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Main research question/goal

The general aim of this project is to provide the rabbit industry with an optimised semi-grouphousing system for female breeding rabbits with regards to the productivity and welfare of the both the does and their young.

Research approach

In a combination of participative experiments at the ILVO and on-farm trials, we will investigate:

(1) the effects of different ages at which lactating does are brought into group pens on animal welfare and productivity;

(2) differences in character between aggressive and non-aggressive does;

(3) Effects of additional hiding possibilities in combination with various group sizes on aggression by does.


This research will result in novel insights, concepts and innovation for the rabbit industry by: 1) delivering a pen design and group size that optimise rabbit welfare, 2) determining the best timing during lactation to move the does from individual to group housing, and 3) assessing whether selection against aggressive does could be a promising strategy to reduce aggression-related problems. This project will contribute to a greater social license, improved animal welfare and profictability, and superior labour quality in Flemish rabbit husbandry.

Funding provider(s)
Vlaamse Overheid - Leefmilieu, Natuur & Energie - Dienst Dierenwelzijn
Effective start/end date1/05/1930/04/22

ID: 6969563