Weaning induces changes in behavior and stress indicators in young New Zealand rabbits
Keywords:Abnormal behavior, Behavioral problems, Enzymes, Hormones, Rabbits
Objective: The present study was carried out to investigate the influence of weaning on the abnormal behavior, behavioral problems and some stress indicators in young rabbits.
Materials and methods: The study was conducted on seventy two New Zealand rabbit kits which were divided into two groups, one reared with their dams (unweaned rabbits) and the other group reared without their dams (weaned rabbits). Rabbits are reared on traditional wire net batteries. A scan sample technique was used during the observation period of the recorded traits. Rabbits behavior was observed three times per day at (from 8.00 to 9.00 h), (from 12.00 to 13.00 h) and (from 15.00 : 16.00 h) for three days weekly to each group during the experimental period (6 weeks). The observed activities were recorded at 10 min interval for rabbits in each subgroup (6 subgroups for each group). Two blood samplings were taken after weaning process for monitoring some stress indicators.
Results: The results showed that the bare biting and lixite bite were significantly affected by weaning which were increased in the weaned group than the unweaned group. Other abnormal behavioral traits and behavioral problems were not influenced by weaning process. The results found that cortisol, growth hormone levels, superoxide dismutase and catalase enzyme activities were significantly increased in serum after weaning.
Conclusion: The weaning process has negative effect on some behavioral and physiological responses. So, rearing the young rabbits with their mothers is advantageous from the viewpoint of animal welfare. The findings of this study may help to find out suitable strategies to minimize post weaning stress in both human beings and domestic animals.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).