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rabbits

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Not sure it's "normal"... but this time of year does seem to present "issues" with breeding. I guess Mother Nature really is trying to tell us something. Plus the doe is fairly young -- I talked to the breeder and mentioned that if possible I'd like to get one that was bred so I could be up and running faster ... I'm not sure she should have been bred already given her size. I will rebreed her... jsut not sure it will be soon. She kindled on day 28... so not terribly early, just earlier than I was ready for. I was going to give her a nestbox that day but went out and she had already started having them.

    I've heard of raspberry leaves. Have to keep that in mind. And all the rabbits are getting alfalfa mix hay on a daily basis. I know with the complete pellets they don't "need" it, but I like giving it and they like eating. Figure it gives them something "normal" to do, ya know?

    Tried a goat milk/egg yolk/honey mix on the kits last night and this morning. About noon they'll be 48 hours old and really do need something. They didn't drink overly well, but I think I got something into them. I'm hoping my broken doe kindles in the next few days and I can foster them onto her. she's an experienced mom (the only one I have) so here's hoping. So far, all 4 are still wiggling around.

    Sportpony... are you on Rabbit Talk?
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

    Comment


    • #22
      I'm sorry to hear that things aren't going well...It is very difficult to save rabbits via handfeeding. Everytime we've ever tried, we've lost them. Typically if we have a doe that isn't taking care of the babies we give the babies to another doe with babies. It doesn't sound like you have that option though.
      Good luck and don't be discouraged if your first litter doesn't go quite as planned.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Yeah... it's frustrating and hard. I talked to a breeder with lots of experience on the phone last night. He's the one I got my whites from and has been VERY helpful. He said he usually doesn't bother and let's nature take it's course but understands with this being my first litter than I have to do something. it's true. In another year, I might not go to this bother... but right now... I have to try. Especially since I may have a foster situation available by the end of of the week. Worth a shot.

        Is it spring yet?
        ************
        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

        Comment


        • #24
          ask aventura2 she breed rabbits and a lot of them

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by tle View Post
            google's all nice and well, but I'm going on 3 different rabbit lists with advice from breeders who've been at this for several years... some as much as 40 years. I just thought that someone on here might have more ideas.

            If the doe has the kits on the wire and not in a nestbox, in fact makes no attempt whatsoever to make a nest, then it's not like you can't handle them. if you don't, they will die. Same with when it's cold out. Rabbits only feed once or twice/day... so taking the nestbox away from momma (who's out in the cold) and bringing them back to her for a couple feedings per day until of course they're furred and able to fend for themselves IS a good thing.
            We raised and showed Standard Rex for years, (and my mom still does.) Some breeders DO take the box of kits into the house, and only take them out for feeding. They do this because it's true that does have VERY potent milk and only feed the kits about two times a day. Some does don't want to be in the same cage with the babies all day. In the wild, does would never hang out in the birthing wing of the den 24 hours a day with her babies. She would be out foraging for food, socializing, napping in other areas of the den, etc. We never took our does away from kits, but some people do it.

            Rabbits don't have the sense of smell that many animals do, and handling the babies makes no difference whatsoever. We always pulled out every one of the kits, checked them for problems, took photos, etc. Never had a doe quit the litter. We had 75 holes (cages) with breeding stock, and well over 200 rabbits in the height of our breeding and showing hoorah.

            Often first time does don't pull fur. Many breeders always consider the first litter of a maiden doe to be a sacrifice. We had pretty good luck, but ocassionally a doe doesn't pull fur, and doesn't nest, but has them on the wire.

            That's the "joy" of raising a prey animal that literally "breeds like rabbits." As much as people hate it, rabbits truly are disposable. Nature has designed them to be able to pump out babies every few months, in large quantity. And with that comes the fact that many of them die. It is what it is.

            We tried lots of different things on weak kits that weren't sucking, especially if they were of a really rare color variety, but truthfully, the only way to raise babies that aren't getting enough milk is to put them on another does that does have enough milk. We never bred so that only one doe would kindle at a time. We always timed it so we had at least 5 or 6 kindling at once. That way if you have a doe that has 11 kits, you can pull off a few of them and put them with a different doe who only had 3 or 4 of her own. Otherwise you lose kits. And when you're selling them for $150 each as junior show stock, you try to make sure you don't lose them!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #26
              Well, unfortunately starting out, timing kindle dates wasn't available.. plus with only have 3 breeding age does anyway... well... I did what I could. I'm not 100% convinced the broken doe is pregnant but I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt - especially since I don't have a breedable buck yet.

              As for the current litter... unfortunately, the last one died this morning. Here's hoping the doe has figured out what she's supposed to be doing for the next one though. Raising meat rabbits (showing is 2ndary although this doe already has a BOV win with a leg on her) she has to pull her weight or I'll replace her even if she is nice.
              ************
              "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

              "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

              Comment


              • #27
                We culled lots of buns with legs on them because they couldn't breed, or wouldn't raise the kits. GC legs are only as good as the kits you can produce and sell as a result. Sure, there's the personal satisfaction of it, but I agree with you, that if they don't do what you need them to do, you can't always keep them.

                In our experience, most does that have the first litter on the wire go on to have other litters and raise them without any problem. The problem does that we would get rid of were the ones who were so spastic they would jump in and out of the box and crush kits. There's too much heartache in that to keep breeding those does back again.

                Oh, you mentioned your kids getting into Mini Rex. If they plan on showing, look out! Mini Rex and Netherland Dwarfs have the biggest class sizes of all and the competition is fierce. If they like Rex fur, they might find the Starndard Rex to be more rewarding on the show table. But - of course, you live in the Midwest so you'll probably have the Roloff rabbits to compete with, and my mom's line. But its still easier than the Mini Rex, where one breeder will turn up at a show with 30 rabbits to put on the table. The Midwest is THE area for Rex and Mini Rex.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Thanks for the advice. Nice to hear that others are in the same mindset.

                  Yeah, I've noticed a LOT of MR in the area... that NZ, ND and Holland Lops seem to be REALLY popular. My only real criteria for the kids is that we get something small so I can only relinquish 1 cage if they both want a rabbit pet (I only have 14 cages to start with right now so it's kind of at a premium). I guess I'm guilty of pointing her at the MRs because I enjoyed my rex when I was in 4H... but I'm pretty open to whatever she wants (although IMHO Polish look funny!). We have a culled Mini Satin at the kennel right now that is adorable. My plan actually is to take her to a show and let her pick what she wants.
                  ************
                  "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                  "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Wow, I never thought I would be reading about rabbits on COTH. I used to raise and show rabbits with my dad and through 4H. I joined 4H for the horses but then my sister got a pet rabbit and it peed on her so she gave it to me! It was a Mini Lop named Muffin. We also raised Mini Rex and Netherland Dwarves. I was quite successful at the shows if I do say so myself! Now when I tell people I used to show rabbits they look at me like I am crazy! I just tell them you can show anything! (saw a PBS special on people who raised and showed ferrets!) Good to know I am not alone.
                    Sometimes we would have does have the babies on the wire (even though they had a nestbox) but it was too late to save them. We never had to hand raise any. We did have one doe that tried to pull one of her babies out and in the process removed one of its front legs. That baby turned out to be the most beautiful Mini Rex that we named Trihop! She got to live in the house with us b/c she was special and lived a long time for a rabbit (about 13 years). Good luck and let us know how the baby bunnies are doing!!

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I'm sorry, this whole discussion about struggling to raise rabbits in order to butcher them and eat them later is grossing me out. I have two, they are well fed and happy pets and always will be.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Originally posted by TB Fan View Post
                        I'm sorry, this whole discussion about struggling to raise rabbits in order to butcher them and eat them later is grossing me out. I have two, they are well fed and happy pets and always will be.
                        Then by all means, don't read it. Go be with your well fed and happy pets -- I certainly begrudge you NOTHING in keeping rabbits as pets (we'll soon have 2 as teh kids want them). But don't destroy a great discussion simply because you have a problem with it. Thanks.

                        Nothing from the Broken doe yet. I still have my doubts I'll get anything from her. Contemplating buying a very nice black buck. Hmmm.... have to think on that one. That said I think I found a "home" for the 3 netherland dwarf culls we ended up not processing. YAY!!
                        ************
                        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by TB Fan View Post
                          I'm sorry, this whole discussion about struggling to raise rabbits in order to butcher them and eat them later is grossing me out. I have two, they are well fed and happy pets and always will be.
                          Rabbits are more sustainable than say, cows and chickens. And rabbit meat is leaner and healthier. I'd rather see people raising hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organically-fed, ethically-kept rabbits at home than buying commercially-farmed meat in the shops or restaurants.

                          I'm quite certain that tle's rabbits are also 'well-fed' and 'happy', even according to your criteria.

                          I also have two pet rabbits -- a Rex and a regular ol' rabbit, both from rescues -- but come from a culture where it's not 'gross' to eat bunnies.

                          tle, can we talk rabbit recipes? How are you preparing your meat?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Thanks JER. My buns ARE well fed (won't breed or be in good condition for shows or meat otherwise) and happy. :-) Heck they regularly get some apple as treats even! Just having a hard time getting kits (but from what several rabbit breeders on lists have been saying, this has been a hard winter for everyone).

                            Recipes? Don't have any good ones so far. I think we're going to end up doing quite a bit of jerky but I am looking forward to a good BBQ roast sometime soon. We have a 4# roaster in the freezer that we just need to work into the meal plan rotation soon... although he may be better as jerky since he was about 7 months (poor guy... was too small and his testicals never dropped -- so he couldn't be shown OR bred). but I'm happy to hear of good recipes if someone has them!
                            ************
                            "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                            "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Fun conversation.. I used to raise and show Holland Lops and Mini Lops .. French Lops for food.... My daughter currently has Dutch and we just got our first Lionhead.

                              Her show bunnies are off limits for the dinner table.. lol .. but I told her that when we get moved to our land (hopefully this spring) .. I'm going to start raising some for eating .. yum yum and very healthy..

                              We are just starting to breed our does this year (3 of them) ..

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I'm enjoying this discussion as well. I did not realize that some of you posters ate rabbit meat, much less raised them for that purpose.

                                What I mean is that you don't hear much about Americans eating a lot of rabbit and it is just plain delicious and lean and healthy meat. Never figured out why it just isn't really a common dish in the US. (regional/ethnic cuisine aside). I've got a great cookbook with rabbit recipes but never thought to raise them, just hunt them with my beagle. (she was turning into a somewhat decent rabbit hound)

                                I'll have to read up on it.

                                Those that are raising them - are you raising them for home use, for sale, or both?
                                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                -Rudyard Kipling

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Only home use here .. but I have a friend with a lot more rabbits and she gets calls from people looking for 2-4 lb frying size rabbits .. so she does get some outside business ..

                                  She sells them live though ..

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    We raise them to eat and sell. My favorite way to eat them is smoked. When I butcher a pig and smoke the hams I always hang a couple rabbits above the hans and let the rabbits smoke along with the hams. Yummy!!!!
                                    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      I wonder if she does that because the regulations are too expensive to comply with?
                                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                      -Rudyard Kipling

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        We still live within the city limits so we're really limited to size. I only have 14 cages and that includes the outdoor hutch the grandparents gave us (that will house the kid's pets when we get them). So most of what we're doing is for home use (us or the dogs), although I will be selling hides and stuff done with the hides when it warms up enough to tan... and have no problem selling either for meat or for show as I have some quality show rabbits (my Sr NZ White doe won her class at a recent ARBA sanctioned show!) When we move to the farm (2010) I hope to really expand the operation and do some serious business -- whether that's for show, for pet, or for the table (or puppy dish)... I'm ok with all of it.

                                        JSwan... if you come across a couple good recipes, please post them! :-)
                                        ************
                                        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                                        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I'm not sure she's concerned so much with that as the fact that if she kills and cleans it's going in her OWN fridge .. lol.

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