If you plan to raise rabbits for your own consumption(Not for sale) you will need 1 doe(female) cage, 1 buck(male) cage and 1 (large) feeder cage for raising your kits to butcher weight.
Almost anyone will have a place they can use to raise rabbits. Rabbits require little space and if you do your part in keeping their cage/pen area clean have little or no animal smell.
Rabbits come in all colors and sizes from the tiny Britannia Petite and the Netherlander Dwarf @ 1.1 pounds to the Flemish and Spanish Giants @ 15 or more pounds.
New Zealand white @ 9 – 12 pounds and the Californian @ 9 – 10 pounds are good choices for producing fryers.
Cages or Hutches? Bass Cages & Hutches Remember, smaller is not better for a breesing doe. In my opinion a doe cage must be at a minimum 30 inches by 30 inches and 18 inches tall.
Cages Mississippi State University said Things to consider when building rabbit facilities
Heat may be your worst enemy. Rabbits do not cope well in temperatures above 90 degrees and high humidity. When breeding rabbits during the summer months, you must implement a cooling system that will allow your flock to successfully breed.
Air temperatures at or above 90%F can cause temporary sterility in bucks. Your Doe may not breed and even if she does she may miscarry, abort her young, ignore the newborn, or deliver outside the nest box on the wire floor rather than in the next box.
Fans are one option for keeping rabbits comfortable during the summer heat. To avoid stressing the rabbits, do not allow the fans to blow directly on them. Instead, hang the fans above the rabbit cages and direct them to keep air moving above the cages. Ceiling fans are also a good choice.
If you have freezer space, use large soft drink bottles filled with frozen water. This will provide a primitive air conditioner for your rabbits. They will lean against the bottle for relief. This is an efficient, affordable method and will increase your rabbits’ survival rate.
It is essential to minimize stressing your rabbits. Stress lowers your rabbits’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to illness. You may successfully breed rabbits year round as long as you implement a plan to keep them comfortable.
The good news is you have your hutches or cages in an enclosed structure that you remodeled or constructed. You have successfully breed your doe. After 31 + or – 2 days one way or the other, your doe delivers 6 or 8 hairless kits.
Now what? Conception to Weaning
Cold winter days can present challenges for rabbit growers. Temperatures that are near freezing for extended periods of time and moderate to strong winds that lower wind chill temperatures can pose serious health problems for newborn, young, and adult rabbits.
Keeping newborn and very young rabbits alive during the winter can be challenging. Adequate nutrition plays a role in survivability of newborn and young rabbits.
Does must provide milk for newborn and young rabbits so they can try to generate their own body heat. A well nourished rabbit is better able to cope with cold conditions than a malnourished rabbit.
Newborns and young kits can be protected from cold weather by using nest boxes lined with grass hay.
In extreme cold weather adult rabbits will benefit form grass lined nest boxes as well. It provides a warm place out of winters cold wind.
Hint Have 2 soda bottles and watering tubes for each cage, one can be thawing out while the other is attached to your hutch or cage. Replace water bottle morning and again before night fall.
Hint Don’t over look the benefits of having a source of rabbit manure for your garden.
Hint Save a ton of money. Plant a 4ft by 8ft or larger bed with alfalfa to provide a good quality supplemental hay to feed your rabbit(s).
All About Raising Rabbits by DebMark Rabbit Education Resource, is a series of 8 ‘Must Read’ pamphlets on every aspect of raising and breeding rabbits.
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