Use of different areas of pen by growing rabbits depending on the elevated platforms' floor-type

Zs Szendró, Zs Matics, M. Odermatt, Zs Gerencsér, I. Nagy, K. Szendró, A. Dalle Zotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The addition of platforms to rabbit cages increases their accessible area and provides rabbits greater freedom and mobility. Different types of platforms enable rabbits to situate themselves where they are most comfortable. The objective of this experiment was to analyse preference of growing rabbits between different areas of the pen depending on the elevated platforms' floor-type. Pens with a basic area of 0.84 m 2 were equipped with platforms of 0.42 m 2. Three types of flooring of the elevated platforms were used as treatments: deep-litter floor and an open wire-net floor (Experiment 1), and a deep-litter floor and a wire-net floor with a manure tray beneath it (Experiment 2). Growing rabbits (n = 168; 42 per treatment) between the ages of 5 and 11 weeks were studied, based on 24 h video recordings from infra-red cameras (one recording per week) applying scan sampling method with a frequency of 30 min. When the platform was deep-litter, significantly (P < 0.001) more rabbits used the area under the platform (53.7% and 54.3% in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively) than stayed on the platform (16.7% and 7.6%). In treatments of wire-net platform with and without tray beneath the platform also significantly (P < 0.001) more rabbits stayed under the platform (43.7% and 34.7%, respectively) than on the platform (19.5% and 29.9%, respectively). The differences from the expected 33.3% staying on the platform or under the platform were significant at least at the level of P < 0.05. The results show that the wire-net platform with the manure tray provides the optimal environment as it leads to the rabbits spreading themselves more evenly in the pen (i.e. the platform expands available floor area) without the risk of soiling from above, and without adverse effects on heat dissipation, and with the possibility of seeking cover when desired.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-655
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • deep-litter
  • elevated platform
  • growing rabbits
  • wire-net

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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  • Cite this

    Szendró, Z., Matics, Z., Odermatt, M., Gerencsér, Z., Nagy, I., Szendró, K., & Dalle Zotte, A. (2012). Use of different areas of pen by growing rabbits depending on the elevated platforms' floor-type. Animal, 6(4), 650-655. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731111001819