First Time Rabbit Raising

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Mamachic1967, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Mamachic1967

    Mamachic1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,

    Looking for some help. I am getting 2 rabbits given to me to raise for meat. I am in the process of getting their hutch ready. I know nothing about raising rabbits and hope you all can help answer my questions?

    - What should my rabbit hutch look like? Is bales of hay a good idea for digging and burrowing in?
    - Do I put in a movable wall to separate them once babies have arrived so buck will leave doe alone?
    - Nesting box? how many do I need? How far off the floor should they be?
    - I've been told they will go in a litter bow once they decide a spot, is this true?
    - Will they drink from a pot of water until I get the watering system hooked up?
    - Food they are giving me the rest, so I will buy the same -- Pellets. And occasionally hard veggies of course carrots. Not a lot of greens.

    Anything else I may be missing?
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Storeys guide to raising rabbits by Bob Bennett mentioned in the other thread is worth it. He also wrote a book on rabbit housing that is very good. I have had my buns for a month now, so hopefully you'll get some other answers--I know my research, but lack the practicality.
     
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  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    My responses are in bold above. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  4. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't over complicate.

    Keep them in separate cages EXCEPT when you want more rabbits. Movable wall is just asking them how bad they want to get at each other when you already know the answer to that. They wont leave each other alone and you'll have a new litter about every 31 days. Oh boy oh boy. Make sure there is more than a divider, and make sure it is dig proof and chew proof. Zip ties are not good enough. They will try to get to each other till they're sure the cages aren't going anywhere. I put ours in together for like five minutes, they came in a small transport cage and I "felt bad for them" they were in together for like thirty seconds before the boy was humping away. Whoops. Because we don't really have a market for them, I'm not breeding unless we start eating them. Till I have time to add that to the routine, they are living a la monastary. Even the smallest most timid, shrinking violet of a rabbit boy will go to it as soon as he gets a chance. With ours it was like watching spider man trying to mount godzilla. Oh no. just no.

    Make sure your cages are dig proof.

    Our buns are outdoor. They have a cage that is about 4'x2.5x2.5, we deep bed them in the same hay - 1 flake per cage for about a month that we feed the goats (oat right now) and they're in the same yard as the chickens. They get daily greens and some treats, but their primary food is the hay/grass. and I do a big clean out, just over once a month. The cages are wire bottomed, and we used a wider wire with chicken wire sandwiched between to keep them from digging out and moles from digging in.

    We have small sterlite boxes that we cut one end off of so think like a shoebox that's upside down and missing one end. I actually bury it down in the hay/straw - they move things everywhere, especially if they're on one, so you can set out anything you'd like in the cage, but there's no guarantee it will stay where you put it or be used. It may just be thrown in a diva moment.

    Pellets are just hay that has been processed. If you're giving hay, they may not eat the pellets. We supplement a small commercial chow every now and again, but I feed the rabbits in the same mode I do the chickens. Hay, COB, during the spring grass and early winter grass they'll eat the green shoots and some wild supplement like fig leaves, garden trimmings, etc. They snub about 50% of the treats. They're used to hay, so they eat it first.

    They potty in the same place in the cage once they have their routine going, but the way we have ours set up, they compost down at the bottom after dropping through. They have about a foot of hay in the cage to tunnel in and eat. Different breeds of rabbits can have very different personalities and degrees of being willing to be socialized. Some never get past the auto kick back ends. If the ones you start with turn out to be evil with ears, don't give up, try a different breed. We had lops for awhile and loved them, but now we have lionheads and they aren't really all that friendly. It's like the difference between a barred rock and an australorp.

    We don't limit greens, but that's because ours are used to it. If you acclimate slowly, over the course of a few weeks, greens are natural to buns. Mine go nuts over a few handfulls of grass (no roots) or leaves.

    We use plain ol hamster bottle waterers with ours, but we got the spiffy kind you can fill from the top.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  5. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Only problem with uncovered water bowls is that they will throw the food they don't like into the bowl.

    That's how we learned that pellets were unacceptable.
     
  6. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are TONS of different hutch designs. I have found that hutches with wire floors work amazingly, but it depends on what you want. There are hutches, but there is also colony raising, which could be effective in a meat situation, but it often causes more problems than it solves.

    You should probably separate the doe and buck at all times except for the mating. They could fight, and bucks sometimes cause the deaths of kits. Despite what is commonly accepted, rabbits are NOT social animals. They fight ALL.THE.TIME. They will probably be perfectly happy alone.

    You probably only need one nest box to start with, so the dam can kindle in it.

    Rabbits usually pick one spot of their hutch for that. Putting a litter box there is fine.

    They will drink from almost anything, just be sure that they can reach the bucket. They will probably get the bucket full of hay and fur.

    Pellets are great. Greens are also a great idea, just never cabbage or iceberg lettuce. Stuff like tree branches(maple, birch. just not oak or evergreen), and weeds(look up a list of weeds safe for rabbits) are also great ideas. The rabbits love it. You could try grains, too. You shouldnt feed that many carrots, they have too much sugar.
     
  7. Mamachic1967

    Mamachic1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much, this was very helpful!
     
  8. Mamachic1967

    Mamachic1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very informative, thank you. Great sense of humour too!
     
  9. Mamachic1967

    Mamachic1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, all info and knowledge is helpful. I worry too much, but I want to make sure my new critters are healthy and happy. Thanks for the book suggestion, I will check it out.
     
  10. Mamachic1967

    Mamachic1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks DutchBunny. I've learned so much already from you all. Thank you.
     

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