Great example of a Bad Example

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by pointer_hunter, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    I think I have completed the entire list of things NOT to do when starting/running a rabbitry. I started out about 3 years ago with the rabbits for commercial meat after researching for a few years. I bought three does and a buck from a show breeder (wrong) and they were young, so I fed them until they produced two whole kits! I got rid of those and went to a commercial breeder. I bought six does and a buck again young so I fed them for many months until breeding age. I never kept good records and didn’t breed on a regular basis so I didn’t get many kits from them. All together, I think about maybe a dozen kits throughout the entire time. I kept feeding these rabbits and didn’t butcher them after they ate their third, fourth, fifth litters. I even brought in a mini-rex buck and cross bred some! I just built my new barn. After my DW tries to sell some rabbits, I will butcher the rest. The old barn has 16 holes. The new barn will hold 4 (6 if things work out). The rest will be used for other things. I am keeping the buck because I know he produces nice litters if the does stop eating them! I will keep the two NZW does that have produced live litters and a California doe the I just picked up. I will keep accurate records and breed, palpate, nest box on the needed times. If they don’t provide me with live large litters, I will cull them and find more that will. I will no longer feed rabbits for 3 years that have given me nothing but a feed bill. If I get the 4 hole rabbitry under control and things look good, then maybe I will expand again.

    Please, if you are just starting out, DON’T BE LIKE ME! When people tell you (and they will), “start small and expand as you learn,” follow their advice. It will be a lot cheaper and quicker to get further along.

    Sorry this was so long….just building up a rant like this for a few years. I should be good until 2008 or so!
     
  2. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

    Messages:
    1,613
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    western New York
    Great advice! I think we've all made our share of mistakes along the way. My biggest mistake was not listening to those who had gone before. Does now get two chances to produce and care for a decent litter. I have one doe right now that has recently failed this test. She's up for sale as a pet or for meat as I won't breed her or pass her off to anyone as a breeder. My rabbits are rex. Juniors that don't past muster are culled early as there is no sense in running up the feed bill. I try to keep accurate records on litter sizes, quality of the litter and such. Surprising how quickly a doe which throws poor quality kits can be identified. Same with a poor buck.

    The most important lesson I've learned is there is more to being a breeder than putting two rabbits together and waiting for the litter. Rabbits don't need any help in this regard. Quality is another story. Selection of individual breeders and pairing with an appropriate mate makes a tremendous difference in the quality of the litter.
     

  3. jessandcody

    jessandcody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    200
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    KY
    Sorry about your situation. I too raise California/NZW. I read somewhere online that does will eat their young due to a lack of an easy water source. After our first doe ate most of her litter, we figured why not try it? We put a crock of water in the cage besides the normal water bottle for our second doe. (She was also a first time breeder and has a clear view of the outside of the barn). She had 9 healthy kits.

    Another thing we do is try to "break in" our rabbits by not giving them complete peace and quiet. This made them less skittish during storms or when they finally had their litters. Occassionally, one of the dogs will slip in during chore time. They don't enjoy dogs, but our rabbits have turned from wild, young pains to handle to docile, relaxed adults.

    We started with 2 does and a buck. In June, our bunny operation expanded from 3 rabbits to 14. So we must be doing something right... :haha:
    - Jess