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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We restarted our rabbitry last year with 3 ea Black Californian does n a New Zealand buck ,10 week old. Breeding will start today. Getting to 10 below at night but because I built the pens to fit into the greenhouse it gets to 20 above at night for them. 40 during the day. In a month it will probably stay above 40.
Pens are 14 ga. galvanized 1/2"×1" wire. Drop pans are old plastic corrugated advertising signs.
Moose are extra.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well our buck Reddy was ready. Breed first doe. Buck had 2 fall offs in less than 2 minutes. Then he wanted to cuddle. I removed the doe , that was very receptive tail up, n put her back in 2 hours later. Same show. I will repeat the process with the other 2 does today. If Reddy can stay ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well it took a while but I had a bunny, Elsa, crawl up the hay dispenser n get out. Our son comes in to drop off our granddaughter n says there's a rabbit out. So I go check.
There's Elsa stretched out on the hay sitting on top I use to refill the bins. The can of sunflower seeds on the floor but still plenty to snack on in the hay. There pens are in our greenhouse so mid sixties degrees. Top of the world, or pens. She still gives me the stink eye from her experience with breeding. Sticking her back in her pen didn't help. When I feed them she stays in her corner. We'll work with her.
I ended up building a door on top of the hay feeder. Glad I bought extra door latches n such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have another question. Because of our climate we use a box in there pens year round. They all keep them clean n do their business in their certain areas. And it gives them a place to get into when it's 40 below. Boxes are inside dimensions, 11" tall, 11" wide, 14" long. Back is angled down to 6" .
We bred our 3 does on 3-17, 18, 19. Expect kits around 13th. The temperatures in the greenhouse is 25-65 degrees now. I expect to stay above 40 when kits are born.
I built the boxes to be able to take the back portion off so I can access to inspect kits n clean.
My question finally. At what minimum temperatures can I open up the nesting box ? Maybe open it to check the kits then close it up. Maybe a week or so when they get fur or let them grow out some ?
Getting back after 20 years so kinda rusty.
Thanks for your time folks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
" Captain we have babies on board ". 2 of our mama had their babies. 31 days. First litter seems to be like the book 8 or so kits. Second mama had a problem. She had her babies outside the nesting box. 9 or so. She had built a nest in her box . My beautiful wife went to check on them before we went to bed n found them around the pen. She placed them in the nest. I checked them first thing this morning and found a bunch of warm wiggly bunnies. So things seem to be ok. But these are first time breeders. Elsa should be having hers today. She seems to lay on her side relaxing when I see her. Suggesting she is in labor. The other 2 acted like that. But hasn't pulled hair. The other 2 didn't pull much hair early on either. But the nests are full of hair now with the babies.
I'll update later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did an estimate on costs for our rabbitry.
We purchased 1 Californian buck and 3 black New Zealand does. $50. each. So $200
Purchased a 100' roll of 14ga galvanized wire 1/2"×1-1/2" , barrel clips n pliers. 12 pk of spring latches. Reusing the j feeders. $200.
We will use 8 bags of rabbit pellets per year. @ $20. So $160. 8 bales of timothy , brome hay @ $12. So $100.
Start up costs and feed for a year. $660.
This is starting with kits we bought last June and raised to adult. Our goal is 250 pounds of processed meat. Or 100 ea 2-1/2 pound friers.
We are on our first litter with 21 or so kits. From first time mamas. There were some issues but they all 3 had good sized litters of 9 or so.
I will be able to build 4 more pens with the left over materials and sell them for $200 ea to recoup building costs. We can get $50 for kits so sell 6 kits to cover food costs for the year.
I'll update this as we cruise along.
 

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Looks good! We will prolly get back into rabbits and meat chickens when I retire (about 5 years), as I will need something to do besides sit on my butt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's been 3 weeks since our 3 does have had their kits. So we started rebreeding the doe. Redy was ready n had 3 fall offs within 5 minutes. 2 more does today. See how he does. He got put on a diet after the last performance.
Question. There are a few friers that are considerably larger than the rest. Should I try to raise them out for breeders. If I sold them as breeders. Would they bring considerably more value ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well we go our 3 does bread. Redy had 3 fall offs within 5 minutes with each doe. Looks like he's in shape for his job. This was his second go round. They have all allowed me to properly position them each time. Thats nice. Although they still give me the stink eye after the breeding session. Couple carrots will bring them back.
Babies are starting to eat pellets. I need to lower the feeder. They really enjoy the fresh ***** willows.
. Little buggers have been crawling through the water dishes over to the adjoining cage so I will wire in a devider. Good news though in that they all seem to readily take in each other's kits. Even had a little one get over to our buck to go hang with the ol man. He had no issues with the baby in his pen.
So guess I've got some good personality traits going n their throwing big litters of 9 plus each. On first set of babies. We're doing ok.
Question. How long before I can start introducing non native foods besides pellets to the kits. Carrots, sunflower seeds, they are getting now along with mamas. Pretty much open feeding on the pellets so want lots of free alternatives.
When can I feed grass or put them mamas and kits in a rabbit tractor ?
 

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When it comes to introducing real food like grass and other greens there are 2 divided opinions. One group will tell you never add greens before the kits are 3 (some say 6) months old. The other (this was my way of doing it) allows the kits to eat greens with the mama because they feed greens all through the growing season.

You can start them on grass now, but just a little grass to start. Take your time introducing more grass and watch for signs of bloat or abnormal gooey poops. If their poop starts getting gooey you'll need to reduce the amount of greens. Rabbits can die from bloat caused by introducing greens to quickly. Next time you go to a store be sure to buy some infant gas drops (Simethicone) and keep it on hand in case of bloat.

I cannot find the instructions for using Simethicone now. All the sites say to contact your vet. Anyway, we always start with a dropper full for adults, half a dropper for babies under 3 months. Slowly drop the medicine into the mouth aiming for the cheek. Avoid the front teeth, rabbits can bite through those plastic syringes. Use a second dose an hour later and every couple hours, if needed, after that. Use only if the rabbit is showing signs of bloat.

One of the few sites that give symptoms of bloat without a lot of hype.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have a feeding question. Our kits are nearing 4 weeks old. The mamas are 1 week pregnant, 2nd pregnancy. So feeding the mama n 8 babies.
How much pellets should I be feeding? I'm also open feeding hay, dried leaves, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds for the mamas. I through them in on one side when the does come to feed so they get them.
BTW, sunflower seeds are fairly cheap n full of fats n protiens. Could I use sunflower seeds more? Maybe start out with a separate feeder for them n use a cup or 3 each day kinda spread out. 1 cup 3 times a day ? I would think the does could use the energy n the kits could maybe grow out more. Can I overfeed sunflower seeds ?
 
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