How to Raise Rabbits
It is important to learn how to raise rabbits in order to keep them healthy and safe. Rabbits are a great addition to the family, whether as pets or as a source of meat, manure or wool.
Raising rabbits implies that you'll be breeding them for one purpose or another. To properly raise your rabbits, each adult should have their own home. If they are outdoors, they need a sturdy hutch with a waterproof roof that will keep them dry.
At least two sides should be solid, and during hot weather they should be in a cool, shady spot. If you have a barn, a shed or a garage to keep them in, wire cages can be just fine. They are easy to keep clean and keep your rabbits safe.
Does that will have litters should have larger cages so there is room for the growing kits. Once the kits are past weaning, they should be separated by sex and kept in large grow-out cages until they are old enough to get their own cage.
Rabbits will need appropriate foods and plenty of fresh water. Commercial pellets are designed to offer your rabbits all the nutrients they need. Don't let adult rabbits free feed, or they will put on weight. Fat rabbits don't breed well and some are not able to care for themselves very well.
A quality hay like timothy or orchard grass offers lots of fiber and entertainment to your rabbits. Hay can be available at all times. Fresh treats like unsprayed dandelion leaves, apple branches and other goodies can be given occasionally.
Cages should be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis to keep droppings from clinging to the cage and building up. Dirty cages can contribute to sore hocks, flystrike and other health issues with your rabbits.
When breeding, always take the doe to the buck, not the other way around. Does tend to be territorial, and may attack a buck that enters her domain. Always watch while they are together to make sure that both rabbits are safe.
Bred does will need a nestbox added to their cage a few days before they are due. Make sure they have a cage door that can accommodate the size of the nestbox.
All rabbits will need to be examined on a regular basis. Grooming is important, especially if the rabbit is molting. Rabbits clean themselves by licking; when hair is loose, more is ingested and hairballs can form in their stomach. Remove as much loose hair as possible during molting.
Wooled breeds will need frequent grooming to prevent mats from forming in their wool. Wool can be harvested by plucking when it molts or by shearing with a pair of scissors.
Toenails need to be kept clipped, and you should examine their teeth periodically to make sure they are not too long. Providing chew toys like untreated wood blocks can give them something to do and keep their teeth trimmed naturally.
Caring for your rabbits properly will ensure that they remain healthy and happy. It doesn't matter if you are raising them to provide fryers, wool or manure for your garden, rabbits make an excellent addition.
To learn more about how to raise rabbits, go to our rabbit care page.
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