Effect of lighting programme and nursing method on the production and nursing behaviour of rabbit does

Zs Gerencsér, Zs Matics, I. Nagy, I. Radnai, É Szendrö, Zs Szendrö

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the experiment was to analyse how the production and nursing behaviour of rabbit does are influenced by different lighting programmes and nursing methods. Rabbit does (n=119) were housed in 2 rooms. The lighting schedules were a continuous 16L:8D (16L, n=55) or an interrupted 8L:4D:8L:4D (8+8L, n=64). In both rooms, half of the does nursed their kits freely (FS, n=53), while for the other half the suckling method was changed to controlled nursing 3 d prior to the artificial insemination (Al) at day 11 (FS-CS, n=66). Lighting schedule had no significant effect on any productive trait. Seventy six percent of the 16L does nursed their kits during the dark period; however, in the 8+8L group, 50% of the nursing events occurred in the dark, 50% during the light periods, respectively. Thus the intermittent lighting could disturbe the nursing behaviour of the does. The nursing method significantly affected several traits. Al/parturition, body weight of the does at kindling, number of kits born alive, litter weight at 21 d, and suckling mortality were 1.38 and 1.24 (P < 0.05), 4.51 and 4.37 kg (P < 0.01), 7.95 and 8.46 (P < 0.05), 3.06 and 2.92 kg (P < 0.05), and 5.3 and 7.3% (P < 0.05) in the FS and FS-CS groups, respectively. Compared to the FS group, the advantage of the FS-CS group (P<0.001) was 16.2, 18.4, 9.3 and, 6.3% for total number of kits born, number of kits born alive, number of kits at 21 d, and total kits' weight at 21 d per Al, respectively. Due to the change in the nursing method, the frequency of multiple nursing increased. The length of the nursing period of the FS-CS group was significantly exceeded by that of the FS does. Based on these results, changing the nursing method could be considered as a possible adequate biostimulation method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Rabbit Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Lighting programme
  • Nursing behaviour
  • Nursing method
  • Rabbit
  • Reproductive traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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