Rabbit relinquishment through online classified advertisements in the United Kingdom: when, why, and how many?

To identify implicit causes of companion rabbit relinquishment, this study investigated whether there was annual and seasonal variation in the number of advertisements and ages of rabbits posted as free or for sale on classified websites in the United Kingdom. The number of advertisements posted decreased from 2014 to 2016. There was an increase in […]

A Survey of Rabbit Handling Methods Within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland

Rabbits are commonly kept in a variety of settings, including homes, laboratories, and veterinary clinics. Despite the popularity of keeping this prey species, little research has investigated current methods of handling. The aim of this study was to examine the experience of caregivers (owners and keepers) in using five handling methods commonly referred to in […]

The effect of environmental enrichment on the behaviour of caged rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Behaviour and use of the cage area were studied in 96 rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) kept in an enriched cage system — with access to shelter and raised height at the back of the cage — and in a conventional cage system to estimate the effects of the environmental enrichment on the rabbits’ welfare. The rabbits’ […]

Behaviour of growing rabbits under various housing conditions

The aim of this research was to assess the effects of environmental variables (group size, stocking density, floor type, environmental enrichment) on behaviour – as a welfare indicator – of growing rabbits. Two experiments were carried out with Pannon White rabbits. In experiment 1, 5-week-old rabbits (n = 112) were placed in cage blocks (2 […]

Glucocorticoid metabolites in rabbit faeces–Influence of environmental enrichment and cage size

The concentration of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in rabbit faeces has been suggested as a non-invasive indicator of stress. In the present study, GCM concentrations were measured in faeces of fattening rabbits kept in groups of eight, at seven different stocking densities (between 5 and 20 animals/m2), with or without environmental enrichment (a wooden structure used mainly […]

Effects of husbandry and management systems on physiology and behaviour of farmed and laboratory rabbits

The major issues regarding the welfare of both farmed and laboratory rabbits are reviewed, according to husbandry and management systems. The main stressors that can affect welfare and homeostatic responses in rabbits are also reviewed. An overview of the most widespread housing systems for both farmed and laboratory rabbits is presented. The main problems related […]

Maternal care of rabbits in the lab and on the farm: Endocrine regulation of behavior and productivity

Maternal behavior in rabbits has been well described in the wild, the laboratory, and the farm. Salient characteristics include: (a) the construction of a nest (inside an underground burrow or a box), composed of straw/grass and body hair and (b) the display of a single, brief (ca. 3 min) nursing bout per day. The onset and […]

The use of a cat-flap at the nest entrance to mimic natural conditions in the breeding of fattening rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Management systems allowing free nest access are widely used in commercial rabbit breeding, but these produce a potential conflict with the doe’s behavioural goal of a closed nest entrance. Furthermore, the restricted space in commercial breeding units prevents the doe from achieving a sufficient distance between her and the nest, another highly adaptive behavioural goal. […]

Physiological response of rabbits to heat, cold, noise and mixing in the context of transport

The effects on rabbits of four potential transport-related stressors (heat [HS], cold [CS], noise [NS] and mixing with unfamiliar animals [MS]) on certain physiological and meat quality parameters were studied. These are factors which may act to reduce the welfare of rabbits during their transport to the slaughterhouse. The rabbits were exposed to each potential […]

Potential behavioural indicators of post-operative pain in male laboratory rabbits following abdominal surgery

This study aimed to identify behaviours that could be used to assess post-operative pain and analgesic efficacy in male rabbits. In consideration of the ‘Three Rs’, behavioural data were collected on seven male New Zealand White rabbits in an ethically approved experiment requiring abdominal implantation of a telemetric device for purposes other than behavioural assessment. […]