and Hoy, S 2019. Investigations on the influence of floor design on dirtiness and foot pad lesions in growing rabbits. Animals 96, 354.
Mugnai, C, Dal Bosco, A and Castellini, C 2009. Effect of different rearing systems and pre-kindling handling on behaviour and performance of rabbit does. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 118, 91100.
Petersen, HH, Nielsen, JP and Heegaard, PMH 2004. Application of acute phase protein measurements in veterinary clinical chemistry. Veterinary Research 35, 163187.
Rödel, HG, Starkloff, A, Bautista, A, Friedrich, A and Von Holst, D 2008. Infanticide and maternal offspring defence in European rabbits under natural breeding conditions. Ethology 114, 2231.
Rödel, HG, Starkloff, A, Seltmann, MW, Prager, G and von Holst, D 2009. Causes and predictors of nest mortality in a European rabbit population. Mammalian Biology-Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 74, 198209.
Rommers, JM, Boiti, C, De Jong, I and Brecchia, G 2006. Performance and behaviour of rabbit does in a group-housing system with natural mating or artificial insemination. Reproduction Nutrition Development 46, 677687.
Rommers, JM and de Greef, KH 2018. Are combi parks just as useful as regular parks for fatteners for part-time group housing of rabbit does? World Rabbit Science 26, 299305.
Rosell, J and De La Fuente, L 2008. Health and body condition of rabbit does on commercial farms. In Proceedings of the 9th World Rabbit Congress, 10–13 June 2008, Verone, Italy, pp. 10651069.
Rosell, J and De la Fuente, L 2013. Assessing ulcerative pododermatitis of breeding rabbits. Animals, 3, 318326.
Sánchez, J, de La Fuente, L and Rosell, J 2012. Health and body condition of lactating females on rabbit farms. Journal of Animal Science 90, 23532361.
Segura, P, Martinez, J, Peris, B, Selva, L, Viana, D, Penades, JR and Corpa, JM 2007. Staphylococcal infections in rabbit does on two industrial farms. Veterinary Record 160, 869872.
Siemsen, DW, Malachowa, N, Schepetkin, IA, Whitney, AR, Kirpotina, LN, Lei, B, DeLeo, FR and Quinn, MT 2014. Neutrophil isolation from nonhuman species. In Neutrophil methods and protocols (eds. Quinn, MT and De Leo, FR), pp. 1937. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, USA.
Szendrő, Z and McNitt, J 2012. Housing of rabbit does: group and individual systems: a review. Livestock Science 150, 110.
Szendrő, Z, Mikó, A, Odermatt, M, Gerencsér, Z, Radnai, I, Dezséry, B, Garai, E, Nagy, I, Szendrő, K and Matics, Z 2013. Comparison of performance and welfare of single-caged and group-housed rabbit does. Animal 7, 463468.
Szendrő, Z, Trocino, A, Hoy, S, Xiccato, G, Villagrá, A and Maertens, L 2019. A review of recent research outcomes on the housing of farmed domestic rabbits: reproducing does. World Rabbit Science 27, 114.
Tallo-Parra, O, Manteca, X, Sabes-Alsina, M, Carbajal, A and Lopez-Bejar, M 2015. Hair cortisol detection in dairy cattle by using EIA: protocol validation and correlation with faecal cortisol metabolites. Animal 9, 10591064.
Viana, D, Selva, L, Segura, P, Penades, JR and Corpa, JM 2007. Genotypic characterization of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from rabbit lesions. Veterinary Microbiology 121, 288298.
Zomeño, C, Birolo, M, Gratta, F, Zuffellato, A, Xiccato, G and Trocino, A 2018. Effects of group housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on performance and behaviour in rabbit does. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 203, 5563.

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Pérez-Fuentes et al. supplementary material
Pérez-Fuentes et al. supplementary material

 Word (18 KB)
18 KB

Effect of different housing systems (single and group penning) on the health and welfare of commercial female rabbits

  • S. Pérez-Fuentes (a1), A. Muñoz-Silvestre (a1), E. Moreno-Grua (a1), E. Martínez-Paredes (a2), D. Viana (a1), L. Selva (a1), A. Villagrá (a3), C. Sanz-Tejero (a4), J. J. Pascual (a2), C. Cervera (a2) and J. M. Corpa (a1)...

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed