Rabbit questions

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by huntercf, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2010
    So I thinking about getting a couple of rabbits. I used to raise them when I was much younger (several decades ago) and that didn't go so well. Would it be ok if I have a pen off the ground and if so what type of bottom (i.e. wire cloth) should I use? Plus, would it be ok to let them free range in my backyard with my chickens (while I am here of course)? Any suggestions on what type to get, I like the dutch and the white ones with black eyes, noses and ears (don't know name), I don't want super large rabbits but I do want some that are pretty docile. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The white ones your talking about sound like Californians, those crossed with New Zealand Whites you get some pretty nice meat bunnies [​IMG]


    Pen wise, you can use small wire hardware cloth. If you have a wire cage bottom, the rabbits MUST, ABSOLUTELY have something solid to lay, stand, or sit on. Some people use old pieces of drywall. If I have a wire bottomed cage, I prefer to put a nice layer of straw over it. That way everything's cushioned, and the urine and (most) of the poop falls through. Keeps the bunnies pretty clean. If you don't have something nice for them to sit on, you'll get hock sores. I've treated many a rabbit with hock sores and it's not a pretty sight. Imagine having a huge, open, (often infected) wound on your foot. Then stand on wire cloth thats up off the ground. OUCH.

    If you have one bunny, you must at least have one other to keep it company. Some bunnies are 'unbondable', meaning they will attack, or even try to kill, other bunnies. I had a doe like that, so she kept my young chicks company. I never recommend having a bunny alone for more than a week, tops. Some just prefer to be alone (like my doe), but I've found that they do great with chickens. Fortunately, these rabbits are rather rare!

    I have a blue Dutch Buck who is alone at the moment. I do have other rabbits (he's been alone less than a week) but they have Ear Cankers, so he can't come into contact with them until they clear up.
    But, he lives in my chicken tractor with my 2 week old chicks! He doesn't pee in the top of the tractor where the chickens roost at night, nor have I found any bunny turds up there. The tractor is moved every couple days and he lives a pure 'natural diet' of grass (and water, of course). I've never seen him actually eat the chicken food, and he's quite plump and healthy.

    If my rabbits are in a off-the-ground or in a 'grassless' pen, then they get 1-2 cups of Purina Show Rabbit grain, depending on the rabbit. They also need a good quality grass hay, and of course, LOVE dandelion and herb treats! DON'T feed Alfalfa hay, it's to high in calcium and will cause calcium buildup. Best to avoid it to begin with.
    Pregnant or nursing does get more, as do growing rabbits. An extremely fat rabbit will have health problems, issues with breeding, and be generally miserable if kept outside. An extremely skinny rabbit has one foot in the grave. Your rabbit should have a glossy coat, clean ears, eyes, and noses, and shouldn't be squishy.

    My bunnies are kept trim, but not skinny, if you can easily feel the backbone or ribs, or if their hindquarters well pronounced, your bunny is too skinny. If your bunny looks like a fur tube with ears, your bunny is too fat.
    I like to be able to run my hand over the back of the rabbit, and NOT be able to feel the backbone. If I press a little, I'm able to find it, but it's not sharp or very pronounced. They have a nice 'padding' on either side of the spine and on the ribs.
    Some breeds are NATURALLY skinny looking. Checkered Giants are more of a 'skinny' looking breed, with more pronounced hindquarters. They're more upright than your usual Dutch or Californian, so they look a lot thinner. Some older rabbits have a roll under their chins, this doesn't mean their actually fat. I had a very, very, neglected doe with one, and she was about three pounds underweight with a huge coat just to keep warm. She weighed in at roughly 2lbs, she was a 5-6lb rabbit.


    If your yard is NOT securely fenced, do NOT let your bunnies roam! They are likely to take off and you'll be tearing your hair out by the roots trying to catch them again. My yard is chain-linked, and the rabbits have found approximately four ways to escape. My yard is now the rabbit equivalent of Fort Knox, thanks to my bunnies.
    If you have an air conditioner, or any kind of wiring, do NOT let your bunnies roam! I had a doe and a buck roaming my yard, they went into the duck's house at night, and the doe at through the thermostat wire on the AC. Obviously a thermostat wire won't kill you, but my house got awful hot in the dead of summer. AND it blew the fuse on the motherboard because the wire then shorted out.


    Babies are a completely different story [​IMG] But if you just want pets, best get either a buck/buck pair or a doe/doe pair. My Dutch isn't cuddly per say, but he isn't aggressive either. Cuddliness really varies from rabbit to rabbit, you could get a Dutch that's a total lap rabbit, or you could have one that could care less about you, so long as you feed him!
     
  3. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2010
    Thank you Icarus for all the great info, it really helps out alot.
     
  4. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Get the book STOREY'S GUIDE TO RAISING RABBITSby Bob Bennett. It isn't very expensive and it will tell you everthing you need to know. Amazon.com has it.
     
  5. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Vernon County, MO
    OH! I forgot!

    Rabbits need monthly health care, that involves clipping their nails (long nails can also result in hock sores) and cleaning out the glands on either side of their 'you know'. The gland cleaning smells to high heaven.

    I clipped nails yesterday a good inch in length. Thankfully, they only had some mildly inflamed spots, easily treated with some ointment.
     
  6. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2010
    Alot of great info, Thanks again, much appreciated.
     
  7. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mini lops and american rabbits are really nice rabbits, they are kind, gentle big but not to big and very friendly.
     
  8. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 2 bunnies yesterday, white/tan and white/black. The parents were docile and friendly. My kids love them, wife...not so much. Again, all the advice is appreciated.
     
  9. kbhear80

    kbhear80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you check on ARBA.net (american rabbits breeders assoc. ) its has information about the different breeds and varities. i have raised rabbits since I was a kid and now my kids are able to show in 4h and arba. My husband was thrilled with it at first but he was a city boy. Im slowly breakin him in. He likes the goats, tolerates the rabbits....will feed the chickens..so we are getting there lol. Depending on what breeds you got 4h and arba is a lot of fun for kids and adults (mix rabbits are non showable at most 4h fairs and cannot be shown at arba). Also they have cage supply companies at shows and they normally have some pretty good deals on cages and supplies. Oh and I would not rec. putting the in the same pen. Fights can get nasty. I only put my rabbits together to breed and even than it is for a short time so that no one gets injured.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010

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