Comparison between the use of open and walled platforms by juvenile blue foxes (Alopex lagopus)

  • Hannu Korhonen Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Fur Farming Research Station, FIN-69100 Kannus, Finland
  • Paavo Niemelä Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Fur Farming Research Station, FIN-69100 Kannus, Finland

Abstract

The current European recommendations require that platforms in the cages of farm foxes should have solid sides. The present study aimed to clarify how such a obstructed view affects platform use in farmbred blue foxes (Alopex lagopus). Experimental groups with open (16 males, 14 females) and walled (16 males, 14 females) platforms were compared from weaning to pelting. Both platform types were 110 cm long x 30 cm wide. Walled platforms had 23 cm high walls at the ends and rear, but open ones were without walls. Data were collected by daytime scanning observations and 24-h video recordings. Results for both sexes were parallel, showing that foxes significantly (p<0.001) prefer open platforms over walled types. Video recordings revealed a significantly (p<0.01) greater use of open platforms for jumping and resting (short duration 1-10 min on platform) compared to walled platforms. A rather parallel conclusion was found for sleeping also. The only exception was in September when females given both platform types slept on them for the same amount of time on average. The disturbance test showed that foxes supplied with open type platforms jumped onto them significantly (p<0.05) more often (62.5% of males, 85.7% of females) than those given the walled type (25.0% of males, 35.7% of females). It can be concluded that foxes avoid platforms with walls because such platforms prevent observation of the surroundings and therefore the possibility to adjust their distance to danger.

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Section
Articles
Published
Mar 1, 1996
How to Cite
Korhonen, H., & Niemelä, P. (1996). Comparison between the use of open and walled platforms by juvenile blue foxes (Alopex lagopus). Agricultural and Food Science, 5(2), 177-184. https://doi.org/10.23986/afsci.72733