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ups and downs of raising rabbits

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by dadsgirl, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. dadsgirl

    dadsgirl Songster

    Jun 30, 2008
    jay, florida
    would like to start raising rabbits, does anyone know what the best kind to raise to sell are. and any first time suggestions i could use,

    thanks , angie

  2. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    What do you want to breed them for, meat, show, pets? They are generally very nice animals to keep.
  3. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    If you are starting out, don't go with a "true" dwarf breed (like Holland Lops or Netherland Dwarves). The frustration with peanuts and birthing problems, small litters, etc is what turns off a lot of people when they start out.

    If you want small, go with a Mini Rex. They are good breeders, very soft, friendly, good litter size, easier birthing. You can market the pelt or even eat them. Even though they are small, they have excellent meat to bone ratio. They come in lots of colors and are readily available almost everywhere.
  4. obsessed

    obsessed Songster

    Jan 3, 2008
    Slidell, LA
    I raise meat rabbits. I got my first trio ( two female and one male) from friends last November. The are NZ cal crosses. The good part was they were cheap. The bad part is they are nowhere as big as my second trio I got from a breeder. The breeder bunnies are huge. The mut bunnies were breed and they had 5 kits each. I have read that rabbits should have 7-11 on average. The the mutt bunnies are not keeping up. I have only breed the once. And will breed them again. If they can't pull up their numbers they will have to go (to the freezer).

    The breeder bunnies are nice. I just breed them so I don't know how well they will produce. Hopefully they will have a larger litter.

    As for care it is pretty easy food water and shelter. I buy Purina rabbit chow 50# for $13 and I feed them 5 oz every morning and change their water. They live outside in elevated cages. Poop and pee fall to the bottom and no changing litter every day. I clean underneath the cage every two weeks and dump into garden plots. Their poop is not hot so it can be directly applied to the garden. I bought the cages from Bass equipment. They are 30 x 33. I feed them weeds and veggie scraps as treats not very often. I also give tree branches for their teeth.

    Overall, I don't think it is too much work. Like 1/2 hour. I have done alot of reading about rabbits and that helps. I think it is work no matter what you do.

    I have also read that rabbits and ducks are better than rabbits and chickens. something about sharing diseases.
  5. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I have 3 broken black mini rex's. I think for what I am using them for, petting, I paid too much for them. Fritz and Fiona, the breeding pair and miracle, the only offspring that has survived. Fiona has only had two liters out of 5 or 6 "matings". The first litter she had 5 little bunnies but neglect on our part (left outside too long, sun shifted and the little guys didn't understand the importance of drinking water) they sadly passed. The second successful (???) liter yielded 4 bunnies but for some reason Fiona didn't seem to take care of them and all but Miracle was lost.

    Frustrating. We are really afraid to try again because it hurts to get attached to such cute creatures only to loose them. Oh well, it's a part of life and maybe it is teaching the kids (and us) a lesson.

    What I really want to do is build a worm bin under the cages to compost the waste. The only problem is that I don't know if the worms will survive out in the barn at times like this... it's 4 degrees out right now and that is our high!!!

    In all honesty I don't spend as much time with them as I should but they seem to be happy when attention is given. I bet my own kids haven't pet them since the weather got cold but when our friends bring their kids over it is the first thing they head for!!
  6. rizq

    rizq Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Minirex also carry the dwarfing gene and throw peanuts. Maybe not as many as a Netherland, but a good quality minirex carries 1 copy of the dwarf gene or it grows too large. I used to regularly get 1-3 peanuts in litters that averaged 6. That being said, I still second the minirex. I showed them very successfully for almost 10 years before selling out. They are my favorite breed and I plan to get back into them in the very near future.

    edited to add that my American Blues (average about 10 pounds adult weight) average 10-12 per litter and I even had a litter of 16! Their growth rate is pretty slow, however. I think that (if you are looking for a meat rabbit) New Zealands may be your best bet. I cannot say 100% for sure though because my NZ have not started breeding yet [​IMG] but NZ seems to be the breed of choice amongst serious meat raisers.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  7. The worms will do just fine under the droppings. When it gets real cold, they simply burrow down a few more inches and huddle in a mass, waiting for spring to come. Then they will get back to work making lots of nice compost for you !

  8. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Songster

    Jan 24, 2009
    If you are wanting a meat breed, I would go with NZ whites/reds/blacks. If you want a dual breed, satins are the way to go. They were my favorits when I raised them. Red Satins are gorgeous and get almost as big as a NZ. Blue satins are pretty too. Harlequins are awesome too.

    Dwarfs are very hard to raise, I wouldn't recommend them until you get some experience with the larger breeds.

    Rex's and Mini rexes are a blast also.

    Dutch are a color breed and are hard, you will have a lot of culls.

    Go to the best breeder you can find and buy the best stock you can afford if you plan on showing. A cull from a litter with the breeder's keepers may be just as well as buying the keeper itself.

    Do you research, and if you want to be a well known breeder someday, don't mix your breeds and keep a clean rabbitry. Give yogurt to keep them healthy and have a quaranteen section.
  9. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:This is so very true if you plan on showing-start out with the best you can find. You can go to the breed club websites and look for the points that breeders accumulate during the year for showing. This will give you an idea who is on the map and who isn't.
  10. CARS

    CARS Songster

    Quote:Sorry for the tread jack but I don't think you understand that it freezes 4 to 5 feet down in winter. How can a 1 foot deep box possibly not freeze solid?

    Alright, back to rabbits

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