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Rabbit breeding ?

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jean 

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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.
 
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I kept New Zealand Whites once for meat. I had one buck and two does. We were a family of four and to be honest there was too much, far too much. But then NZWs are big rabbits, they were very easy to "do" both looking after and the killing and preparing. When you want a litter you just put the buck in with the doe and hey presto it happens..........I can't remember the gestation length. They lived indoors in decent sized hutches. It's cheap meat to rear yourselves, but I never want to eat rabbit again.......:confused:

Frisbee

I had to post so I could see your location, I think rabbit is expensive meat in France isn't it?
 

jean 

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just put the buck in with the doe and hey presto it happens..........
Yeah, even in France that should work:)

It is expensive, but my wife has SO many good recipes. How would you keep a wooden cage hygenic for them ?
 
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How would you keep a wooden cage hygenic for them ?
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.

Of course if you have the space then they could live a more outdoors life, with moveable pens with a covered house and run. That would involve moving regualrly but would have the advantage of the rabbits grazing the grass and less cleaning out.

Are you up for killing them? Skinning and dressing is easy.

Frisbee
 

jean 

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Thanks Frisbee, that was very helpful. No, I'm not up to killing them. Even taking the dead sheep to the dead sheep dump upsets me:( But a local countryman has promised to do it for me. I suppose that means one rabbit less each time. 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................
 

Brosville 

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I believe rabbits were first brought to the UK by the Romans, who kept them in warrens, from which all our now "native" rabbits came......
Why bother "farming" them? - most farmers are plagued by them, and are pleased to allow someone responsible to shoot/ferret them - that way you've got no feeding/housing costs :)
 
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No, I'm not up to killing them. Even taking the dead sheep to the dead sheep dump upsets me:(
Oh dear. How will you be preparing them then or will the local countryman do that too?


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................
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 local countryman may well take one each time, but you will still have plenty.

Frisbee
 

jean 

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No, he won't prepare them. I consider that's the cook's job, and I can't cook
.Do the females need any special feed when they're pregnant? Or when they're giving milk ?

Brosville, I have neither a gun, nor a hunting licence, nor good enough eyesight. And there aint no rabbits round here, only hares.
 
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No, he won't prepare them. I consider that's the cook's job, and I can't cook
what an excellent cop out :rofl:
Do the females need any special feed when they're pregnant? Or when they're giving milk ?
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.

Frisbee
 

jean 

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Thinking back and knowing me I would probably have fed them on a coarse goat mix (we had goats at the time)
Frisbee
That is good- we have goats too-probably find them in the rabbit hutches:(
Frisbee, you have been very helpful. I now should be able to go ahead with sorting it out. Thanks very much for your time & trouble
Regards.

John Seymour. That takes me back. I had hair then.
 
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