Rabbit breeding is one of the most popular areas in the agricultural business. Both large enterprises, small farms and just individual residents are engaged in it. The rabbit herd can be found in any rural yard. Recently, even urban residents, who have a plot not far from their home, have begun to breed rabbits. This article will become a detailed instruction on breeding rabbits at home for beginners and for those who wish to replenish or refresh their existing knowledge.
First you need to decide for what purpose you are buying rabbits. If you decide to raise animals for meat, then you should choose among some breeds, but if you are guided only by obtaining high-quality skin, then other breeds should be considered.
Often, novice rabbit breeders buy eared meat-skin breed. Please note that it is still better to buy a beef breed initially, since it is easier to care for them, they are absolutely unpretentious and at the same time give excellent results.
Remember that if you are a beginner, then it is not worth purchasing exotic breeds. Without certain experience, conditions of detention and food, most likely the animals will not survive with you.
It is best to opt for purebred local breeds. It will cost several times less, and the hassle will be less. After a short time, you will be convinced of the correctness of your choice.
When buying, be sure to pay attention to the appearance of the animals, they should be mobile, moderately well-fed, downed, with powerful legs, shiny eyes and silky hair.
You should not save and take a few defective rabbits with a disproportionate body: a long head, a sagging back, crooked paws or a receding hairline. It is absolutely impossible to breed such animals, otherwise you will get sick offspring.
Before buying a herd of rabbits, you need to take care of housing for them in advance. Animals can be kept in cages, enclosures or pits. Each home has its own pros and cons, so you should choose only at your own discretion.
During the summer months, rabbits are best kept in cages outdoors. It is best to give your preference to two-story cells. Please note that it is not worth making housing from chipboard, as it picks up moisture very quickly and after a short time begins to crumble. The corners of the wooden cage must be trimmed with metal inserts, otherwise your pets will simply gnaw them. Walls and ceilings are also best made of wood. The floor must be double, the bottom layer is made of wood, and the top must be made of lattice. But make sure that the legs of the eared ears do not fall into the mesh of the lattice. The double bottom has the advantage of not having to disassemble the entire cage to clean the floor, just pull out the bottom of the floor and wash it.
With cage keeping, you have the ability to regulate the amount of food eaten, and the likelihood of unauthorized mating among animals is completely eliminated.
Rabbits have weak immunity and since they rarely come into contact with each other when kept in cells, the appearance of an epidemic is almost impossible. It has been noticed that in rabbits that were kept in cages, the meat is much more tender and tastier.
Remember that the cage should be spacious, the minimum size is 70 * 50 * 150 cm. This size is suitable for a female with cubs or for two individuals. Remember that the size of the home is very important, and if the animal does not feel comfortable in it, then you can forget about good results and high productivity.
Recently, more and more fans of aviary, that is, free content, have appeared. From the economic point of view, it looks more profitable, since you do not need to spend money on a cage and equipment for it, you just need to build an aviary. They also believe that this is the most natural way.
Among the advantages of this breeding method is the ability of animals to move freely and a lot, which has a positive effect on their health. When kept in an open-air cage, the behavior of rabbits is calmer and aggression disappears. The offspring grows stronger and more resilient.
Also, if you feed the animals correctly, they will reach puberty faster than their caged counterparts.
Farmers prefer this type of rabbit keeping because of the ease of care. The aviary is cleaned several times less often than in the cages. And you can feed and drink everyone at the same time.
Among the disadvantages is the complete loss of control over the behavior of the animal. In case of infection of one eared, most likely everyone will get sick. It is also almost impossible to carry out breeding work. It has been noticed that if rabbits are kept in an aviary for a long time, they will become smaller, and then completely die out.
A properly formulated diet is essential to the health of your rabbits. The feed must be balanced and contain all the necessary nutrients and minerals. Since they themselves are very active, they also have a fast metabolism, therefore they are very gluttonous.
In summer, it is best to give them green food, they contain the right amount of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, are easy to digest, and they also have enough vitamins. It is very beneficial to add fresh herbs to the diet, such as alfalfa, corn, sunflowers, oats, millet, and other grasses.
With great pleasure, rabbits eat nettle, burdock, quinoa, as well as various tops. At night, it is best to give hay to the eared ears instead of fresh grass.
It is very important to diversify the diet of animals and not to feed the same from day to day. Since this will soon lead to a loss of appetite.
In winter, hay flour and hay should be the basis of the diet. They are rich in protein and vitamins. Also remember to add haylage to your food.
Novice rabbit breeders often ask the question of how often animals can be mated, and at what age it is possible to breed. By the fourth month of life, the rabbits are already fully ripe, but experts recommend not to rush to mating. Wait until they are fully strengthened and gain the desired body weight.
Bunnies should be mated immediately after birth. Please note that immediately after giving birth, the female is already ready for the next fertilization. Still, it’s better to give them rest, otherwise you will greatly undermine their health.
In general, mating is recommended no more than four times a year. In this case, you will get high-quality and healthy offspring.
The duration of pregnancy in the rabbit is short, about a month. During this period, it must be transferred to a different diet and all heavy proteins removed from it. It is also best to plant her in a separate cage, where no one will disturb her. After the birth of the babies, it is worth observing the attention of the young mother, and if she does not look after the offspring – to plant and take all her responsibilities upon herself.