Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 432276
Title Description of nestbox visits and suckling events in a group housing system for rabbit does as compared to individual cages
Author(s) Rommers, J.M.; Kemp, B.; Houwers, H.W.J.; Gunnink, H.; Jong, I.C. de
Source World Rabbit Science 20 (2012)4. - ISSN 1257-5011 - p. 231 - 240.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/wrs.2012.1231
Department(s) LR - Animal Behaviour & Welfare
Adaptation Physiology
Livestock Research
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) zealand white-rabbits - oryctolagus-cuniculus - maternal-behavior - laboratory rabbits - domestic rabbits - pup - frequency
Abstract Research was conducted to study nursing associated events of lactating rabbit does. Nest box visits and suckling events were investigated using 6 group pens (8 does/pen) and 12 enriched individual cages. Each group pen and individual cage was observed by video for one day per week until weaning at 35 d of lactation, with exception of the third week of lactation. In the first 2 wk of lactation, videotapes were analysed for the frequency and duration of nest box visits per day. The fourth and fifth week of lactation, suckling events on the floor of the group pens and nest box visits in the individual cages were analysed for one day per week. The first 2 wk of lactation, does visits to the nest boxes were less frequent (respectively 1.9±0.2 vs. 2.6±0.3, P24 h between nest box visits. In the cages, all does visited the nest boxes at least once a day. In the last 2 wk of lactation, in the group pens suckling duration (mean±standard deviation) was 89±49 and 92.2±37 s in respectively week 4 and 5. In 79% of the suckling events a mix of the does’ own and other kits were suckled. No difference was found in suckling duration between litters consisting of own and/or other kits. Thirty-two per cent of the does in week 4 and 62% of the does in week 5 did not suckle kits on the floor of the pen, whereas all the does in the cages still visited the nest boxes at least once every 24 h. Based on this study, it can be concluded that in group housing less frequent and shorter nest box visits as well as suckling events were found as compared to individual housing.
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