Rabbit housing

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Domesticated rabbits descend from European wild rabbits. European wild rabbits live in groups depending upon resources available. The more resources that are available, the less tightly they group, and actually prefer quite a bit of distance from the other rabbits. A literature review concluded that wild rabbits are either dominant or subordinate and the subordinate animals live in a constant state of stress and fear when in a group setting. Dominant animals require submission from subordinate daily, and if not performed, leads to violent fighting.

Domesticated rabbits allowed to live in colonies showed much aggression to each other, and the reviewers came to the conclusion that rabbits are very aggressively territorial animals and for their safety, should be housed individually. The Social Nature of European Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

"However, anecdotal reports of aggression in rabbits, often without an obvious cause and resulting in serious injuries, during socialization attempts in the laboratory have prevented widespread social housing of the species."
"The literature on the subject is relatively brief, considering the number of animals used in research facilities each year, and many of the published reports are subjective assessments rather than well-controlled studies that 
 provide conclusive evidence regarding social housing benefits, risks, and methods for this species." "In such groupings, the dominant buck routinely patrols a territory, and as often as daily, requires a submissive act from all 
other rabbits, both male and female, sharing the same space.38 These submissive acts are manifested by the subordinate animals retreating or fleeing from the dominant buck's advances. Retreating is required to demonstrate 
submission, and any failure to retreat prompts an attack.38"
All it takes is one missed social cue
"In contrast, all adult animals demonstrated aggressive behavior toward one another, with no difference in frequency of aggressive behavior patterns between males and females in a large fenced-in area.36"
*~Stephanie Hughes- quoting "The Social Nature of European Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)"

We've mentioned in here previously that rabbits live in warrens, but you do not have the space like a wild rabbit does to avoid someone else ,Colony setups recommend something like 50 sqft per doe of unbroken space, iirc People 
trying to bond their rabbits are trying to do a colony setup without the sufficient space to do so safely  . Some rabbits aren't even interested in breeding until 1, Circling is territorial.
Unlikely, but not impossible
*~ Cave.Lepus Tomias Skyewillow

Or more .. if they like to keep approx 50feet apart naturally. It's more like 2500sqfeet per rabbit for them.to be most comfortable.. basically they want their own 3 bedroom house

Recent Rabbit Housing Studies[edit | edit source]

conversion note taken from cage sized studied:

  • standard breeding cages for reproducing does: 3,300 cm2/ 511.501 in2
  • grow out area : 1,200 cm2/ 186.0004 in2
  • dual-purpose cages for both reproducing does and growing rabbits: 3,655 cm2/ 566.52613 in2
  • enriched cages: 4,739 cm2/ 734.54647 in2

MMC Standard sized rabbit cages :

  • Singles New Zealand 3716.12 cm2/ 575.999752 in2
  • Doe with litter Min sized 5574.18 cm2/ 863.999628 in2
  • Doe with Litter Max Sized 5806.44 cm2/ 900 in2

Abstract and Figures This pilot study tested an on-farm protocol based on resource, management, and animal-based measures to evaluate the on-farm health and welfare of rabbits kept in four different housing systems. In detail, the four housing systems were

  • (1) standard breeding cages for reproducing does (3,300 cm2) with their litters associated with bicellular cages for growing rabbits (1,200 cm2);
  • (2) dual-purpose cages for both reproducing does and growing rabbits (3,655 cm2);
  • (3) enriched cages (4,739 cm2) for both reproducing does and growing rabbits equipped with a wire-mesh elevated platform (1,015 cm2);
  • (4) parks (30,977 cm2) made up of four modules (7,744 cm2 each) joined by removing the wire net walls between them with growing rabbits kept in collective parks and reproducing does individually in the single modules.

A total of 12 commercial farms (three farms/four housing systems) were visited during three seasons (summer, autumn, and winter) on two occasions each: (1) a pre-weaning visit for recordings on reproducing does and litters and (2) a pre-slaughtering visit for recordings on growing rabbits.

At the pre-weaning visit, the prevalence of health concerns did not differ among does and litters kept in the different housing systems. At the pre-slaughtering visit, a higher prevalence of dermatomycosis(Ringworm) was found in farms with dual-purpose cages and parks. Overall, taking into account the limitations due to the small sample size per housing system and the field conditions, the on-farm assessment tested in the present pilot study did not highlight major differences in the welfare and health of reproducing does and their kits as well as of growing rabbits in farms using different housing systems, which need to be confirmed on a large number of farms. The study also outlined the role of several management and environmental factors changing from one farm to another, which stresses the troubles of accounting for on-farm rabbit welfare and health exclusively to the housing system. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/362629070_A_pilot_study_about_on-farm_assessment_of_health_and_welfare_in_rabbits_kept_in_different_housing_systems

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