Rabbit Management

Rabbit Management

Pet rabbits live 5 to 8 years, though it can be higher. Rabbits can be raised as companions or for showing and meat. Their purpose may be different, but there are some care and management necessities that are common.

Rabbits should have access to free-choice hay and clean water. Typically water is in a crock or a flowing waterer. Hutches with wire mesh sides should be used for housing. Rabbits range in size from 4 to 16 pounds, where the breed and use can change the amount of feed needed each day. A metal feed is ideal because rabbits chew on wood. One item that surprises many new rabbit owners, is that rabbits will eat the night feces of their fecal material due to its high level of micronutrients. This is common and should not cause alarm.

Nail trimming, keeping a clean and quiet environment and continual health checks are essential to prevent disease outbreak. Health checks should include monitoring for internal and external parasites is necessary because these are common in rabbits.

Decide early if you will be breeding rabbits, because if not separated, rabbits will breed with their littermates if left cohabitated after weaning. Small breeds mature faster than larger, 4 months versus 7 to 9 months. A rabbit estrus cycle is 16 to 18 days with two infertile days at the beginning and end. Rabbits are induced ovulators and the doe should be brought to the buck’s cage. Light and temperature can also play a role in conception.

Something to be aware of, rabbits can show false pregnancies, so rebreed 17 days after the last breeding. With a 31-day gestation period, kits will be soon to arrive after a positive pregnancy. Place a next box, 12” x 12” x 24” with one side cut down to 6” for easy entry, into the pen on the 28th or 29th day after breeding. In the winter months, the nest box should be filled with straw not sawdust or shavings due to particle size. Does kindle an average of eight kits, though it can be up to 20.

Weaning is typically done at 8 weeks, but some wean at 6 weeks and separate males from females. Tattooing each rabbit’s ears can assist in identification. Then at approximately 8 weeks old, rabbits are marketed at 4 to 5 pounds.

Rabbit Association

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