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Welfare and performance traits of meat rabbit females. A review

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Authors: M. López, C. Cervera y J.J. Pascual
Issue: 116-2 (131-149)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: rabbit does, enrichment individual cages, group‑housing, behavior, aggression and injuries, health

Continuous and part‑time group housing systems have been tested to improve the welfare of reproducing rabbit does. Part-time group provides some improvements in locomotor and social behavior, some good reproductive results —still significantly lower than individual cages—, without making up for its negative effects: higher kit mortality, rates of aggression, injured and does mortality, on top of the complexity, time and effort invested. The continuous group system increases more the aforementioned problems. Individual cages enriched by a platform have no negative effect on productive performances, provide more opportunities for movements and behavioral repertoire in does (jumping, stand up), increase space availability, but deteriorate hygiene and health (pododermatitis, fractures). Plastic footrests, gnawing blocks, have a positive impact improving welfare in rabbits. In conclusion, refining the enrichment of standard cages seems a useful way to improve welfare while studying how to reduce aggression, as well as the suitability of the breeding group and the group model in meat rabbit does.


López M, Cervera C y Pascual JJ (2020). Bienestar y resultados zootécnicos en conejas de aptitud carne. Revisión bibliográfica. ITEA‑Información Técnica Económica Agraria 116(2): 131‑149.

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