ArticlePDF Available

Light colour preference of growing rabbits

Authors:
  • Szent István University Kaposvár Campus

Abstract and Figures

The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the light colour preference of growing rabbits placed in a free-choice cage. The experiment was carried out on 128 Pannon White growing rabbits weaned at the age of 5 weeks and placed into blocks (2m2) of four cages. The rabbits could move freely among the four cages (0.5m2 each) through swing doors. The cages differed only in the colour of the light applied (white, yellow, green or blue). The lighting schedule was 16L: 8D. From 6 until 10 weeks of age, infrared video recording was performed once a week (24 hours). The number of rabbits in each cage was counted every 15 minutes. Feed consumption was measured weekly. Between 6 and 10 weeks of age the rabbits significantly preferred white light (28.0%). The preference order was the following: yellow (26.3%), blue (23.4%) and green (22.3%) (P<0.001). No significant differences were recorded in the feed consumption among the cages. In conclusion, the cage preference of the rabbits was slightly affected by the light colour.
Content may be subject to copyright.
205
CommuniCation
Light colour preference
of growing rabbits
Zsolt Gerencsér1, Zsolt Matics2, István Nagy1, Zsolt Szendrő1
1Department of Animal Science. Kaposvár University, Hungary
2MTA-KE Research Group of Animal Breeding and Hygiene. Kaposvár, Hungary
Corresponding author: Dr. Zsolt Gerencsér. Department of Animal Science. Kaposvár University, 7400
Kaposvár Guba S.u.40, Hungary – Tel. +36 505 800 - Fax: +36 320 175 - Email: gerencser.zsolt@ke.hu
ABSTRACT – The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the light colour prefer-
ence of growing rabbits placed in a free-choice cage. The experiment was carried out on 128
Pannon White growing rabbits weaned at the age of 5 weeks and placed into blocks (2m2) of
four cages. The rabbits could move freely among the four cages (0.5m2 each) through swing
doors. The cages differed only in the colour of the light applied (white, yellow, green or blue).
The lighting schedule was 16L: 8D. From 6 until 10 weeks of age, infrared video recording
was performed once a week (24 hours). The number of rabbits in each cage was counted
every 15 minutes. Feed consumption was measured weekly. Between 6 and 10 weeks of age
the rabbits significantly preferred white light (28.0%). The preference order was the follow-
ing: yellow (26.3%), blue (23.4%) and green (22.3%) (P<0.001). No significant differences
were recorded in the feed consumption among the cages. In conclusion, the cage preference
of the rabbits was slightly affected by the light colour.
Key words: Light colour, Growing rabbit, Preference test.
Introduction - In previous experiments on rabbits mainly the effect of lighting schedule
(length) was studied. On poultry, the effect of the light colour on the number of produced
eggs, egg size and weight gain of broiler is well known (Rodenboog, 2001). Similar studies
for mammals are scarce (cattle: Ádám et al., 1990; sheep: Casamassima et al., 1994; horse:
Stachurska et al., 2002). Despite rabbits are active during the dark period and are less
sensitive for the colour of the light, studying its effect has a raising interest. According to
various studies the rabbit’s visual system which consist predominantly of rods, also con-
tains blue-(425nm) and green-(520nm) sensitive cones (Juliusson et al., 1994). According to
Gerencsér et al. (2008) application of blue light had favourable effect on litter weight at 23
d of age compared to conventional white light. The objective of this study was to evaluate
the preference of growing rabbits for cages with different light colours (white, yellow, blue
or green).
Material and methods The experiment was performed using 1 block with 4 con-
nected cages (32 Pannon White growing rabbit/block) for a 5 weeks growing period; then
Ital.J.anIm.ScI. vol. 8 (Suppl. 3), 205-207, 2009
206
the trial was repeated 3 times using the same cage block and other 3x32 animals were used
(altogether 128 animals). The rabbits could move freely among the four cages (0.5m2 each)
through swing doors. The cages differed only in the colour of the light (white, yellow, green
or blue). All cages were equipped with feeder and drinker. The lighting schedule was 16L:
8D and the lighting intensity was 80-90 Lux in each cage. The walls of the cages were cov-
ered with white plates to avoid light percolation. The rabbits received a commercial pelleted
diet ad libitum. The amount of feed consumed in each cage was measured weekly. After an
adaptation week, from 6 to 10 weeks of age infrared video recording was performed once
a week (24 hours). The number of rabbits in each cage was counted every 15 minutes. The
experiment was repeated four times changing the light colour in each cage rotationally,
thus all of the light colours were applied in each cage. Data were evaluated by means of two-
factor analysis of variance (replications: 1-4; light colour: 1-4) applying SPSS 10 software
package.
Results and conclusions Results of the cage preference can be seen in Table 1. The
replication had no significant effect on preference (data not shown). Between the 6 and 10
weeks of age the rabbits preferred the white colour light.
The observed preference order was the following: yellow, blue and green (P<0.001). The
preference of white colour was the highest during the first week. Preference for white and
yellow colours was higher than 25%, while that for blue and green colours was lower. The
observed tendencies were identical both in the light (6:00-22:00) and dark (22:00-6:00) pe-
riods. The rabbits could ’remember’ or identify the preferred cages by olfactory stimuli.
Similar results were reported by Dalle Zotte et al. (2009), evaluating the cage preference
with or without mirrors. A more balanced cage choice was observed with the advancing age
of the rabbits. This is due to the increased space requirement together with rabbit’s growth.
Similar results were reported by Matics et al. (2003) when reporting the cage preference in
relation to different floor types. The feed consumption of the rabbits was not affected by the
light colour (Table 2), and by the replication (data not shown).
Table 1. Cage choice (%) of growing rabbits among cages with different light co-
lours.
Age (weeks) Light colour SE P
White Yellow Blue Green
6 33.6c26.2b23.8b16.4a0.38 ***
7 28.3b26.8b22.6a22.3a0.24 ***
8 27.3c25.2b23.9ab 23.6a0.18 ***
9 24.4ab 26.9c23.6a25.1b0.18 ***
10 26.2b26.3b23.3a24.2a0.19 ***
6-10 28.0d26.3c23.4b22.3a0.11 ***
***P<0.001.
Ital.J.anIm.ScI. vol. 8 (Suppl. 3), 205-207, 2009
GerencSér et al.
207
17th Int. Symp. anImal ScIence DayS
In conclusion, the light colour affected rabbits’ cage preference, but not feed consumption.
REFERENCES – Ádám, T., Szilágyi, M., Súri, A., Farkas, J., Richter, J., 1990. Effects
of spectral lights in beef fattening. (In Hung.) Állatteny. Tak. 39: 137-144. Casamassima,
D., Sevi, A., Montemurro, O., 1994. Effect of colour of light on performance and behavioural
activity of lambs for slaughter. Zootech. Nutr. Anim. 20: 27-33. Dalle Zotte, A., Princz, Z.,
Matics, Zs., Gerencsér, Zs., Metzger, Sz., Szendrő, Zs., 2009. Rabbit preference for cages and
pens with or without mirror. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 116: 273-278. Gerencsér, Zs., Matics,
Zs., Nagy, I., Princz, Z., Biró-Németh, E., Radnai, I., Szendrő, Zs., 2008. Effect of colour of
light on the reproductive performance of rabbit does. In: Proc. 9th World Rabbit Congress,
Verona, pp. 365-369. Juliusson, B., Bergstörm, A., Röhlich, P., Ehinger, B., Theo Van Veen,
Szél, Á., 1994. Complementary cone fields of the rabbit retina. Invest. Ophtalmol Vis. Sci.
35: 811-818. Matics, Zs., Szendrő, Zs., Radnai, I., Biróné Németh, E., Gyovai, M., 2003.
Examination of free choice of rabbits among different cage-floors. Agric. Conspectus Sci.
68: 265-268. Rodenboog, H., 2001. Sodium, green, blue, cool or warm-white light? World
Poultry 17:22-23. Stachurska, A., Pieta, M., Nesteruk, E., 2002. Which obstacles are most
problematic for jumping horses. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 77: 197-207.
Table 2. Feed consumption in cages with different light colours (% of total con-
sumption).
Age, (weeks) Light colour SE P
White Yellow Blue Green
6 25.3 25.4 25.8 23.5 2.30 ns
7 26.1 25.1 26.3 22.5 1.48 ns
8 25.3 21.2 28.0 25.6 1.48 ns
9 22.5 22.8 28.3 26.3 1.38 ns
10 23.1 23.2 28.2 25.4 1.08 ns
6-10 24.5 23.5 27.3 24.7 0.69 ns
Ital.J.anIm.ScI. vol. 8 (Suppl. 3), 205-207, 2009
... However, in our understanding, so far the effect of the colour of light on the rabbits' production has not been analysed. According to a free choice test, rabbits show higher preference towards light (white and yellow) colours than for darker colours such as green or blue (Gerencsér et al., 2009). Only limited information can be found describing this topic for other farm animals (cattle: Ádám et al., 1990;sheep: Casamassima et al., 1994;horse: Stachurska et al., 2002). ...
... Their visual system consists predominantly of rods, also containing blue (λ max =425nm) and green (λ max =523nm) sensitive cones (Nuboer and Moed, 1983). According to a preference test, growing rabbits more frequently chose those cages which were illuminated by white or yellow coloured light compared to those where blue and green coloured lights were used (Gerencsér et al., 2009). Because rabbits are sensitive to blue and green, and their preference Significant differences were found between AI and first kindling for the weekly feed intake ( Table 2). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this experiment the effects of the colour of light and reproductive rhythm on rabbit does' production was examined. The does (n=122) were first inseminated at the age of 16.5 wk and housed in 2 rooms. White coloured light was applied (W), in the first room, and blue lighting (B) was used in the second room. In both rooms, the does were randomly divided into 2 subgroups and inseminated using a theoretical reproductive rhythm (interval between parturitions) of 42 (42D) and 56 d (56D), respectively. Kits were weaned at 35 and 23 d of age in 42D and 56D subgroups, respectively. The rabbit does' performance was examined over 336 d (8 and 6 reproduction cycles in groups 42D and 56D, respectively). During the first gestation, the W rabbits had higher feed consumption (162 vs. 145 g/d, P<0.05) and during the whole period a larger body weight than the B does. The colour of the light did not influence the kindling rate and litter size (P>0.10). In contrast, individual kit and litter weights measured at 23 d of age was higher in the B group (451 vs. 435 g and 3611 vs. 3498 g, respectively; P<0.05). No significant differences were found for productivity index between the W and B groups. The kindling rate was more favourable in the 56D than in the 42D group (89.3 vs. 82.0%, P<0.05). The 56D does'body weight at kindling was larger than that of the 42D group (4474 vs. 4188 g, P<0.001). No significant effect of reproductive rhythm were found for litter size. Individual kit weight and litter weight at 23 d of age were slightly higher for the 42D group than the 56D (447 vs. 439 g, P=0.057 and 3598 vs. 3513 g, P=0.055). Kindling intervals of the 42D and 56D groups were 46.6 and 59.5 d, respectively (P<0.001). Body condition of does (measured by the TOBEC method) was higher in the 56D group at 4-5 th parturition. Survival rate at the age of 336 d was slightly higher for 56D than 42D female (26 and 13% respectively, P=0.07). Based on the results, the blue colour could have a favourable effect on the litter weight as well as the individual weight of kits at 23 d (+3.2 and +3.7% respectively), it may be concluded that the effect of the colour of light merits further research. Comparing the two reproduction rhythms, extend reproductive rhythm and early weaning (group 56D) could be more favourable (condition, survival) from the animal welfare viewpoint but the productivity index (number of kits/doe/yr and kits' weight at 23 d/doe/yr) of the 42D group exceeded that of the 56D group by 19-23%, which has a high economical impact.
... Although the pigs in the present study initially preferred to eat under the colour temperature of 3000 K, this preference was quickly reversed (from the third experimental week onwards), with pigs thus eating more often under the colour temperature of 6500 K. Regarding the feed consumption, we noticed that the pigs' consumption was overall higher under the colour temperature of 6500 K. While rabbits' feed consumption does not seem to be affected by the light colour [26], broiler chickens were observed gaining more weight under a "colder" bluish light [7,8]. However, care should be given when comparing our results with those of chickens because they have very different vision (i.e., a tetrachromatic view). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the effect of different LED lighting colour temperatures on the preference behaviour of 4-week-old weaned piglets. A total of 32 piglets were housed in two replications in an experimental pen area with four identically equipped pen compartments connected two by two. Each pen unit offered a compartment set to a colour temperature of 3000 kelvin and another set to 6500 kelvin, at 80 lux during the day. Each piglet could freely choose between the two compartments by using a passageway. Over a period of five weeks, the behaviours "lying", "eating" and "activity" were video recorded for 72 h during the 1st, 3rd and 5th week of the experiment. The location of the piglet in the pen and its behaviour were determined by using time sampling. In the first week, the piglets preferred the colour temperature of 3000 K to perform all behaviours. In the following weeks this preference decreased. Results also show that feed consumption and soiling of the pens were higher under 6500 K. Pigs can differentiate between the different colour temperatures and use them for different behaviours. This can be used to divide pens into functional areas in order to better suit the behavioural needs of pigs.
Article
Full-text available
The information in the literature on the effect of light colour on productive and reproductive performances of rabbit production is scare. It was suggested that evaluation of the light colour's effect on the rabbit production can be perspective. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of florescent (FL) and red (RL) compared with Natural Light (NL) on reproductive performance of rabbit does and growth performance of their kits. Total of 75 mature California does were divided into three groups (25 in 5 replicates for each) in separated rooms. Control does were exposed to natural day light (G1), while those in G2 and G3 were exposed to artificial fluorescent or red lights, respectively for 16L/8D regime. Kindling Rate (KR), Gestation Period (GP) and Litter Size (LS) of does as well as weight (LW), Viability Rate (VR) and gain of kits was recorded at birth and weaning for three consecutive litters. Blood samples were collected pre-insemination for the 2(nd) parity from 10 does in each group for determination of melatonin, FSH and oestrogen concentration in plasma. Values of KL, reproductive index of does, LS, VR and LW of kits at birth and LS, VR, weight and gain of kits at weaning were the highest (p<0.05) and GP was the shortest (p<0.05) for RL does. Artificial lights (FL and RL) increased (p<0.05) melatonin, FSH and oestrogen concentrations. In conclusion, using industrial red light resulted in increasing reproductive performance of rabbit does and weight and viability of their kits:
Article
Full-text available
Rabbits were placed in a block of cages with a floor-area of 2 m2. The animals could move freely among the cages, through swing doors. All the four cages were totally equal, they only differed in the floor (planked by OSB panel, plastic-slat, plastic-mesh or wire-mesh). 24 or 32 rabbits, weaned at 21 days of age were placed into the block. During the experiment (until 10 weeks of age) the free choice of rabbits among the cage-floors was studied weekly with the help of 24-hour video recordings. The soiled and wet (by urine) planked-floor was chosen by fewer and fewer rearing rabbits after the first week. Placing both 24 or 32 rabbits into the block, the plastic mesh floor was preferred. With the increase of age the choice ofplastic-mesh, wire-mesh and plastic-slat floor became similar. The increase of both number and weight of rabbits in 1 m2 influenced the acceptance of different floors. Rearing 32 rabbits together, the choice of the 3 preferred floor types became similar at 7.5 weeks of age, while rearing 24 rabbits in a group, it became similar only at 9.5 weeks of age.
Article
The objective of this study was to examine the behaviour of horses jumping over variously designed obstacles, i.e. which obstacles are easy for them and jumped willingly or which cause difficulties. This was judged by scoring two main faults at jumping events: the number of knock-downs and run-outs with refusals. The data concerned 609 rounds made at regional competitions of various classes for 100–140cm obstacle height. They included 5639 jumps at 343 obstacles, in total. Seventy-two horses participated in the competitions.The number of faults at a particular obstacle depended on the obstacle-type, height, colour and arrangement. Uprights and oxers were the most frequently knocked-down, while the walls were the most often run-out. When the height was increased, more obstacles were knocked-down but the number of run-outs did not change significantly. The obstacles of two contrasting colours were jumped without fault more often, whereas, those of one colour, light or dark, caused most of the faults. The least number of faults was committed at the second obstacle in a combination compared with the first, third and single ones. The third and fourth obstacles in the courses were faulty jumps most often. The results suggest that most of the factors examined, which differentiate the obstacle and course design, may influence the horse’s behaviour. In consequence, the horses make more or fewer faults jumping over various obstacles.
Article
Five week-old Pannon White rabbits were housed in a closed climatized rabbitry and randomly assigned to pens (56 rabbits) having a basic area o f 1 m 2 with a stocking density of 16 and 12 rabbits/m 2 or to 18 individual cages (0.24 m 2; 1 rabbit/cage; stocking density of 4 rabbits/m 2). The pens and the cages were divided into 2 parts and an imals could move freely among the 2 parts through swing doors. The vertical sides of one part of the pens and cages were completely covered with mirrors while the other part was covered with white plastic panels. A 24 hour video recording was performed twice a week using infrared cameras and the number of rabbits in each pen and cage was counted with a frequency of 15 minutes (96 times a day). The duration of the trial was 6 weeks. The lighting period was 16L/8D. Rabbits were fed ad libitum a standard diet and water was available ad libitum from nipple drinkers. Throughout the entire rearin g period 67% of the individually caged rabbits showed a preference for the part of the cag e enriched with mirrors (P
Article
Complementary cone fields have been considered a unique feature of the mouse retina. In an attempt to map the arrangement of the color-specific cones in other mammals, the authors investigated the rabbit, a commonly used experimental animal for vision research. For the identification of the different cone types immunocytochemistry was used with two monoclonal antibodies, each specific to the middle- to long-wave (red-green) and short-wave (blue) sensitive visual pigments, respectively. The major part of the retinal surface, including the visual streak, exhibited a dominance of M (middle-wave sensitive) cones (6 to 13,000/mm2) versus S (short-wave sensitive) cones (1 to 2,500/mm2). In contrast, the lower 5% to 6% of the total retinal area showed a complete lack of green cones and a high density of blue cones (11,000/mm2). The authors designate this crescent-like area the blue streak of the rabbit retina. In addition to the visual streak primarily abundant in green cones, there is a specialized area of the rabbit retina that is densely and exclusively populated with blue cones. Although the relative extension of this peculiar cone field is considerably smaller than the S-field of the mouse retina, its position is similar in that it occupies the lowermost part of the retina. The functional implication of this area is unknown.
Effect of colour of light on the reproductive performance of rabbit does
  • Zs Gerencsér
  • Zs Matics
  • I Nagy
  • Z Princz
  • E Biró-Németh
  • I Radnai
  • Zs Szendrő
Effect of colour of light on performance and behavioural activity of lambs for slaughter
  • D Sevi
  • A Montemurro
Sodium, green, blue, cool or warm-white light?
  • H Rodenboog
Effects of spectral lights in beef fattening
  • T Szilágyi
  • M Súri
  • A Farkas
  • J Richter
Effect of colour of light on the reproductive performance of rabbit does
  • Zs
  • Zs Matics
  • I Nagy
  • Z Princz
  • E Biró-Németh
  • I Radnai
  • Zs Szendrő