Pet rabbit housing and welfare in the Netherlands

P. Koene, B. Beerda, F. Schepers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


There is no research showing the behaviour and welfare of the one million pet rabbits in the Netherlands. The aim of this study was to initiate research on behaviour and welfare of pet rabbits in relation to housing conditions in Dutch households. A survey was placed on the internet with questions about rabbit housing systems, general care given to rabbits and behaviour of rabbits. The answers of 919 respondents were analysed. Behaviour observations of 90 rabbits were done at people’s homes. The rabbits were observed during a contact test (contacts made by the rabbit with the observer’s hand) and a handling test (resistance against the observer lifting the rabbit). Rabbits were also observed for an hour in their home cage. The survey revealed that the average lifespan of the rabbits is three years (maximal lifespan is eight to twelve years). About half of the respondents housed their rabbit(s) solitary, while the majority housed them in a small cage. Solitary housed rabbits made more contacts (9.8) than rabbits housed together (2.1; M-W, p
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42nd Congress of the ISAE: Applied ethology; Addressing future challenges in animal agriculture, 5 - 9 August, 2008, Dublin, Ireland
EditorsL. Boyle, N. O'Connell, A. Hanlon
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789086860814
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event42nd Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology -
Duration: 5 Aug 20089 Aug 2008


Conference42nd Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology

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