Effect of gnawing wood as environmental enrichment on behaviour of individually housed growing rabbits

Dusanka Jordan, G. Gorjanc, I. Stuhec

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The aim of our study was to examine the influence of gnawing sticks as environmental enrichment on the duration and frequency of rabbit behavioural patterns. For this purpose 16 males of Slovenian sire line SIKA for meat production were recorded four days for 24 hours per day, namely between 45 and 48, 58 and 61, 72 and 75, and 86 and 89 days of rabbits' age. Animals were housed individually in wire cages equipped with a feeder and a nipple drinker. Half of the cages were enriched with wooden sticks of Norway spruce (Picea abies). Animals had free access to the feed and water, the daily duration of lighting was 12 hours. Rabbits spent the majority of time resting (57.3 to 58.4%). The most common active behavioural patterns were body care (a sum of grooming and scratching; 20.5 to 20.8%) and feeding (9.57 to 11.6%). They changed their behaviour from 47.2 to 47.5 times per hour. Environmental enrichment significantly influenced only the duration of feeding. Rabbits in enriched cages were feeding significantly longer, namely 2.08 +/- 0.87% per hour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
Journal Archives of Poultry Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • Growing rabbits
  • individual cages
  • environmental enrichment
  • animal behaviour
  • animal welfare
  • WILD

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