Wooden sticks as environmental enrichment effect on fattening and carcass traits of individually housed growing rabbits

D. Jordan*, G. Gorjanc, A. Kermauner, I. Stuhec

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of our study was to examine the influence of wooden sticks for gnawing as environmental enrichment on fattening, carcass and meat quality traits of growing rabbits. Forty-eight rabbits of SIKA sire line (Slovenian line for meat production) of both sexes were housed individually in wire-mesh cages equipped only with a feeder and a nipple drinker. Half of the cages were enriched with wooden sticks of Norway spruce (Picea abies). That was the experimental group whereas the other half was the control group. Animals had free access to feed and water, daily duration of lighting was 12 h. The experiment lasted from 44(th) to 103(rd) d of age. The consumption of wood was less than 0.5 % of the total feed intake. Results indicate that fattening and carcass traits, as well as meat quality were not influenced by environmental enrichment, although in the experimental group a smaller large intestine percentage (-0.21 +/- 0.13 %; [Pr(vertical bar difference vertical bar>0)=0.94]) was observed. Additionally rabbits in experimental group had redder meat values [Pr(vertical bar difference vertical bar>0)=0.92]. However, given that wooden sticks had no negative impact on rabbits' performance, sticks made of Norway spruce can still be treated as appropriate environmental enrichment for growing rabbits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalWorld rabbit science
Volume16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • rabbits
  • gnawing sticks
  • environmental enrichment
  • fattening traits
  • carcass traits
  • meat quality

Cite this