Rabbits

Healthy low-fat, low cholesterol

Replace any recipe that requires chicken with rabbit.

Minimal space or equipment.  Not a huge cash outlay to set up

Quiet

Cooking

Any chicken recipe

Do not cook quickly as it toughens the meat.  THe older it is the longer/slower you cook it.  Cook from room temp and wrap in foil or baste to aoid it drying out

Garlic, sage, rosemary, basil, lemongrass, coriander, bay, parsley, thyme.

New Zealand White

White Californian

Standard Chinchilla or Silver Fox

  • Adult weight: 5.5kg
  • Litter size 8-12 kits
  • Fast growing
  • Excellent meat
  • Pelt not that flash
  • Does tend to be very aggressive
  • Bucks well behaved
  • Adult weight – 4.7 kg
  • Litter size – 6 to 10 kits
  • Not a lot of value in the pelt
  • Fairly laid back
  • Adult weight – 3kg
  • Litter size 5-9 kit
  • Great pelts
  • Silver Fox – Black, chocolate, lilac, blue
  • Does are docile.

Flemish Giant

Satin

Standard Rex

  • Adult weight 5-7kg
  • Litter size 6-12 kits
  • Slow growing – not great economical meat to feed ratio.
  • Adult weight 3-3.5kg
  • Litter size 5 to 9 kits
  • Shiny coat due to the outer sheth of hair being clear.  Huge range of colours
  • Laid back does and bucks

What to ask when choosing a rabbit

What have they been fed?  Quality pellets with 16-18% protein so they will grow to their full potential and produce the best young.

How have they been housed?  Off the ground has less chance of parasites and diseases

Litter size – 4 kits or less and the trait could be passed on via the buck or the doe.

Pure or Crossbreed?  Crossbreeds have no guarantee of what you will get.

Any deaths in the last 3 months.?

RCD

Photos of Rabbitry – May not be able to access due to RCD but photos to see if the hutches are clean.

Health Checklist

  • Ears clean – no build up
  • Feet clean – no sores or wounds
  • Coat – no dandruff or mites
  • Back – decent cover of meat
  • Eye – clear
  • Nose – clean and dry
  • Inside front legs by feet – no wet or Crusty Build up
  • Ass – clean – no sign of diarrhea
  • Teeth – Meet up
  • Pedigree/lineage

Once home

Quarantine new rabbits fro a month

Feed high quality rabbit pallets at least 16% protein

Treat for worms and parasites (then every 3 months)

RCD vaccinations in breeding pairs

 

Never use fresh hay – 3 month old hay as RCD can live on hay.  RCD will kill within 24 hours

Housing

RCD rabbit calicivirus disease also known as RHD rabbit hemorrhagic disease.  Vaccine is not 100%.  If contracted mortality occurs within 24 hours.  Highly contagious.  Pro-grass is cheap feed

Set up costs are higher

Cages 600mm deep.  Make doors are large as possible or opening roof.

SPCA recommend cage should be large enough for a rabbit to hop 3 consecutive hops across, lay stretched out, stand up with its ears up.  1000x600x450 means the rabbits can sit with ears up

Walls/roof/doors – 20mm melded mesh.  Rabbits can chew through chicken wire

Shade and shelter

Keep cage dry

Inspect once a week.

 

On Grass Hutch

Outdoors – Mesh Floor

Indoors – Solid Floor (shavings on ply)

Indoor – Mesh Floor

Pro:

  • Cheap second hand
  • Good starting cage
  • Free food
  • Clean once a week
Pro:

  • Manure drops and can be dug out, or worm farmed
  • Easier to reach – better for your back
  • Easy manure gathering
Pro:

  • Ideal for Rex
  • Warmer in winter
  • Can put cages at convenient height so less bending/back work
Pro:

  • Single layer – manure to bins or worm farms beneath
  • Tray – can be stacked
  • Slide – up to 3 layers high
  • Warmer in winter
  • Can put cages at convenient height so less bending/back work
Con:

  • Cage needs to be moved every 1-2 days
  • Don’t graze in the same spot for 6 weeks to avoid parasite build up (E. cuniculi)
  • Space required
  • Muddy in winter
  • Get cold
Con:

Still outside stomping through mud in winter to get to cages.

Con:

  • Needs a steady supply of shavings and a good disposal area
  • Daily cleaning required
  • Can harbour parasites
  • Urine soaked wood
Con:

Tray – tray can get heavy – hard to slide out.  Will need to be cleaned daily

Slide – regular cleaning of slide so it does not block.

A playpen is handy for on grass time however bunnies will need supervision.  and again spots need to be moved.

Nest box

4mm plywood and 10-15mm plywood

600x300x300(front)/250(back)

Door opening is traced from a paint tin 10cm off the floor

Good size to fit all breeds

Door designed so kits will not be dragged out.  kits will not be able to get out till week 3

Flooring – could be plywood but will need to be sealed well as it can become urine soaked, smelly, harbour parasites.

Feet may get sore from wet/damp wood.

Mesh is more common.  10mm welded square 0.8mm or 1mm gauge.  Thinner gauge may need to have supports added at 400mm.  Thinner wire also runs the risk of cutting feet

Rex has thinner fur on feet so plywood floor is a better option

Other Rex necessities:  deep shavings on the floor

Watering

Water bottles – refill regularly and check that ball bearing is not stuck

If cages are in a shed – consider running tubing lines from a large bucket.  Clean water regularly

Food bowls

D cups are handy as they can be used in transport cages

Feed hoppers if cages are inside.

Place food in nesting box to keep it dry and kits will be able to start eating earlier.

if second hand cages disinfect well before use.  Virkon S – is a multipurpose virucidal disinfectant

Bunny Diseases

Encephalitozen cuniculi – protozoal parasite that infects rabbits.  Can be passed to humand.  Symptoms – eye disease – cataracts or lens rupture.  Head tilt and neurological symptoms such as weak legs.  Urinary incontinence.  Kidney disease

Rabbits

1m2 space

14 gauge wire cages

1.5cm mesh

NZ white, california, English for meat

Fresh water at all times

Start with 2 females and 1 male