Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have rexs and californians for meat and fur, but I daydream of cottontails... Can you keep them...? Breed them in captive colonies? Can you buy them anywhere or shall I try to catch some... Does anyone have any experiance with them or can you direct me to someone who does... Or perhaps wild rabbits are out of the question, please let me know if u can help.
 

·
Raising Cals, NZW and Rex
Joined
·
381 Posts
Wild rabbits don't do well in captivity...you would do better to get a domestic Agouti or Chestnut that looks like it's wild cousins.
 

·
Raising Cals, NZW and Rex
Joined
·
381 Posts
Also from my understanding you can't breed tame rabbits with wild ones.
Yes, that is correct. Our domestic rabbits have different genetics than their wild cousins...different amount of chromosomes...so even if they mate successfully, the litter won't be viable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,062 Posts
I've heard some hunters have kept cottontails for training dogs and that they have managed to breed them with certain domestic breeds but it doesn't work with all of them. While the source seemed reliable verifying that information is impossible. Overall I don't think it's worth the hassle and it may be illegal in some areas to capture wild rabbits. They would take extra care and the young ones we've ended up with for various reasons sometimes bashed themselves to death on the cage before they could be released again. They spook easily, are hard to handle, and have a high mortality rate if kept very long. The does often end up too stressed by cages and things happening around them that they fail to care for their kits. Just not worth it. Although I told my husband if he can catch a cottontail we'd try it but I know he'll never get motivated to put in the effort.
 

·
I love South Dakota
Joined
·
5,320 Posts
I think what you've read is not accurate. What I've read says domestic rabbits and cotton-tails are not genetically compatable. I don't even think you can get a "mule" type hybrid from them.

It's sort of like asking if you can cross a chicken with a pheasant. Most peoploe confuse variations with a different species - like almost all tame ducks are really mallards (except muscovies) which is why you can cross breed them. But you can't breed a mallard to a wood duck.

THere are also serious issues when you try to raise WILD animals vs DOMESTIC as most domestic have had a lot of the "wild" bred out of them and react very differently, and in a more predictable way. Even if you successfully bred cottontails and riased them from kits - you are still dealing with a wild animal, not a domestic one.
 

·
I love South Dakota
Joined
·
5,320 Posts
Just did some quick searching - cottontail vs domestic, and every one is clear THEY CAN NOT INTERBREED.

And so far, all domestic rabbits are the same species - all from european stock. So saying a cottontail can breed with one type of domestic and not another is not correct. - at least genetically. THere may be physical reasons to make it difficult, but it still could produce viable eggs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Oh no, I dont want to mix them... I just want pure cottontail, some where in history somene must have domesticated them...?
 

·
Lasergrl
Joined
·
1,656 Posts
Nope, cottontails have never been domesticated. They are too high strung. Even rehabbers have a terrible time. Hand raised babies die of heart attack once their eyes open and see a human. They are programmed to know humans are predators on site and the flight hormones are strong enough to kill them. Adults kept in most captive situations die of stress induced renal failure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,025 Posts
The conttontails habits are nothing like those of the European rabbit we raise.

The cottontail does not dig; its nest is a simple "form" worked out in a clump of grass. The kits are tended once a day and the doe must clean the little buns or they die of indigestion. Once their eyes are open they leave their nest and are on their own; smaller than a salt shaker.

I've caught the little ones and caged them; they will live if you give them a straw filled box in which to hide, but they will not do well and do not become tame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,085 Posts
There are rabbits that have been bred for training rabbit dogs. They are known as San Juans. Check them out, maybe they would make you happy.

Lisa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Well I guess I have mistakenly thought my buck was a Cottontail. Looks just like one. I checked out some pics of Aguti and Chestnut and no match. Oh well, I still like him! haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
There are rabbits that have been bred for training rabbit dogs. They are known as San Juans. Check them out, maybe they would make you happy.

Lisa
Ah-haa! San Juans! I am the proud owner of a San Juan. Nadie, as Lisa said, these would be a great option. My buck runs around the back yard and eats from my hand. He is very curious, and comes in the Greenhouse with me to work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,549 Posts
I've heard some hunters have kept cottontails for training dogs and that they have managed to breed them with certain domestic breeds but it doesn't work with all of them. While the source seemed reliable verifying that information is impossible.
The keeping is verified here; http://americanbeagler.huntingboards.com/
just do a search for training pens. Basically people fence 1-5 acres with dug-in, rabbit-proof fencing and trap cottontails and release them into the pen. Depending on how the person manages it, they can have a breeding colony in there.

Breeding is impossible, but people have bred for look-alikes like San Juans
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
There are several people around this area who breed "cottontails" for training. What they actually have are either san jauns,knotheads,or another or one they call Tennessee reds(can also be carolina reds) or crosses of these three. They look just like cottontails ,only some run a little faster. You might check into beagle dog sites or beagle training and see if you can come up with some suppliers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
The only ones who have had any sucess at raising cotton tails are the beagle training pens with 5 -20 acers fenced in with lots of cover and they will stop running dogs during april to give them a chance any attemts at cages have failed .I have raised tame breeds of rabbits redbacks ,san juans, mossuri cotton tails .though they are not wild they will run well enough to train rabbit hounds with thus a market excists for them in our area .for meat I raise new zealands more meat less problems and they due well in the cages
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,481 Posts
Nope, cottontails have never been domesticated. They are too high strung. Even rehabbers have a terrible time. Hand raised babies die of heart attack once their eyes open and see a human. They are programmed to know humans are predators on site and the flight hormones are strong enough to kill them. Adults kept in most captive situations die of stress induced renal failure.
So the cottontail rabbits, that walk around under my feet while I am feeding my horses are really terrified of me. Even when I am hand feeding them grain, at the door of my barn. They sure hide their fear pretty well.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top