Serum malondialdehyde concentration of weaned rabbits raised in two different management systems
Management system in rabbit production has been reported to affect their welfare and performance. In view of this, a study was conducted to evaluate the effects of two different management systems (cage-housed and pen-housed) on serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration of weaned rabbits in Northern Guinea Savannah zone of Nigeria. Twenty four healthy weaned crossbred rabbits in equal sexes, aged between 5-6 weeks with live weight of 612±14.72 g (mean ±SD) were used for the study. The rabbits were randomly divided into two groups (cage-housed and pen-housed) consisting of 12 rabbits per group. They were fed commercial diet (concentrate) supplemented with Tridax procumbens and given access to clean fresh water ad libitum. The experiment lasted for eight weeks. Results from the study showed a significant (P< 0.05) difference in the serum MDA concentration between the two groups. Pen-housed rabbits had lower MDA concentration (1.83 mmol/L) as against 2.78 mmol/L for the cage-housed rabbits. The higher MDA concentration levels for the caged house rabbits indicate that they had greater free radicals-mediated cell damage and oxidative stress, which imply that they had the worst welfare conditions.