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Online Journal of Veterinary Research©
Volume 13 (2):48-55, 2009
Dept. of Hygiene and Preventive Med., Fac. of Vet. Med., Kafr EL-Sheikh,University, Egypt. Present address: Department of Veterinary Pathology, Tottori University, Minami 4-101, Koyama- cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori 680-8553, Japan.
Mousa-Balabel TM, Effect of cage versus pen and stocking density on behavior and performance in rabbits, Online J Vet Res., 13 (2):48-55, 2009. The effect of cage versus pens and six stocking densities on behavior and performance was evaluated in 76 New Zealand White doe weaned rabbits. In one test, 10 does were reared in a straw bedded pen and 10 in a cage using the same floor space (2 m2 for all animals/group). In another test six groups of 6 does each were stocked 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 16 rabbits/m2, respectively, in cages. All rabbits were fed a commercial pellet diet of 16.5% crude protein, 2.5% crude fat and 14% fibers given twice daily at 9am and 5pm and water ad libitum. Rabbits were acclimatized for one week before experiments were started. Body weight, feed intake, feed conversion ratio and behavior parameters such as maintenance, locomotory, investigatory, agonistic, comfortable and stereotypic, were recorded daily. Results revealed that growing rabbits reared in a cage system with stocking rates >10/m2 had lower growth rates and higher mortality.
Keywords: behavior, housing system, stocking density, White New Zealand rabbit.