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  #1  
Old 09/30/12, 07:45 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Delaware
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Trapping and raising rabbits

Here in lower Delaware, I have an over abundance of wild rabbits. I've been thinking of trapping a few and trying to raise enough for food for the family. Are there any pros or cons that I should consider?

I've also heard from others that I shouldn't eat them in the warmer months. Is there anything to that?

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  #2  
Old 09/30/12, 08:09 AM
 
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Location: se South Dakota
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better check your game laws on that

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  #3  
Old 09/30/12, 08:50 AM
 
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Location: Delaware
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I did. Landowners are permitted to trap cottontails on their own land during the hunting season. It doesn't, however, say anything one way or another about maintaining your own population. I'll send an email getting clarification on it.

In the meantime, I'd still like to know the pros or cons.

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  #4  
Old 09/30/12, 09:16 AM
 
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From all accounts raising wild cottontails in confinement is going to be pretty near impossible. They do not take to confinement. In addition, I'm glad you're checking in regards to game laws, but I'm thinking you're going to find that trapping is not intended for capturing a population to raise, but for consumption. Most states require special permits in order to keep/raise wildlife in confinement. It does vary from state to state.

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  #5  
Old 09/30/12, 09:27 AM
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Raising wild rabbits is not as easy as keeping domesticated ones. You'll lose a lot of them and I imagine they wouldn't survive on commercial rabbit pellets so you will have to figure out a way to offer them a natural diet.

If you want a steady supply of rabbit meat, you will be better off buying some domestic rabbits and raising them.

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  #6  
Old 09/30/12, 09:43 AM
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Why go to the expence of raising them yourself?
Just hunt them when you want a rabbit dinner.
No work, no cost, and a free meal.

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  #7  
Old 09/30/12, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Dirt View Post
... shouldn't eat them in the warmer months. Is there anything to that?
tularemia... the cold usually kills off the sick ones.
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  #8  
Old 09/30/12, 11:26 AM
 
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Cottontails raise poorly in captivity and will just be a headache. You can get the same quality of meat rabbit by going on criagslist, hoobly, or ebay classifieds or checking your local feed store for flyers and finding some meat mutts for $5 each.

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  #9  
Old 09/30/12, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pancho View Post
Why go to the expence of raising them yourself?
Just hunt them when you want a rabbit dinner.
No work, no cost, and a free meal.
I do, but I can't hunt enough to keep up with the requests for meat from friends. I'm looking for a way to have enough for myself, and keep them in meat as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by akane View Post
Cottontails raise poorly in captivity and will just be a headache. You can get the same quality of meat rabbit by going on criagslist, hoobly, or ebay classifieds or checking your local feed store for flyers and finding some meat mutts for $5 each.
Will I be able to breed these "mutts" effectively?
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  #10  
Old 09/30/12, 11:57 AM
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You should. Mutts may have unpredictable results in breeding, such as slow growth or smaller litters. Depending on how much meat you need or if you plan to sell any live animals you may be better suited to a purebred that's proven as a meat animal.

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  #11  
Old 09/30/12, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AprilW View Post
You should. Mutts may have unpredictable results in breeding, such as slow growth or smaller litters. Depending on how much meat you need or if you plan to sell any live animals you may be better suited to a purebred that's proven as a meat animal.
Thanks for the info. I don't plan on selling anything as that always seems to not go my way. I'm content with having my own supply and giving some to my friends that ask.
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  #12  
Old 09/30/12, 12:59 PM
 
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I tried with intentions of showing some of you that it can be done----LOL--I failed. They would be fine then I would find one dead in the cage, then a few days later another dead one. They were in hanging cages right in the same place as my other rabbits. I finally turned loose the last one I had and kept seeing it hoping around the farm getting bigger. Now I am thinking, maybe I will try raising them on the dirt in about 1 acre fenced in area--------NAW Just kidding. I got some NZ and Californians in my hanging cages and its TO easy to raise them and they probably taste better anyway--LOL.


I would not want to eat wild rabbits in the warner months because they get "wolves" under their skin---that is what they are called here. I think most of you call them a different name.

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  #13  
Old 09/30/12, 01:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PD-Riverman View Post
I would not want to eat wild rabbits in the warner months because they get "wolves" under their skin---that is what they are called here. I think most of you call them a different name.
Is this not a problem with the domestic rabbits?

It seems like I'll be looking on craigslist for some breeding stock, and stick with stomping the woods for cottontails during the winter.

Thanks to everyone for the info
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  #14  
Old 09/30/12, 01:37 PM
 
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Too bad you aren't close I have a trio of great meat mutts up for sale because we are going to purebred stock. Even bad quality mutts will breed better than cottontails but if you can find some stock being raised for meat already with good litters you can raise a lot of rabbit fast and easy.

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  #15  
Old 09/30/12, 02:13 PM
 
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Location: Green country, Oklahoma
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I have been raising meat rabbits for 40+ years, My experience is that any cross bred domestic variety of rabbits will provide better yield than any cottontail. 6 does and 2 bucks will provide a family of 4 with all you care to eat. New Zealand / Californian crosses are the most efficient I have ever raised. Learn to can the meat and there are alot of ways you can use it.

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  #16  
Old 09/30/12, 07:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Dirt View Post
Is this not a problem with the domestic rabbits?

It seems like I'll be looking on craigslist for some breeding stock, and stick with stomping the woods for cottontails during the winter.

Thanks to everyone for the info
Joe I do not have a problem with my domestic rabbits getting them or ticks.
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  #17  
Old 10/01/12, 08:17 AM
 
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Even if the rabbit gets wolves, when skinned the larvae will fall out. It's under the skin, but not in the meat and doesn't affect it. Early season squirrel suffer the same problem.

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  #18  
Old 10/01/12, 08:35 AM
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Huh, never heard of 'wolves' under the skin. Sounds disgusting. Never seen them on my domestic bunnies.

I LOVE my mutt buns. I have some New Zealand/SF buns. The 50% cross exhibits hybrid vigor both as the litter grows, and my 50% breeding doe is the BEST mother, so she exhibits hybrid vigor as a breeding animal too.

I also have a 75% NZ/25% SF doe that I breed to NZ bucks, She's a great mother too. BIG girl.

Moving towards all purebred stuff eventually, however, because selling one purebred kit for a minimum of 25.00 (NZ) or 45.00 (SF) is much more profitable than selling an entire trio of meat buns for 30.00.

I also raise purebred SF and NZ's, but from a meat standpoint I'd love 50% crossbred does, and I'd breed them to a different breed sire to get hybrid vigor mothers and hybrid vigor kits as well. For example, breed 50% NZ, 50% SF does to a Californian buck. This is done all the time in meat cattle to maximimze growth and vigor of meat calves.

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  #19  
Old 10/01/12, 10:43 AM
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When you say wolves, do you mean bot flies?

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  #20  
Old 10/01/12, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicnmike View Post
When you say wolves, do you mean bot flies?

yes that is a common term for bot flies here in DE
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