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Rabbit Breeding

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RachelM
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Rabbit Breeding

Postby RachelM » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:43 am

Hi there! I'm finally back from the Great White North, and have returned to the seasonally-white Niagara. I've been able to catch up with stuff on the farm, and got some does bred recently (The family took care of them while I was gone and didn't want the hassle of breeding and selling). What's everybody breeding?

I've got three breeds: New Zealand Whites, Chinchillas, and Flemish Giants. My main buck, Mr. Buns, is a New Zealand-Chinchilla cross. He's all white, but has black eyes. When bred to NZ does, he throws all-whites, but when bred back to a Chinchilla NZ cross doe (chinchilla coloured), the kits seem to be born slightly larger and grow quickly. The downside is the doe is kind of a b, and likes scratching up the kits. Of her last litter of a dozen kits, we have one survivor, who is about 4 months old. She cut a fair size hole in him, and he is still healing (Away from her!). We have 4 does bred, her included, and if she gets violent again we want to try and put her babies on another doe.

We have a nice brown doe (unknown breed) and a half English spot buck that came as a pair, and can't be separated as the buck goes crazy. While the kits aren't very large, the grow to be medium sized, and we usually sell them as pets (Or, as we call them, fun buns). She's taken on some older kits, so my hopes are that she would take on newborns.

The Flemish doe hasn't taken care of her first two litters, I'm hoping third times the charm, as I'd like to see how it turns out. She's bred to a NZ buck, as I've been told they mix nicely.

Currently, I don't use them for personal meat, but sell them. The most reliable way currently is to just take them to the Hagersville livestock auction. Unfortunately, prices always seem to be low the days I bring them! The "fun buns" tend to go for 5, and meat rabbits usually get 8-10. Too bad it costs $50 in gas to get there! I wish Niagara still had an auction!

So how goes it with all the other breeders?
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Syn
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby Syn » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:53 pm

I have two sister does, half Flemish giant half New Zealand. I bred them with a pure New Zealand buck and got prolific litters of 8 and 9 kits and the does are good mothers . I lost the buck to heat exhaustion before I learned to freeze blocks of water for them to cool themselves against . My next step is to first expand my rearing areas to better accommodate raising rabbits and learn to butcher them as I am raising them as part of our own organic meat supply.
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RachelM
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby RachelM » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:50 pm

Heat exhaustion can be a b, and I've unfortunately lost a few as well. The local farms I've talked to really recommend air circulation above all. I only have my pet pair in a wooden cage, all the others are full-wire. I put them on sawhorses and in the middle of an old tackroom in the barn. As long as they are out of the sun, they can stretch out and pant if they get too hot. I also don't give them much hay when it is hot, because the body creates heat with digestion. Also, the ammonia in their urine, if not ventilated, can make them sick, and burn your lungs.

We recently bought some new cages that we're going to build a little area off the barn for. Our plan is to make it just four posts and a roof, and build a system so the urine and poop goes down a slanted board, into a chute or eavestrough, and into a bucket to prevent the ammonia and odours going up to the rabbits lungs, and it makes for a quick clean up. In the winter or bad weather, we can pile up hay/straw bales, or stick a sheet of plywood. That way, they have the most ventilation.

The wooden cage we have is nice for moms with litters that are moving out of the nest. Its about 4-5 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. It has wire on the front and wood on all other sides, with a lid on hinges. You can fit a nesting box in it nicely too. Rather than splitting up the litter into multiple cages, I can just remove momma, depending on how many are left at weaning time. This works well for now because we have small-medium breed kits in there, but I want to build a few bigger ones as a "maternity ward" for my NZ's and Chinchillas. I can shovel them out fairly easily. The ground in our barn tends to get muddy, so it is easier to clean sometimes than raking the ground.

I love when I get litters of 10 or more, except they tend to not all live, which really renders it useless. I had a doe give me 14 once! And 5 of them lived because she picked off the weaker ones.
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oldschool
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby oldschool » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Great idea with the chute. I had never thought of that. I will have to remember that for when I have rabbits again.

Have you considered selling your rabbits to a local pet shop for reptile food? No idea how much they pay but you may make more money that way.
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RachelM
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby RachelM » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:41 am

The pet shops around are all chains, and when I asked them they said no. Although I found one reptile store that was interested but never called back.

I had the idea to sell the newborns or young ones that died as pinkie rabbits. I sold a few bags, but the demand was scattered, and my family did not appreciate a bag full of dead bunnies in the freezer door.
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oldschool
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby oldschool » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:02 am

I would guess that Hamilton would be a further drive then Hagersville.

If it is not let me know. I know a few independent reptile store people.
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby anitapreciouspearl » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:09 am

RachelM - Can you post pictures of your setup? I am very interested in starting with rabbits in the next year but I am still researching cages etc.
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farmgal
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby farmgal » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:47 pm

Hi, I typically have three does and one buck, plus grow out..

I raise a mixed breed of rabbits, I am going to flat come out and say that I am tough on my girls, if they are not good breeders, birthing momma's and if they are not good momma's, I will put them down, if a momma rabbit was a bad momma and hurt her babies, she would never get a second chance on the farm, I would put her down before she was ever breed again.

I bought a female from a sale that was bad tempered and had no care of her kits, I put down the kits and feed the dogs and put momma in a stew pot, bad temperament, and bad mothering is often genetic and I won't put that in my lines.

Having said that, my rabbits are breed for a few things, they are breed to be steady in temperemnet, good breeders, average eight plus kits at birth, I will take a single kit loss but a mother should be able to raise all eight to nine kits to full weaning size. I breed for coat, as I tan hides, and so I like good coats and pretty patterns.

My breeders cages are all homemade and wooden and wire, they are extra big, they have a fully inclosed area with a pop-out door and access to the inside and outside area's for me, and the grow out kits are all wire and manly in rabbit tractors

I don't sell pinkies, or young rabbits, I have been known to sell fully done ready for butcher age friers, I very, very rarely sell breeders, we eat 99% of the rabbits we raise, I am a nose to tail eater, I have recipes for the blood, I use the hides, and between me, the hounds and the pigs, when I am done butchering, there is nothing left over for compost, in my small farm closed loop, everything about the rabbit is golden, from poo to fur!
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Syn
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby Syn » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:05 pm

I am a horse breeder but I concur with culling hard and not just breeding does regardless of their poor mothering abilities etc.
In the long term you will more consistently produce well with less financial loss if you are more stringent with your standards .
I am currently looking for any meat rabbit breeders in the fraser valley area of BC who might want to trade young breeding bucks , to work towards good meat standards and keep bloodlines diversified. I am not highly experienced with rabbit breeding but have 3/4 bred New Zealand 1/4 bred Flemish Giant rabbits F1 generation to select from.
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wha
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Re: Rabbit Breeding

Postby wha » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:56 pm

How old do the bunnies have to be to sex them.
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