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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.

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Record number 443364
Title Effect of environmental enrichment and territory on aggression in group-housed rabbit does
Author(s) Rommers, J.M.; Reuvekamp, B.F.J.; Gunnink, H.; Jong, I.C. de
Source In: Proceedings of the Benelux ISAE conference 2013, 10 October 2013, Sterksel, The Netherlands. - - p. 18 - 18.
Event Benelux ISAE conference 2013, Sterksel, 2013-10-10/2013-10-10
Department(s) LR - Animal Behaviour & Welfare
Publication type Contribution in proceedings
Publication year 2013
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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