Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does

J.M. Rommers, B.F.J. Reuvekamp, H. Gunnink, I.C. de Jong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Abstract

Aggression between rabbit does can lead to severe injuries and impedes the application of group-housing on commercial farms. We studied the effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. The group housing system consisted of four adjacent individual cages that were transformed into one group-housing system for four multiparous lactating hybrid does by taking away three side walls at d 18 of lactation. Until d 18 of lactation, does were housed individually in the cages of the group pen (territory (T)) or in other individual cages (no territory (NT)). Does were housed in groups until weaning of the kits at 35d of lactation. Within T and NT the following enrichments were provided (split-plot design): hiding places (HP), straw (S), hiding places and straw (HP+S) or no enrichment (NE)). Sixteen group pens were used for five subsequent rounds (n=10/treatment). Behavioural observations were performed and skin injuries and technical performance were registered. Treatments did not differ in frequency of agonistic interactions at 1 and 3 days after placement in the groups (average number of agonistic interactions for all treatments, day 1 148±24; day 3 51±27). Overall 52.2% of the animals had injuries (range 13 - 39%). Treatments with hiding places did have the lowest percentages of wounds and injuries numerically (% does with wounds: HP 13%; HP+S 27%; NE 31%; S 39%; average T 24%, NT 31%) but no significant treatment effects were found. There was a tendency for less does culled in HP and HP+S (0.25 and 0.3) compared with NE (0.8) and S (0.65) (P
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands
Pages18-18
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventBenelux ISAE conference 2013 - Sterksel, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Oct 201310 Oct 2013

Conference

ConferenceBenelux ISAE conference 2013
CountryNetherlands
CitySterksel
Period10/10/1310/10/13

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group housing
environmental enrichment
aggression
cages
lactation
rabbits
animal injuries
wounds and injuries
straw
commercial farms
skin (animal)
weaning

Cite this

Rommers, J. M., Reuvekamp, B. F. J., Gunnink, H., & de Jong, I. C. (2013). Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. In Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands (pp. 18-18)
Rommers, J.M. ; Reuvekamp, B.F.J. ; Gunnink, H. ; de Jong, I.C. / Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands. 2013. pp. 18-18
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abstract = "Aggression between rabbit does can lead to severe injuries and impedes the application of group-housing on commercial farms. We studied the effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. The group housing system consisted of four adjacent individual cages that were transformed into one group-housing system for four multiparous lactating hybrid does by taking away three side walls at d 18 of lactation. Until d 18 of lactation, does were housed individually in the cages of the group pen (territory (T)) or in other individual cages (no territory (NT)). Does were housed in groups until weaning of the kits at 35d of lactation. Within T and NT the following enrichments were provided (split-plot design): hiding places (HP), straw (S), hiding places and straw (HP+S) or no enrichment (NE)). Sixteen group pens were used for five subsequent rounds (n=10/treatment). Behavioural observations were performed and skin injuries and technical performance were registered. Treatments did not differ in frequency of agonistic interactions at 1 and 3 days after placement in the groups (average number of agonistic interactions for all treatments, day 1 148±24; day 3 51±27). Overall 52.2{\%} of the animals had injuries (range 13 - 39{\%}). Treatments with hiding places did have the lowest percentages of wounds and injuries numerically ({\%} does with wounds: HP 13{\%}; HP+S 27{\%}; NE 31{\%}; S 39{\%}; average T 24{\%}, NT 31{\%}) but no significant treatment effects were found. There was a tendency for less does culled in HP and HP+S (0.25 and 0.3) compared with NE (0.8) and S (0.65) (P",
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Rommers, JM, Reuvekamp, BFJ, Gunnink, H & de Jong, IC 2013, Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. in Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands. pp. 18-18, Benelux ISAE conference 2013, Sterksel, Netherlands, 10/10/13.

Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. / Rommers, J.M.; Reuvekamp, B.F.J.; Gunnink, H.; de Jong, I.C.

Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands. 2013. p. 18-18.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

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Rommers JM, Reuvekamp BFJ, Gunnink H, de Jong IC. Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does. In Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands. 2013. p. 18-18