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Cage size and enrichment effects on the bone quality and fluctuating asymmetry of fattening rabbits

Stephanie Buijs, Els Van Poucke, Stefan Van Dongen, Luc Lens UGent and Frank AM Tuyttens (2012) JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. 90(10). p.3568-3573
abstract
We studied the effect of increased cage size on different aspects of bone quality (bone strength, diameter, weight, and length) and fluctuating asymmetry (FA). Such characteristics may indicate improved animal welfare, as greater bone quality may decrease fracture incidence during handling, whereas decreased FA has been suggested to signal decreased stress. As stress is likely not only influenced by the quantity of space, but also by its quality, we also studied the effect of environmental enrichment. Groups of 8 rabbits were housed in wire open-top cages of 0.40, 0.46, 0.53, 0.64, 0.80, 1.07, and 1.60 m(2) from weaning until slaughter. All cages of 0.40 and 0.46 m(2) (12 cages/size) were left barren to allow sufficient mobility. One-half of the larger cages were enriched with a wooden-enrichment structure that could be used to gnaw on, hide in, or lie in (6 cages per size x enrichment treatment). Increased cage size led to an increase in tibiofibula diameter (P = 0.008), a tendency for increased tibiofibula weight (P = 0.051), and decreased FA (P = 0.010), suggesting improved welfare. Bone length and strength were not affected by cage size (P > 0.1). Enrichment did not affect FA (P > 0.1), in contrast with our expectations based on previous glucocorticoid analysis. This discrepancy between indicators may be due to sensitivity to other types of stressors or different sensitive periods. In summary, rabbits housed in larger cages had wider, heavier bones, but the absence of changes in bone strength indicate that this is unlikely to result in decreased fracture incidence. In larger cages, FA was lower, suggesting a favorable effect on welfare, whereas no effect of enrichment was shown.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
fattening rabbit, bone strength, fluctuating asymmetry, stocking density, welfare, MEAT QUALITY, TRAITS, GROWTH, PARAMETERS, BEHAVIOR, DENSITY, STRESS
journal title
JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE
J. Anim. Sci.
volume
90
issue
10
pages
3568 - 3573
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000309590700028
JCR category
AGRICULTURE, DAIRY & ANIMAL SCIENCE
JCR impact factor
2.093 (2012)
JCR rank
5/54 (2012)
JCR quartile
1 (2012)
ISSN
0021-8812
DOI
10.2527/jas2012-5141
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
3218045
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-3218045
date created
2013-05-18 13:47:02
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:47:19
@article{3218045,
  abstract     = {We studied the effect of increased cage size on different aspects of bone quality (bone strength, diameter, weight, and length) and fluctuating asymmetry (FA). Such characteristics may indicate improved animal welfare, as greater bone quality may decrease fracture incidence during handling, whereas decreased FA has been suggested to signal decreased stress. As stress is likely not only influenced by the quantity of space, but also by its quality, we also studied the effect of environmental enrichment. Groups of 8 rabbits were housed in wire open-top cages of 0.40, 0.46, 0.53, 0.64, 0.80, 1.07, and 1.60 m(2) from weaning until slaughter. All cages of 0.40 and 0.46 m(2) (12 cages/size) were left barren to allow sufficient mobility. One-half of the larger cages were enriched with a wooden-enrichment structure that could be used to gnaw on, hide in, or lie in (6 cages per size x enrichment treatment). Increased cage size led to an increase in tibiofibula diameter (P = 0.008), a tendency for increased tibiofibula weight (P = 0.051), and decreased FA (P = 0.010), suggesting improved welfare. Bone length and strength were not affected by cage size (P {\textrangle} 0.1). Enrichment did not affect FA (P {\textrangle} 0.1), in contrast with our expectations based on previous glucocorticoid analysis. This discrepancy between indicators may be due to sensitivity to other types of stressors or different sensitive periods. In summary, rabbits housed in larger cages had wider, heavier bones, but the absence of changes in bone strength indicate that this is unlikely to result in decreased fracture incidence. In larger cages, FA was lower, suggesting a favorable effect on welfare, whereas no effect of enrichment was shown.},
  author       = {Buijs, Stephanie and Van Poucke, Els and Van Dongen, Stefan and Lens, Luc and Tuyttens, Frank AM},
  issn         = {0021-8812},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE},
  keyword      = {fattening rabbit,bone strength,fluctuating asymmetry,stocking density,welfare,MEAT QUALITY,TRAITS,GROWTH,PARAMETERS,BEHAVIOR,DENSITY,STRESS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {3568--3573},
  title        = {Cage size and enrichment effects on the bone quality and fluctuating asymmetry of fattening rabbits},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas2012-5141},
  volume       = {90},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Buijs, Stephanie, Els Van Poucke, Stefan Van Dongen, Luc Lens, and Frank AM Tuyttens. 2012. “Cage Size and Enrichment Effects on the Bone Quality and Fluctuating Asymmetry of Fattening Rabbits.” Journal of Animal Science 90 (10): 3568–3573.
APA
Buijs, S., Van Poucke, E., Van Dongen, S., Lens, L., & Tuyttens, F. A. (2012). Cage size and enrichment effects on the bone quality and fluctuating asymmetry of fattening rabbits. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, 90(10), 3568–3573.
Vancouver
1.
Buijs S, Van Poucke E, Van Dongen S, Lens L, Tuyttens FA. Cage size and enrichment effects on the bone quality and fluctuating asymmetry of fattening rabbits. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. 2012;90(10):3568–73.
MLA
Buijs, Stephanie, Els Van Poucke, Stefan Van Dongen, et al. “Cage Size and Enrichment Effects on the Bone Quality and Fluctuating Asymmetry of Fattening Rabbits.” JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE 90.10 (2012): 3568–3573. Print.