A Knowledgebase for the Rabbit Industry...
How to house your rabbits.
How to keep them safe.
How to feed and water them.
What to do each day and each week.
- The housing for your rabbits must:
- be clean at all times
- have access to plenty of fresh air
- have protection from hot or cold weather
- be protected from ALL dogs and other predators!
- Rabbit pens [cages/hutches] should be kept sanitary at all times and located in an area allowing for plenty of fresh air and some sunlight.
- Each cage/hutch should protect the rabbits from bad weather, all dogs, other animals and must provide enough room for growth.
- The most important point in building your rabbit cage/hutch is sanitation!
- An open-air, self-cleaning cage/hutch is recommended. :A modern rabbit cage/hutch is constructed with welded wire.
- The floor is made with 1/2-inch by 1-inch welded wire.
- Sides and tops are built with 1-by-2-inch welded wire.
- All-wire cage/hutches are more sanitary and durable than a wood cage/hutch.
- Cages can be hung in a building with adequate ventilation.
- This type of housing is more efficient than outside housing, especially when equipped with attached feeders and automatic watering systems.
- Pelleted feed rations have eliminated the need for hay in rabbit cages/hutches.
- The size of the cage/hutch depends on the size of the breed of rabbit. Cages and Hutches can be purchased pre-built.
- Remember, it's easier to care for your rabbits in a well-built wire Cage or Hutch as opposed to temporary poorly built wood ones. Open-air, self-cleaning cages/hutches will help to keep your rabbits cool.
- These cages/hutches can be kept cleaner and diseases can be controlled more easily.
- To keep your rabbits from overheating, do not place the cage/hutch in direct sunlight.
- Place the cage in partial or complete shade with good air circulation.
- Cages should be approximately 24"D x 36"L x 18"H with attached feeders and water supply.
||Extreme Cold and Heat will Kill Your Rabbits!
- On hot days [90 degrees and above], place frozen water bottles in the cage and have fans blowing on your rabbits.
- On harsh cold days [38 degrees and lower], protect your rabbits from the elements. If a frost is in the forecast, bring your rabbits indoors (garage,etc) until the temperature rises back to 38 degrees or higher. Rabbits love the cold weather!
||Be alert! - Protect your project...
- Your cages must be protected from other animals, especially dogs!
- Dogs kill an amazing number of unprotected 4H-FFA rabbits every year! Never allow ANY animal near your cages!
- Dogs will pull the feet off of your rabbits through the wire flooring of an unprotected cage. This is a horrible death and can simply be avoided by making sure You have taken measures to protect your rabbits' cage area!
- Provide your rabbits with a clean and healthy environment!
- Prevent flies by removing the rabbit droppings at least every other day! This will also reduce the urine odor!
- Urine build-up will irritate your rabbits' breathing passages and burn their eyes!
- Rabbit droppings are a great fertilizer for gardens and flower beds!
- Just keep it clean!
Type of Feed
||Never feed your rabbits any "extras"! |
Not only will these "extras" stop your rabbits from eating their daily feed rations
it will cause them to scour (diarrhea) and die.
- Use good quality commercial feed pellets.
- Purchase a feed that contains between 16% to 18% Protein!
- Pellets should be firm and not broken into small particles. The particles (fines) will not be eaten and will be wasted.
- Keep your feed dry, out of excess heat, free from insects and rodents.
- This can be done easily by storing in a container like a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
- Do not store your feed for more than 3 or 4 weeks. It loses its nutritional value if it is stored longer than that.
- Do not let stale or moldy feed accumulate in feeders. If feed is dusty, try to sift it before feeding. The dust may harm your rabbit's respiratory system.
How Much Feed & Water
- If raising a pen of 5 rabbits, a 50lb bag of feed should last 5-6 weeks.
- A household measuring cup can be used to feed - 1 cup per rabbit per day!
- Never let your rabbits be without water!
- Change the water often and keep the container clean.
- If the weather is hot, add ice cubes to the container throughout the day.
When to Feed
- Feed your rabbits once a day in the Evening!
- Rabbits enjoy their "supper meal" just like you do!
- A good feeding habit/schedule would be to feed your rabbits just prior to your having your supper meal.
- Always clean and empty the feeder. Remove any uneaten feed before refilling.
- Your rabbits are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and eat at night.
- Your rabbits will weigh approximately 1 1/2 to 2 pounds when you get them.
- Weigh your rabbits when you get them and record their weights.
- Each rabbit should gain approximately 8-10 ounces per week.
- This is why we stress the importance of weekly weighing! Know and record your rabbits' weights!
- Weekly weighings will help you determine which 3 rabbits will be chosen as your show pen!
- The ideal weight on show day for your 'pen of 3' should be very close to 5 pounds per rabbit.
||You can have a very successful project if you|
give your rabbits the daily attention that they require!
- Evening Feeding . . . feed the recommended amounts!
- Keep the water container full and clean at all times!
||Attention leads to Prevention!
- Do a complete check of each rabbit. Look carefully for any physical problems such as
- broken toenails
- eye problems
- Treat your rabbits' ears with mineral oil to prevent earmites
- Weigh and record your rabbits' weights
- Work and 'pose' your rabbits, preparing them for show day!