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Aggressiveness Testing of Breeding Rabbit Does

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-2015.(doi:10.13031/2013.41599)
Authors:   Irene Olivas, Arantxa Villagrá
Keywords:   Aggressiveness, rabbits, age, recognition, resident-intruder

Aggressiveness can become a problem in group housed breeding rabbits and most likely becomes evident when mixing is carried out. On the other hand, animals housed in the same barn could identify their odor and this familiarity could lead to changes in behavior. The aim of this study is to determine the age at which aggression reaches the highest level in breeding does as well as the influence of the precedence of a different room. This has been performed throughout a 30 minute long resident-intruder test. Seventy four does were used in this study. Thirty-two does were tested as resident and 32 were tested as intruders. The intruders came from two different origins: 16 intruders came from cages inside the same experimental room and 16 came from an adjacent room. Aggressions were recorded during confrontations and the time at which each behavior started was recorded, as well as the latency to the first aggression and the latency to a fight which led to the termination of the test (more than 10 seconds). The test was carried out from 13 to 27 weeks of age. Age had a clear effect on latency to the first aggressive behavior and on latency to a strong fight and from day 130, latencies decreased by 50%. The latency to a strong fight was lower when intruders came from the same room (P<0.0001) but intruders origin did not have effect on latency to the first aggression.

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