I’m thinking of keeping rabbits for meat. Not loads, just enough for occasional consumption for family. I have no experience at all of this and would be grateful for any advice anyone may have on anything to do with it. Thanks.
The level of hygiene in living quarters is not so critical in meat producing livestock. That's not to say to keep them in appaling conditions, but good bedding, straw or these days shavings, mucked out regularly, not necessarily every day, but so they are dry in their bedding area, you can generally tell by the smell if they need cleaning out. All animals which foul their bedding smell, but when it gets stronger, now is the time. The bedding doesn't want to get thoroughly wet. I think rabbits keep an area for soiling. Occasionally you could muck out completely and use some kind of disinfectant. The young once weaned would be in seperate quarters and you would thoroughly clean and disinfect that area every time it is cleared.How would you keep a wooden cage hygenic for them ?
Oh dear. How will you be preparing them then or will the local countryman do that too?No, I'm not up to killing them. Even taking the dead sheep to the dead sheep dump upsets me
It would probably be best then to make secure night housing and shut them in in the evenings, although predators are around they don't tend to be so active during the day, and there may be no need to underwire the bottoms of the runs as domestic rabbits don't have the same burrowing instinct as wild.The cages will be outside. I'll put them on some sort of support. I'm wondering about predators- it's very wild round here................
what an excellent cop outNo, he won't prepare them. I consider that's the cook's job, and I can't cook
To be quite honest I can't remember, it's so long ago, so I've just been and had a quick look at my John Seymoor book. He says grain, no more than 4oz a day for a pregnant doe, hay only (or grass) for the last few weeks of pregnancy otherwise they get too fat. You can keep the young with mother till killing time if you want, but put her with the buck 2 weeks before they go. They are pregnant for 8 weeks. Thinking back and knowing me I would probably have fed them on a coarse goat mix (we had goats at the time) with hay and pulled grass as they were indoors. They are easy and you will learn as you go. The most important thing is to not disturb the mother when she is giving birth as they are liable to eat the young.Do the females need any special feed when they're pregnant? Or when they're giving milk ?
That is good- we have goats too-probably find them in the rabbit hutchesThinking back and knowing me I would probably have fed them on a coarse goat mix (we had goats at the time)