I want to try my hand at raising rabbits. I will start with a buck and 2 does. I need advice or plans for an outside hutch.
Could someone help?
These would be New Zealand or Californians or a cross.
I have two does and Little Buckaroo. All three are New Zealand x Californian cross.
I built three separate cages that are suspended under a metal roof. Cages are constructed out of PVC pipe and cage wire. I think the openings are 1/2" x 1". I also have shallow plastic trays on the floor. It's better on their feet, but more work to keep cage clean. Wood under the cages is a bad idea. It will become soaked with urine. Exposed wood on the hutch will be chewed open.
The shelter is on the north side of my greenhouse / tool shed. Shaded from summer heat.
All of this will change. I'll be moving my duck house away from their pond. After moving, build a greenhouse between the pond and attached to the duck house. The duck house will be enlarged and the rabbit hutch add to the north side.
I might try raising the does in community setup. All does in one big cage and maybe a nursery off of it. Something to research.
Anyone have some leads on where to find some rabbits?
Rabbits are very hardy. Even in the coldest weather will give birth to kits if provided a balanced diet and proper shelter.
A two sided shed (west/north) with a roof to keep rain/snow off them works as good as any other. All welded wire (1"x2") cages to include a welded wire (1/2"x1") bottom. Be sure to place an 8"x18" pine board in the center for them to get off the wire floor--this prevents sore feet. Make sure the door is large enough to get the nest box in/out when needed.
If stacking one cage above the other be sure to use catch pans under the upper cages. When using catch pans allow enough space between the top of the catch pan and the floor of the cage as so not to injure toes when removing catch pan to empty it.
Also, use 3" or 4" urine guards on the upper cages so they can't urinate out the side of the cage onto the lower cages. A 30" deep x 36" wide X 18" high cage is the minimum size for doe to raise their kits in, Buck/single rabbits can be kept in cages 24" wide X 24" deep X 18" high at minimum.
Give them plenty of wooden things to chew on; we give them plenty of willow branches/twigs, raspberry canes to chew on. RabbitÂs teeth continually grow and need things to chew on. They love toys to play with to cut down on boredom; we use those plastic balls that are sold for parrots.
They love dandelions and most anything green. Calf Manna is a very notorious addition to the doe's diet after they kindle and are nursing their young (2 tablespoons/day while nursing). It also is very good to give 1 tablespoon/day to the young kits when they start to eat on their own, it increases weight gain by 15% and make the meat taste sweet. Limit giving to Does that are resting between litters and Bucks to once a week. Be sure to feed in separate dish as they will dig all the food out of dish looking for it.
Plenty of fresh water is very important especially if feeding pelleted foods.
We always pet/hold them daily so they are used to being handled and less nervous when you check for ear mite, fleas and possible injuries. Meat rabbits are prone to injuries to their spine/hips due to selective breeding to lower bone to meat ratio. These are very painful injures and not much to do about this except to process it for the dinner table. Most process them about 10-12 weeks of age. Doe can be kept to any age for processing before kindling, bucks must be nurtured if kept beyond 10-12 week, this prevents them from becoming strong tasting and making them easy to skin when processing.
Will take some pictures of our cages and post them latter.
There are many way to raise rabbits and most work well. Become familiar with possible diseases to look out for and possible take steps to prevent.
Hope this helps
Here is a link that might be useful: Rabbit Diseases
Here are some pictures of rabbit cages getting set-up to put does in for another round of litters. There will be urine guards and resting boards inserted after they are power washed this weekend. The nest boxes will be added 2-3 days before they are due to kindle.
Note that there are two quart water bottles; one high--the other low enough for the kits to reach when old enough.
This shows the space between the top of catch pan and bottom of the floor to prevent injuring their toes/feet.
These are pictures of two young bucks; Blue Eyes and Buzz Bunny--both 8 months old and New Zeeland X California second generation. They are 11 and 12.5 pounds respectively.
If you live where temps go over 100 degrees, you MUST cool your rabbits. I freeze 2 liter bottles and put them in the cages when it gets over 90. They don't have very efficient cooling systems and can overheat and die.
I am interested in raising rabbits and was hopping (ha ha) someone knew of a magazine that covered all areas of raising rabbits. The best Rabbits for pets, meat ect... something that talks about the best shelter needed just how much of their food can I grow myself and the overall day to day care.
thanks for all your help.
captaindirt, you might try your local library. I have been reading a book Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits & it covers all the basics as far as I can tell. One thing it doesn't mention, though, is that there are a number of breeds that are rare & threatened, among them good dual purpose breeds like the American Chinchilla, Blanc de Hotot, & American. You can find out more about these breeds at the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy page: http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html#rabbits
Another site about rare breeds is this one: http://www.rabbitgeek.com/rarelist.html
You can follow links from both those pages & get caught up in more info than you can easily assimilate! Good luck!