Short Communication: Assessment of Activity Patterns of Growing Rabbits in a Flux-Controlled Chamber
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Flux-controlled and metabolic chambers are often used for nutritional and environmental studies. However, the potential alterations of animal behaviour and welfare are so far not fully understood. In consequence, this study had 2 main objectives: to assess potential alterations of animal activity pattern and time budget inside a flux chamber, and to assess the importance of the "rearing up" behaviour. To this end, 10 growing rabbits of different ages (from 1 to 5 wk of the growing period) were housed inside a flux chamber. Their activity was continuously recorded and assessed, determining the frequency and duration of 8 different behaviours: lying, sleeping, sitting, eating, drinking, walking, rearing up and others. Nocturnal rabbit behaviour and time budget were not altered inside the chamber if compared to previously described rabbit activity under conventional cages. In addition, rabbits in this experiment presented a tendency to perform "rearing up" when housed inside the flux chamber.