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Our Rabbit Breeding Adventure

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32 replies to this topic

#1
Sprocket

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Figured I would post this here since it pertains to raw feeding.  If its in the wrong place, please move it...but let me know if you do because this forum is hard to navigate  :unsure:

 

Anyway!  We decided a few months ago to dive into rabbit breeding.  For ourselves and for the cat.  The dogs too but mostly Bernard because he LOVES rabbit.   We were sick of hearing about what they fed chickens bred for meat and I didn't want to deal with raising the stinkers myself.  I find that rabbits eat a healthier diet compared to the corn heavy diets of meat birds.  

 

Anyway, we started collecting supplies.  I found a GREAT deal on cages so we stocked up!  

 

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We bought our first trio (buck and 2 does) from a local breeder.  They are 3/4 Californian and 1/4 Flemish.

 

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The we bought a trio of pure Californians.  Then I bought a pair of American Blues and a pair of New Zealand/ American crosses.  One was red and one was blue.  The last rabbit I bought was a gorgeous spotted mutt.  Our breeding intentions are for food but I also want to utilize the pelts so color was necessary! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We culled 2 bucks. One we ate, another for the dogs.  

 

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We  (I say we because it was my idea but Drew actually put it all together) set up a sweet gravity water feeder.  Bottles are SO tedious for so many rabbits!

 

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After a few turns with the boys, the girls finally did what they do best! 

 

Babies! Our American blue had 4 kits.  A respectable size litter for a young first timer.

 

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Then one of the does from the first trio kindled.  5 kits this time.  

 

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The proud papa.

 

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The babies are one week old yesterday and tomorrow.  

 

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I *may* be keeping a colored doe back for breeding but most will be freezer bound in about 12 weeks.

 

 

 

Until next time!

 

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#2
lauren43

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The babies are soooo cute! I love the giant one in the first litter. Will they be full grown in 12 weeks?

Are those cages hard to clean? I would love to one day do something like this. But I hate cleaning cages!!!!

#3
GoingPostal

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Those spotted babies omg!  How are rabbits as far as cost and time to raise?  Cleaning and such. 



#4
blacksheep

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I wanted to get hanging cages.  Is that the kind of set up you have?  

I considered raising buns myself :)



#5
Prey Model Raw

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This is so awesome! We've thought about doing rabbits too.....I'd want to do free range rabbits though. Does anyone know much about doing things free range?

#6
Sprocket

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The babies are soooo cute! I love the giant one in the first litter. Will they be full grown in 12 weeks?

Are those cages hard to clean? I would love to one day do something like this. But I hate cleaning cages!!!!

 

12 weeks is approximate but they will not be full grown. They 'hopefully' will be 6 lbs or greater.  Full grown adults can be 12 lbs or more.  

 

Not hard to clean AT ALL.  Their is sort of an angled piece of metal under the second story so it all runs down.  The other cages just fall to the ground and we scoop it into the garden.  We are planning a gutter type thing that empties into a trash can for easy clean up :) 

 

Those spotted babies omg!  How are rabbits as far as cost and time to raise?  Cleaning and such. 

 

Its not cheap, the set up is pretty expensive depending on how you do it.  Maintenance is not bad. Once they start reproducing themselves, I expect to make out pretty well.  We don't calculate the costs.  The fact that we are raising healthy meat is enough reason to do it. 

 

It takes almost no time at all to maintain them.  The water is automatic, Takes about 15 minutes to feed them every day.  Breeding every now and then.

 

 

I wanted to get hanging cages.  Is that the kind of set up you have?  

I considered raising buns myself :)

 

Yes, we have some hanging cages, the top 4 are the only ones that do not hang, they sit on a frame above the lower 4.  

 

This is so awesome! We've thought about doing rabbits too.....I'd want to do free range rabbits though. Does anyone know much about doing things free range?

 

Colony is the word  you are looking for ;) 

 

My only issue with colonies is predators, space for set up (You need much more!) and I like the controlled environment of the cages.  

 

Some do have success with colonies, and it would be fun to watch them dig around and such.  Their losses are greater though.  



#7
Prey Model Raw

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Losses to predation? Or disease or parasites? Or?

#8
Sprocket

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Losses to predation? Or disease or parasites? Or?

 

All of the above.  Parasites are more likely when the rabbits are on the ground.  Predators can more easily access them in the colony set up.  Disease spreads quickly in both set ups but you are more likely to be able to catch and isolate in the cages.  

 

I think colonies would be fun though. I'd love to see my rabbits dig burrows :) 



#9
Prey Model Raw

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We definitely have the space for them, it's just adding in another project around the farm! Maybe sometime in the future though....


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#10
Pixel

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Cute and purposeful. ;) The spotted buck and babies are so cute.

I don't know if I could do rabbits(I have them as pets) But I would really love to be able to have the fresh meat.

As for the rabbit colony. I would love to let them roam free and tunnel. But my neighbor had an awesome set up and all his were killed. He has a 10' foot tall fence, buried about foot down with heavy gauge wire. Several times The neighbors dogs got in and killed them. He would fix the problem and a few months later it would happen again. They went after his duck, geese and deer too. It was pretty sad.

I did let my Flemish out when I was working in the barn, but she would just hang out with me.

#11
GimMom

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Cute and purposeful. ;) The spotted buck and babies are so cute.
I don't know if I could do rabbits(I have them as pets) But I would really love to be able to have the fresh meat.


I've had them as pets too, and I know I would have a hard time butchering them, though I too wouldn't mind fresh rabbit for Gim and the hubs and myself. Chickens are one thing, but I loved my bunnies and I'm too much of a bleeding heart hippie to slaughter little bunnies. :P

I wanted to have a house here eventually so I could have a small chicken coop, but apparently, chickens aren't allowed in Toronto for private farming. A lady here is fighting to keep her chickens. The story is old, but last I heard, she's still fighting:

http://www.torontoli...their-backyard/

I think it's lame we can't keep chickens! As long as they're not hurting anyone, I can't see the big deal.

#12
Wolfsnaps

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Really I think everyone (city, suburbs, and rural) should be allowed at LEAST a couple of laying hens. Some people are just so adement about being against them. If you properly take care of your chickens, there is very little smell and the benefits far outweigh any negative issues. GimMom sorry to hear you can't have chickens. That really stinks. Maybe if you could find enough like minded individuals in your community you could bring it to the attention of your county officials?

#13
Sprocket

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Thought I would update with 3 week old photos :) Some are of them a bit younger but man have they grown! Shooting for 2 lbs at 6 weeks and I think we will make it! :) 

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#14
naturalfeddogs

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I love the picture of Jody looking in the cage. Thinking "yummmm"! LOL!


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#15
lauren43

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Omg they are so cute! I can't believe you don't find them cute...
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#16
Sprocket

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Omg they are so cute! I can't believe you don't find them cute...

 

The babies are kind of cute, I will admit that.  I brought 2 to work and everyone LOVED THEM.  They asked a ton of questions about the project.  It was fun talking to them about it.

 

I love the picture of Jody looking in the cage. Thinking "yummmm"! LOL!

 

Jody is a freak.  Her favorite part of the yard is that corner where the rabbits and chickens are just on the other side of the fence.  


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#17
naturalfeddogs

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The babies are kind of cute, I will admit that.  I brought 2 to work and everyone LOVED THEM.  They asked a ton of questions about the project.  It was fun talking to them about it.

 

 

Jody is a freak.  Her favorite part of the yard is that corner where the rabbits and chickens are just on the other side of the fence.  

 

LOL! She's just keeping an eye on her food, making sure it's OK! 


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#18
Sprocket

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Weaning day was yesterday! They are 4 weeks old today and on monday so we weaned them all together.  I will be keeping one of the colored does, the ones with more concentrated coloring because my breeding program is also targeted towards coat color for pelts.  

 

Yippee!

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#19
lauren43

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Predation losses?  You mean by your own pets lol!!!

 

So you are down two bunnies now correct?



#20
Sprocket

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Predation losses?  You mean by your own pets lol!!!

 

So you are down two bunnies now correct?

 

We are only down one.  8 now, from 9.  Bernard ate the first one and then tried to get another but we heard it screaming and ran outside.  They are back in our empty rabbit cages where he can't get them.  I am thinking that in about a month they can go back out when they are larger.  

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