Masthoff, T., Hoy, S. 2019. Investigations on the influence of floor design on dirtiness and foot pad lesions in growing rabbits. Animals 9(6), 354.
In Germany, an animal welfare ordinance for the housing of rabbits was issued which did not take into account the current investigations on floor design. The aim of the investigations was to study the effects of floor design on dirtiness and occurrence of lesions on the legs of growing rabbits. A total of 1837 weaned rabbits, kept on four different floor designs, were examined for body lesions and the dirtiness of the soles of the feet at the end of the growing period. Two four-stage scoring systems (0–3) were used to record the dirtiness and the lesions on the feet. A floor according to the provisions of the German animal protection ordinance (10 mm slat width; 50% perforation on floor area; <15% perforation on the elevated platform) led to the most polluted and injured rabbits. The best cleanliness and the lowest injury rate of the growing rabbits was achieved on a plastic floor with 5 mm slat width and 13 mm slot width, both on the ground and elevated platform (75% perforation). The requirements of the German housing regulations on the floor for growing rabbits do not correspond to animal welfare.