Rabbits As Pets, Table Meat And Profit – 2013 – part4

Kits at about 4 weeks old

Kits at about 4 weeks old

Do not put the nest box in too soon (put next box in with the doe at 28-29 day’s after breeding) or she will sit in it and poop in it, destroying the good environment it was meant to be. The best dimension for a nest box is.

Example (Bass) Metal Nest Boxes
DIY Wooden Rabbit Nest Box

Dwarfs: 12″ long x 8″ wide x 8″ tall
Medium: 15″ long x 10″ wide x 10″ tall
Large: 18″ long x 12″ wide x 12″ tall

Wait before you line the nest box with hay. Did you sterilize the nest box? Whether it is a new box or a box that has been used before, It needs to be sterilized before putting it in your doe’s cage.
Wash the nest box in warm soap and bleach (1/4 cup per gallon of water) water. Rinse using clean warm water. Allow to dry in the sun if possible before use.

I find it best to fill the nest box by Putting some absorbent pine shavings (not cedar!) (not saw dust!) on the bottom about 1 inch deep. Then put good clean hay in the rest of the way. Hollow out a hole in the hay that she can get in and put the young.

When you put a nest box in, the doe will start taking up hay in its mouth to prepare her nest. Watch carefully to make sure that she is putting it in the nest box and not spreading it on the floor of the hutch.
If she is spreading it on the floor, she is intending to have her litter on the floor instead of the nest box. You can move the nest box to where she was spreading it on the cage floor, she may then prepare her nest in the nest box instead. Make sure you watch for this because if she has her litter outside the nest box, the odds of the kits surviving are very slim.

Kits are born with their eyes closed and nearly hairless. They must be protected from exposure and must be confined together with their litter mates.

Sometimes a doe will give birth on the cage floor. Be vigilant and watch for this. Unless you gather up the babies in time and put them in the nest box, they will die from exposure. Once in the nest box, the mother will care for them. The position of the babies is very important. The mother will NEVER move the babies anywhere. If they are on the cage floor, on the cage floor they will remain, unless YOU intervene. Even in the nest box, they have to be in the right place and it is up to you to make sure of this. Make sure that they are lying on fur in a good depression in the hay where they cannot climb out of the nest box. If they climb out before their eyes are open, their chances of survival are slim. Remember! The mother will NEVER move her kits anywhere! YOU must ensure that they are in the right position.

Check the kits soon after birth. Count them and eliminate dead kits, runts and deformed kits.

Wow, you have done everything right and now you have a litter of new born kits. What’s your game plan now?

As kits go from birth to 10 days, they get more and more of their own fur. They are born almost hairless, but develop enough fur to keep themselves warm by the ninth day. On the tenth or eleventh day, their eyes are open and sometimes they will come out of the nest box. They will start to eat solids between the 11th and 14th days.
When the weather is above 60 degrees, you may remove the nest box on the 14th-16th day after birth. Allowing them to stand on a piece of plywood until the 18th day. On cold days, remove the nest box on the 18th-20th days. It is necessary to remove the nest box before the 21st day because they will poop and pee in it, which makes it harbor a lot of germs that they can easily become infected.

skinned-rabbit Kits may be weaned as early as 4 weeks after birth. Usually, it is best to keep them with their mother until they are 6 to 8 weeks old. At time of weaning, you should sex the kits and separate the males and females into their own cages.

You may keep the rabbits you’ve weaned together, separated by sex, until about 4 months of age, then they need to be butchered or totally separated one rabbit per cage.

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7 responses to “Rabbits As Pets, Table Meat And Profit – 2013 – part4

  1. Such great information here! I was given 3 does and a buck. It’s been too hot here to breed but soon I hope to! I have 4 cages hanging in my shed now. If all goes well this fall I hope to have a steady supply to eat next year.

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    • Re iwantgrits – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
      Looking at your pictures, it looks like your off to a good start to raise rabbits, however, don’t forget a doe will produce 6 to 8 kits in each litter. With 3 does you may find yourself with as many as 24 rabbits needing cage space to be fed to butcher weight. One cage will not be enough space for 24 feeder rabbits.

      Good hunting and fishing

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      • Yeah! I am going to try to stagger them so I’m not too overwhelmed. I have another set of cages that have four 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 sections that was given to me. I have no idea what kind of rabbits I have. They were given to me and the guy I got them from had forgotten.

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        • Re iwantgrits – If your raising them for meat, breed or being mixed breeds is really unimportant as long as they are healthy and of medium to larger sizes.
          I recommend that you get a set of scales that will weigh up to 10 pounds. Keep good records and butcher fryers at at 4 or 5 pounds live weight (8 to 12 weeks of age). This will be the age and weight where you get the most meat for the least amount of food investment.
          Thanks for visiting my tiny humble blog

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  2. We used to keep rabbits as pets. I cannot bring myself to eat them but a friend of mine said curried rabbit taste like chicken curry. Does rabbit meat taste like chicken?

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    • Re Sam Han – Rabbit is a white meat, low fat and over a very healthy meat meal.
      De-boned and served with any kind of spices, I don’t think many people would ever know that it is Rabbit and not Chicken

      Good eating

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