FEB 08, 2017 09:00 AM PST

Rabbit Breeding: Standards and Practices

  • IACUC Coordinator, UT Southwestern Medical Center
      Kathryn Cavanaugh is a UC Davis graduate with a BS in Animal Science. She currently is an IACUC Coordinator at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Prior to her position at UT Southwestern, she worked as a Breeding Coordinator managing a breeding colony of Dutch Belted rabbits. She has spoken at National AALAS Meetings on the topics of Establishment of Novel IACUC Guidelines for Evaluation of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Devices for Mice and Rats, and Early Pregnancy Determination and Daily Observations of Fetal Development via Ultrasonography in Dutch Belted Rabbits.


    DATE: February 8, 2017
    TIME: 9:00am PT, 12:00pm ET

    There are many factors involved in rabbit breeding that impact performance.  In this evaluation of a Dutch Belted rabbit breeding colony, the environment, breeding techniques, and socialization all contribute to an overall goal of producing rabbits that may be utilized for biomedical research. Diligent record keeping of breeding activities and resulting production is imperative for successful colony management and animal welfare.   Challenges with pregnancy determination by breeding staff also effect general productivity.  The methods of palpation versus the use of ultrasound are evaluated in their effectiveness to determine pregnancy.  Once gestation comes to an end, strategies of fostering and re-breeding must be evaluated.  Successful fostering and timely re-breeding of does are tools to maximize production, post kindling.  Daily nest box checks to observe kit health and development is essential.  Early socialization of kits, starting as soon as day 1, may be incorporated into these nest box checks as a means to improve future temperament.  Pair housing upon weaning is a valuable introduction to a group housed setting, increasing the potential for successful long term pair housing.

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