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Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Sonia, May 23, 2008.
we started this year too. one of my does kindled 10 days ago, it's my first batch. I wanted new zelands but the only breeder near me wanted $45/ea for SRs.. With that I would have only been able to get 1 buck and 1 doe. So instead, I found a breeder that had Rexs' for $10/ea for SRs. So I went with the Rexs' even though they are smaller.
I ended up with:
1 Blue Buck
1 Red Buck
2 Blue Does
The kits I've got now are Red Buck + Blue Doe. I don't know how many there are, mom is being pretty protective of the nest, but I know there's at least two in there; I've seen movement.
Here's a tip on how to get some cheap meat rabbits for butchering or breeding. 4-Hers usually have extras as they only show 3. Most of them that are auctioned off at the 4-H auction are donated back to the child. Good way to get stock from good breeders, as these rabbits are judged on conformation and health.
20 oz. pop bottles attach readily to nipples for waterers and can be interchanged in the winter when the waterers freeze.
If you are going to have a large number of rabbits, it is worth the money to have a gravity fed watering system. If you do, test your nipples twice a day, especially in the winter. I can't stress this enough, won't take a rabbit long to die from dehydration.
Fans and frozen water bottles in the cages are good in the summer to keep them cool.
Keep good records, if you are serious about producing, showing or selling.
Cages are cleaner suspended from the ceiling, and less prone to predators. Invest in good cages the first time.
If your rabbits, especially kits, develop matting to their eyes, keep them cleansed with warm water and add vinegar to the drinking water for about a week, usually clears up within that time. If this is not tended to, these kits can become blind or worse.
Take the doe to the buck, not the other way around.
How's that for tips?
If you have all wire cages, place a solid surface (a piece of board or something) in the cage or they may develop tender feet, very painful and hard to heal up.
Forgot that one....I'm sure more will come to me!
Lots of info out on the web (that's where I started)
Make sure there all seperated by sex when their 8 weeks old.
Butcher at twevle weeks old
I used to raise them but I waited to long to wean them and ended up with a buncha pregnant does that I had no idea were pregnant and wasn't able to supply them with nest boxes so lost 3 litters of kits. After that I killed and sold off the rest and every summer I'll buy a couple rabbits to grill.
I'm up to 40 now. That's counting the 11 fryers in the grow out cages, 6 in one younger litter, 5 in another younger litter, and 7 kits. My one bit of advice that doesn't seem to have been touched on yet, keep great records!!! Even if you just keep up with who was bred to who, what day they were bred, what day they kindled, and how many they had is enough. I keep up with all that, plus how many were stillborn or died during nursing, colors, and I'm planning to record weights at 12 weeks. Get someone who has butchered before show you how it's done. I had to learn on my own. Even though I almost passed out it was a great learning experience, although I hated it because I didn't know what I was doing. Get a good skinning knife. Knife catalogues have them. They have a hook at the end. One of my friends is hand making a skinning knife for me. I can't wait to see it!
I wean at 4-5 weeks, just because the larger breeds can be sexually mature at that age, and I do not want any undocumented pregnancies or any 4 week old jr does getting preggo. If you live in a hot environment and have room in your freezer, start saving your 20 oz and 2 liter bottles. Fill them 3/4 full with water and freeze them. Do not fill them all the way up! They will explode! Put one in each cage (more depending on the number of rabbits in the cage) during the hottest part of the day. Pull them out once it starts cooling off and stick them back into the freezer. I have to keep enough for two days, b/c our freezer takes a while to freeze hot bottles.
I've got my feeding plan down to where I only have $2.35 in each kit at 12 weeks (and 5 lbs live weight). Even if you only get 2 lbs meat, that's still pretty cheap for meat. I do grow some of my own feed and mine get fresh greens at least twice per week and unlimited hay, so that cuts down drastically on the amount of pellets we go through. I'll go through 35-40 lbs of pellets every week.
I wish I could get sr rex for $10!!! Rex are my favorite, and I'm having to mix standard and mini-rex to get my own rex numbers up. I can get jr NZW's for $6 and sr NZW's for $15. Bucks are cheaper. I have mainly mutts, but most of them have the markings of English Spot, but the body style of the NZ's.
I love talking about the bunnies, can ya tell? lol.
Hope this helps,
Emily in NC
Quote:Sorry, but does can be extremely territorial!!! Take the doe to the buck, otherwise you may end up with a castrated buck!
I've raised rabbits for over 15 years now. Meat, fur, and wool, as well as show quality Rex and American Chinchillas.
I have found that I prefer to raise high quality meat rabbits for homesteaders than showing, but I still go to the shows occasionally to get an assessment from judges on my stock against the breed standards.
You guys have given some good tips so far.
Another, to stretch your pellet dollar, feed as much free choice grass hay as you can. The buns put on a cleaner, leaner weight, on less feed. Also, if you suppliment your does and bucks with fresh foods (build them up to it gradually or you'll upset their gut balance), and free choice hays, your pellets will go farther, your stock will be healthier, and your litters will be larger.
Kim in Western WA