Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone I found this forum during my research for answers. I am mostly looking for advice on food and any tips you might have for a newbie.

Currently I am looking to buy 2 bucks and 4 does and a 50/50 blend of pure Californians and New Zealands. I will crossbreed for hybrid vigor and with luck get some tasty little 8 week kits. I have a 4x4 pvc cage setup with room to grow should they work out.

My biggest problem is food for the doe and buck but also for the kits. I was told the kits would ween around 6 weeks. The other question is pellets and which are best, also the question is how long will the pellets last? I see a year of problems coming soon and I will stock up on feed before it happens.

I would really appreciate some detailed links but id love any advice possible to help me get this right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
I'm no rabbit expert, but I've heard that rabbits have an extremely small "home territory", and if you could fashion an inclosure that would keep predators out (remember the top too, for hawks and owls) you could sort of free range them like chickens. let them eat grass and move the cage around periodically. again, I've never tried it, but it seems like it would be like putting any other livestock to pasture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,613 Posts
Might consider Florida Whites. Its a smaller rabbit but due to its smaller bone structure produces about the same amount of meat when fleshed out weight wise than New Zealands. Smaller rabbit equals less feed for roughly the same amount of meat, smaller cages and a more compact operation. Just a thought worthy of possible consideration...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,124 Posts
If you're going to crossbreed, use Californian bucks and NZ does. The Cali's are more muscular and compact, while the NZ's are better milkers. When we had our commercial rabbitry, the Californian bucks over the NZ does always gave us the best litters.

You don't need a different feed for the mature rabbits and the kits. The kits will start to eat from the doe's feeder before you wean them, and you can just continue to feed them that feed after weaning.

There are several ways to store feed that have been discussed on here and other forums. Do a search, and I'm sure you can find tons of info.

One neat trick I saw someone mention (don't remember if it was on here or another forum) was a candle in the top of the feed drum. He uses a drum with a seal in the lid so that it is airtight. He then puts aluminum foil on the underside of the lid so the candle won't burn through, sticks a candle in the top of the feed, lights it, and reseals the lid. When the candle burns all the oxygen out of the drum it goes out. Each time he has to open the drum, he relights the candle.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,290 Posts
I have been interested in raising meat rabbits for a while now and I have a question. Why can't they be raised fenced in on the ground?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,124 Posts
I have been interested in raising meat rabbits for a while now and I have a question. Why can't they be raised fenced in on the ground?
They can be.

You'll probably have a little more of a problem with parasites, but it can be done. You have to make sure your pen is built so that they can't dig out from under it, and the does will dig their own burrows in which to kindle, so you probably won't see the kits until they start coming out of the burrow.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,290 Posts
They can be.

You'll probably have a little more of a problem with parasites, but it can be done. You have to make sure your pen is built so that they can't dig out from under it, and the does will dig their own burrows in which to kindle, so you probably won't see the kits until they start coming out of the burrow.
Thanks. I keep having this idea about free range rabbits, didn't know if it was silly or could be done. I figured the fence would have to be burrow proof. Another question would be catching and separating the buck when need be.
 

·
Ghost
Joined
·
104 Posts
The kits can eat pellets soon as they ween. As far a how much they eat I couldn't tell you but if you are planning on raising litters I would definitely buy in bulk. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
772 Posts
If you're serious, then seriously research.

Spring for the book, "Storey's book of Raising Rabbits" and don't rely on posts on a site like this. Go to Amazon. You will lose time money and rabbits if you don't study the subject. In fact even if you do study you will still lose some rabbits and misdirect some of your money because there is no substitute for the experience but you will save yourself a lot of headache if you do study the subject SERIOUSLY.

I've been raising rabbits for three years and have about 70 or so and our usual summer peak is about 100. We impregnate a doe every week so at 12 weeks we have a litter to process.

You need to have more cages than one if I read your post right. Good pick on the breeds. A mix between two kinds of rabbits is not a hybrid. Babies starting eating feed way before they're weaned. Weaning should be at 8 weeks not 6 since you are saving money in feed the longer they nurse and putting more size on them.

Rabbits need 16 percent PROTEIN feed at least. I sometimes use 18 and presently with prices on all feeds going up a bit the price has been the same so I'm opting for the 18% as long as the price is the same.

Each doe needs her own cage and the bucks need their own cages. The side walls (cage walls) should be no bigger than 2" by 2" or you will have babies fall out. I use 1" by 2". The mesh on the floor should be 1/2" by 1" unless you really like cleaning out the poop in the corners of the more common 1/2" by 1/2" floors.

Best cage material supplier I've found is here.

They need a piece of plywood on the floors. They do end up getting poopy so you should have a couple at least for each cage so you can rotate in the clean boards. This protects the pads on their feet as all cage floor mesh will mess up their feet in time. Can kill the rabbit since they will waste away and poop all over themselves because it hurts to much to move around.

We use "14 guage, galvanized after" metal cage material for everything now. If you use less it will break down. The best we could come up with was 16 guage locally so that's all I originally used but then found these guys and have real solid cages.

It cost me $300 to make six cages 2' by 4' but they will last for years. I made the bottoms and the roof with the 1/2" by 1" so down the road I can turn the cages upside down since there is no wear on the "roof" side of the cage.

Prior to that I was making cages from fencing materials and they all need to be replaced. Chicken wire will not last long either. Don't waste your time on that.

Rabbits like a piece of hardwood, alder, maple, apple, etc... to chew on to keep their teeth shorter.

Another thing, at eight weeks they're not very big. Though I kill rabbits, chickens and goats, I hate killing but turn on the ol' farmer switch and get to the business of doing it. At eight weeks they were still too much like babies to me. We do them at 12 to 14 weeks. They put on a lot of size by then.

One of the things the rabbit book DID NOT MENTION was how young CAN THEY BREED. Sure, optimum ages were mentioned (six to 8 months depending on size of breed, larger rabbits = older at time of breeding). They can start getting pregnant at around 15-16 weeks. This can cause inbred babies to be born on the bottom of the cage and die as what happened to us ONCE. We didn't know that if you see a doe carrying hay in their mouth it means she's about to have babies. VERY IMPORTANT sign to look for. Use a calender. We've had many many litters and EACH ONE has ALWAYS arrived on the 31st day with no exceptions.

Caging them in an outdoor fence (with no cage) will not work since they will dig. I suppose if you had a temporary holding area to let them come out and frolic and you were going to be right there that would be cool but they can't LIVE THERE.

My superior skill in catching rabbits goes hand in hand with my earlier lack of skill in building and maintaining cages. We've now have it together but are still learning.

I don't believe in wooden cages and all of ours are 100% wire and suspended in a barn. If you do opt for plastic I suspect they will eventually chew it up. I use re-bar on the bottoms of the cage for reinforcement in an "H" pattern and have two of the re-bar pieces stick out about six inches to attach the wire suspending the cages to. Although subtle and slight the flexation of a cage will eventually cause it to break down so the more rigid it's construction the longer it will last.

At some point you'll need to use a propane torch since hay, poop and hair makes a very tough to remove mess, usually in just one corner of the cages. After we pressure wash the cages we let it dry and then gently torch it. Too much will fry off the zinc in the galvanized coating. A dedicated wisk broom and an ice scraper used frequently will keep things better longer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,124 Posts
Spring for the book, "Storey's book of Raising Rabbits" and don't rely on posts on a site like this.
And then you proceed to leave the longest post of the thread 'on a site like this'. :rolleyes:

I agree that everyone needs to read and study any subject that they're interested in, but there is actually a lot of knowledge among the people on 'a site like this'. I had a 120-doe commercial operation for years, so I do know a little about raising rabbits. And more often than not, you can get answers on 'a site like this' that you won't find in books.

I've also learned one very important lesson in over 40 years of raising many different types of livestock. There is no ONE way to do anything. I may find a way that works very well for me, and someone else may find a completely different way that works equally well or better for them. It doesn't make either one of us wrong, just different.

For me to think that everyone had to do it my way would be very arrogant on my part.
 

·
Tell the truth, coward.
Joined
·
15,585 Posts
Wabbits only dig down to about a foot. If you have wire buried down to 2 ft below ground they'll stay inside the enclosure.




here's a linky - http://www.agrisellex.co.uk/rabbit-fencing-1878-0.html

otherwise you can do this.



the point of it is though - it's electric, but that angle is vital. it stops the rabbit from being able to get close enough to it to dig. if it comes up to the fence its ears get zapped. So you would need to angle it in.

having said this, wabbits eat a LOT and are not an efficient conversion of grain into food. in reality they're shocking. four rabbits to a sheep. how much meat do you get off a sheep?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,610 Posts
having said this, wabbits eat a LOT and are not an efficient conversion of grain into food. in reality they're shocking. four rabbits to a sheep. how much meat do you get off a sheep?
In the US though, a lot of places you can't have a sheep because of zoning but you can have a horde of rabbits.
 

·
Pleasantly demented woman
Joined
·
3,760 Posts
A cautionary tale to read if you want to raise your rabbits outdoors where they can dig out:

http://network.bestfriends.org/grou...ive/2006/03/01/1000-bunnies-and-counting.aspx

Just as a summary, Best Friends was called in on a rabbit rescue operation where a lady had been taking in bunnies and keeping them in her back yard, where they were allowed to live and breed as they wished. By the time Best Friends came in, the place was a labyrinth of burrows. It took months (over a year, actually, I think) to capture and remove them all because the remaining rabbits were actually breeding faster than the rescuers could capture them. It was insane.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,201 Posts
I'm no rabbit expert, but I've heard that rabbits have an extremely small "home territory", and if you could fashion an inclosure that would keep predators out (remember the top too, for hawks and owls) you could sort of free range them like chickens. let them eat grass and move the cage around periodically. again, I've never tried it, but it seems like it would be like putting any other livestock to pasture.
Polyface farms does this. They have chicken wire for the floor of the movable pen that allows rabbits to eat grass without digging out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
772 Posts
What you failed to realize...I guess

And then you proceed to leave the longest post of the thread 'on a site like this'. :rolleyes:

I agree that everyone needs to read and study any subject that they're interested in, but there is actually a lot of knowledge among the people on 'a site like this'. I had a 120-doe commercial operation for years, so I do know a little about raising rabbits. And more often than not, you can get answers on 'a site like this' that you won't find in books.

I've also learned one very important lesson in over 40 years of raising many different types of livestock. There is no ONE way to do anything. I may find a way that works very well for me, and someone else may find a completely different way that works equally well or better for them. It doesn't make either one of us wrong, just different.

For me to think that everyone had to do it my way would be very arrogant on my part.
IF you'll go back to the opening post, you'll note that this person mentioned having (or soon acquiring) six rabbits and a 4 x 4 cage.

The book I mentioned would take at least a week to arrive.

None of the posts, until mine, went into much detail so I wanted to at least hope (even if it just made me feel better) that this person wouldn't consider putting six rabbits into a cage. The mesh size is pretty critical and so were a number of other things I mentioned.

Of course there is good information on this site and a lot of crappy information as well. But an investment of the time and money as well as the safekeeping and health of such an enterprise as raising meat rabbits needs some SERIOUS STUDY from hopefully people who have a real clue about rabbits and not from somebody whose Aunt Matilda had some rabbits.

I've seen a lot of serious mistakes made and it's usually due to a lack of information. "A site like this" is not a put-down but was a notation that this site is not a rabbit specialty site but rather a prepper site with a huge variation in contributor experience or knowledge.

Nothing to do with egos in "doing it my way" but for sure, putting six rabbits into a 4x4 (pvc?) cage or taking advise from a later poster about putting them in an open pen in the yard had me concerned enough to share some pretty good information. But get the book and seriously study.

So tyusclan, you had excellent information to add and I love the idea about the candle...sounds good for a lot of food storage... and the mention of the breeds was good for me to learn but anyway, the thought of six rabbits into a possible 4x4 cage, which may not have been the op's intent, but I couldn't tell by reading his post that it was not, sent me off on my maybe too long post, out of concern only. My wife told me that my delivery sucks on the part "a site like this" as well as your likely taking offence to that. Didn't mean it that way really. Having a hundred does is a huge experience, wow.

Just the day before reading this post, a friend from work was going to actually use chicken wire....for the bottoms of his rabbit cages. Because it was cheap. Yikes!. He ordered some material from the above site I mentioned just yesterday thank goodness. So no offense or ego intended I promise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
My parents (who once had over 100 breeding meat rabbits) have always let the rabbits have a wooden nest box but up here in Canada winter protection is a must. A 2ft by 3ft wooden box attached to the wire cages that were much like the ones posted by boomerscaboose that were about 4ft by 3ft and nailed together. Cleaning is more work but the nest box can be filled with hay that many of the rabbits will eat as a supplement to the pellets as well as insulation in the harsh winter and a place for the does to have her babies.
To cut down on the cost of feeding that many rabbits pellets alone my parents would scope out places where clover or dandylons would grow abundently and not get sprayed with herbicide. Then they would grab all the kids old enough at the time and get them out picking rabbit food and stuffing it into the empty rabbit pellet bags. The extra bags of feed would last a day or so in a cool building and the rabbits would get a bit of variation to the pellets. (Word of caution watch out for glass ect when picking since you can get cut)
When we had less rabbits we would make a fryer pen that was made of wire with a wooden top (for shade) that was about 4ft by 4 ft. The bottom had a large mesh wire like chicken wire and we would move that pen full of rabbits from spot to spot so they could eat greens as a supplement to all the pellets they wanted.
If you put two bucks together you will have fights. And sometimes if you put two unrealated females together they will fight so we always had one pen for each litter or put them together when they were about a handful in size.
Just as a note we had given to us a couple of angora rabbits and when we butchered one we found that for a smaller rabbit they were very fine boned and heavily muscled. If the dogs hadn't killed our rabbits we wanted to breed them into our families meat strain.
Good luck and getting a book or doing much reserch is a good idea.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top