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Raising Rabbits in the Urban or Country Farm

10 Jun
Rabbits are so easy given the proper care and make for lots of food for the self-sufficent farmer.  Even if just in your backyard.

This is our buck. They are both Chinchila Lop mix.....so very sweet

Rabbits can be raised in nearly any city community as long as you don’t have oodles of them.  They are particularly valuable to a self-supporting way of life.  They are super easy to keep, can be fed on weeds from around the yard, grasses and the likes.  In summer months you don’t have to supplement their diets much with grains and alfalfa if you have your own garden and yards.  That is provided you don’t put fertilizers and herbicides on your lawn or weeds.  If you keep things in an organic nature, it is simple to feed rabbits from the very weeds you pull and the lawn you mow.  They love many varieties of fruits and vegetables from your garden as well.

They make amazing meat and their poo is very easy to gather to use around your yard as fertilizer.  The poo pellets are much less a nuisance than the chicken poo.  If you are going to raise rabbits for meat, I highly suggest you start with a breed that is on the endangered list.  Just click on the ALBC  bookmark.  Pick one with a fur that you love if you want to make crafts, blankets and other items from the fur.

As for sheltering rabbits, they are really easy.  They will pretty much feed themselves if you have enough grassland.  If you leave a section of the grass unmowed for a few weeks, keep the rabbits in a portable shelter, simply place them on the unmowed section of your yard and let them mow it for you.  Keep them there for a few weeks while you leave another section unmowed.  They fertilize the lawn as they go.

Breeding, who of us has not heard “breed like rabbits”, rabbits have a short gestation period of 30 days.  Yes, you read that right 30 days.  You can leave young rabbits with their mother until they are eight weeks old, at which time they are ready to be butchered.  If you plan on butchering them at eight weeks, pull the doe (momma) from her babies when they are 6 weeks old and put her to the buck (daddy).  When she has been serviced by the buck, put her back to her babies till they are 8 weeks old.  By this time, when you remove the young, you will have a new batch of babies within about 17 days.

While most rabbit breeders don’t give their does much more than a six-week rest, I personally prefer to have four does going, each doe is then given a month off of motherhood.  While there are no problems with their health being pregnant so often, so long as you provide them a healthy environment and diet, I know personally I would not like to be pregnant all the time so I like to give them a break.

When considering your rabbits diet, they love pretty much any green or edible roots.  You can supplement their diet with a meal of some grains, but use care when the doe is pregnant and don’t give her too much grain as she will get fat.  They say the average rabbit enjoys 3 ounces of grain per day if over 8 weeks old.  Wait till the babies are two weeks old before you introduce grains to them.  Let them have as much “greens” as they care to consume, but do limit the grain.

There is far more information on rabbits on the internet, do your research before you go out and purchase them.  Consider their habitat before your purchase them and get it built.  Keep in mind that rabbits do not mind the cold, but they do not tolerate wet and too much heat is not a good thing for them.  If you are breeding for meat, I can not express enough that proper genetics and a breeding program needs to be put into place.

Again, research the internet and know what you are doing, don’t simply decide “I want rabbit meat” and breed them  Keep your genetics strong and your supper table will always be served.

She seemed rather skiddish, but is getting tamer by the "petting session".

This is our Doe, she is rather skiddish at times, but is calming down.

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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in The Barnyard

 

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