Top ten tips on raising rabbits?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by jejabean, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. jejabean

    jejabean Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    I've tried raising rabbits a few times, always with the same sad results. could someone give me the top ten tips on keeping your rabbits alive and healthy?
     
  2. Wannabee

    Wannabee Foggy Dew Farms

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    INDIANA
    I think that is a great question. I, too, would like to hear some tips. I hope someone with some knowledge will respond soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

  3. Rancher

    Rancher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Cant think of 10 but here is my top 5.

    #5. Make sure you are using LIVE rabbits.

    #4. Some soft music, candles, a little wine and soft mattress always helps..... for you and your spouse.... the rabbits dont care.

    #3. Make sure one is a Doe.

    #2. Make sure one is a Buck

    And the #1. Tip for Raising Rabbits is......................................................
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    ...... Make sure you breed Rabbit to Rabbit.
     
  4. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    Washington
    Oooookay... I'll give it a shot... for real, that is. Loved the joke, though! :haha: You didn't give any reasons for the "disastrous results," so I don't know what areas you are having problems with.

    I'll try to post these in order of importance:

    1. Buy "Rabbit Production," 8th edition, by McNitt, Lukefahr, Patton & Cheeke. This may well be the *only* book you will ever need! Available for the best price at: http://phcatalog.pearson.com/co_home.cfm?site_id=6 (search by title in the search field at top of page). Written by U.S. rabbit research scientists, this one book is our "bible" for rabbit raising.

    2. Read, read, read. Then, read some more! We never stop reading and learning about rabbits.

    3. Prepare adequate housing/caging BEFORE investing in even one rabbit! One cage per rabbit with extra caging for grow-out/fattening pens. Remember that the summer heat is extremely dangerous to rabbits and can kill, so choose shaded areas, if needed.

    4. Locate a source of adequate feed (you'll know what you need from reading the book). Not all brands are available nationwide. Feed will be your largest on-going expense. Learn to read the milling dates and avoid feed milled after 3 months prior to the date of purchase (begins losing its nutritional value after 3 months). Buy only the amount your herd can finish up within that 3 month period.

    5. Buy good quality HEALTHY stock. From reading, you should know what to look for.

    6. Proper ventilation is of the utmost importance. If YOU can smell the urine, then, so can the rabbits... and they have to live in that environment. Rabbits are highly susceptible to respiratory ailments, and a lack of good ventilation will definitely irritate and promote those ailments.

    7. Pelleted rabbit feed is nutritionally balanced for rabbits (in most cases) and does not need supplementing with salt licks and treats. Any supplements will upset the nutritional balance of the feed. However, if the crude fiber content is low, hay should be fed a couple of times a week.

    8. Avoid feeding fresh greens and/or if desired, give "treats" in moderation, only. Overfeeding treats usually results in severe diarrhea... which can kill. Always keep an eye on the droppings, as loose droppings will most often be the first sign of trouble.

    9. Always take the doe to the buck for breeding... not the other way around. You don't want the doe cage "contaminated" with the bucks smell... bucks have been known to kill the young out of jealousy and the doe may feel her litter is in danger and destroy them, herself.

    10. Proper management is a must! Feed and water at the same times every day and assign chores on a regular schedule. Take the time to note if each rabbit is eating, drinking, etc. A rabbit off-feed has a problem. Be alert to these danger signals!

    11. KEEP GOOD RECORDS!

    I'm sure I probably missed something, there, so feel free to add to the list.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
     
  5. cindyloo

    cindyloo Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    KEEP GOOD RECORDS

    That is the key?!. Does anyone have a good suggestion on this? I have been using just a simple spiral notebook and am beginning to dislike it tremendously. I would like to find something that is a little more organized. Is there a preprinted book out there or a system that someone has had a lot of success with?

    Thanks as always,
    Cindy
     
  6. kjerckie

    kjerckie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    152
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Location:
    NW Washington
    When I was stationed in Korea 1979, the unit had a few rabbits that had a few litters, but the moms kept killing and/or eating the newborns. Someone suggested salt. So we had cage sized salt blocks shipped from the USA. No more problems with mom bunnies and watched the baby bunnies grow up.
     
  7. Denise K.

    Denise K. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    415
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Ditto to what Pat said!! I'll add one more, that I feel is very important! Water, Water, and more Water. Many times when rabbits are reported not doing well, I have helped people trace it back to a reliable water source. No water, no eating with rabbits!
    Denise
     
  8. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    831
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Location:
    Central Texas
    There are several rabbitry tracking programs available. If you
    have a word processing or spreadsheet propram, you can set up
    a table which provides a lot of information. I also created
    forms and recap sheets to use in the rabbitry.

    I started with MS Excel and now use MS Access for the majority
    of my production data. I also maintain data in Stibbar. The
    limitations of Stibbar are that it doesn't provide totals and
    averages needed by most commercial producers.
     
  9. Cindy in IL

    Cindy in IL Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Don't be afraid to cull.
     
  10. Rancher

    Rancher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Dont spend too much money (if any) on treating a sick rabbit. Isolate it and clean the cage and put in a replacement.
     
  11. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    643
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Keep them away from preditor type animals--dogs, cats . . .

    My father's neighbor had two pet rabbits and another neighbor's dog scared them. One rabbit freaked out and broke its back running around the cage.
     
  12. apirlawz

    apirlawz playing in the dirt

    Messages:
    281
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern MN
    Here's one that I learned from experience...don't overfeed!! Overweight rabbits do not breed well (both bucks and does), and the litters you get will be relatively small.

    Read labels, follow the directions, and keep an eye on the condition of your rabbits to find the optimal amount to feed each one.

    Good luck!!
    April
     
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    Heres a couple more:

    Never Never Never put new stock in with your stock. Always quarantine in a seperate area for at least 2 weeks.

    Adequate lighting in the winter time, minimum of 14 hours a day. Rabbits will not breed with out enough light.

    Stay on a consistent breed back schedule year around. Does that are not bred in the winter months will be harder to breed in the spring. I follow an 11 day breed back year round.

    Always have replacement stock ready to replace older culls.
     
  14. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    Washington
    Not entirely true, Tracy, as there are some rather large rabbitries which use *no* artificial lighting and continue to breed year-round. Seems that temperature plays a much larger role than lighting does, even during the colder winter months. Just a few degrees higher than the previous day will literally "turn on" the does for breeding, but this will naturally play havoc on a tight schedule if the breeding chore must be done on a specific day every week.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, 2005 ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     
  15. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    Hi Pat,

    Maybe it depends on what part of the country you are in but up here [NW PA] lighting deffinatley makes a diffrence. I deal with a lot of Amish growers and all of them have awful luck with breeding in the winter months. None of these families have elictricity so lighting is a factor. Typically in winter it is very dreary without much sun, lots of snow.
     
  16. jejabean

    jejabean Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    For some reason changes of temps always kill my rabbits, although I TRy to keep them comfortable. I Had one doe give birth to babies and die...I LOSt every bunny...it hadn't been fun. NOW, before I invest in any more rabbits, I'll redo my homework!
     
  17. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    For us rabbits giving birth during the cold months are moved inside until four weeks after birth. We keep a small bank of cages in the basement with timer controlled lighting for this purpose.
     
  18. tbishop

    tbishop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I put 1 tsp of imitation vanilla in every gallon of water I gave to my rabbits. It cut down on the ammonia smell tremendously, as well as kept flies and maggots away. I tried it after reading about it on many many different rabbit lists.

    Tim