Breeding rabbits is a great way to provide the family with delicious and nutritious dietary meat, and also to earn skins for furrier enterprises. Breed rabbits and for sale, but such a business is risky and will require the rabbit's knowledge, experience, time and financial costs.
Therefore, if you are just starting or are about to start a rabbit, detailed instructions for caring for rabbits will help grow large and healthy furry pets, avoid common mistakes and disappointment.
Table of contents
- How to distinguish a rabbit from a rabbit?
- How to properly care for rabbits at home?
- How to choose and arrange a cage for the maintenance and care of rabbits in the apartment?
- Feeding trough and drinking bowl, mother liquor
- Feeding pets
- Diseases and their prevention
How to distinguish a rabbit from a rabbit?
Let's start with the question of how to distinguish a rabbit from a rabbit. The domestic rabbit is a subspecies of its European wild brother, adapted to live next to a human being. A dwarf rabbit is separately distinguished, its weight does not exceed 1 kg.
The nearest relative of the rabbit is a hare.
So, the difference between a hare and a rabbit is possible according to the following visual signs:
- To size.The weight of mature rabbits is up to 11 kg (the hare-hare common in Russia rarely weighs more than 7 kg);
- By the length of the ears.Rabbit ears are shorter (up to 10 cm) and wider than the hare (7-15 cm);
- By color.The color spectrum of rabbits differs in their variety (brown, gray, dark yellow), and the color as a whole tends to uniformity even in the presence of spots. Color hare is not catchy, often spotty, whose task is disguise under the color of the terrain;
- The muzzle of a rabbit is wider and larger than a harecomparable sizes.
How to properly care for rabbits at home?
From other domestic animals rabbit has an exceptional need for proper and careful care, which often prevents its mass breeding.
Care for rabbits includes:
- Rational accommodation: one rabbit needs from, up to 1 m2 of free space;
- Separate content of females and males, young animals up to 3 months and adult animals. Pets with the slightest signs of the disease should be immediately isolated from healthy animals;
- Maintenance of cleanliness, which involves daily cleaning in cages, changing litter as contamination, disinfection of cells and equipment at least 2-3 times a month and with the movement of animals. For disinfection, boiling water or a one-percent formalin solution is used;
- Ensuring the full andvaried food, water;
- Ventilation of cells and paddockin the warm season. In the presence of rabbitry, it is advisable to exercise for year-round;
- Dailyexamination of rabbits,disease prevention and vaccination.
How to choose and arrange a cage for the maintenance and care of rabbits in the apartment?
Experienced rabbit breeders make the cells themselves, which requires:
- Metal grid;
- Sheets of plywood;
- Wooden boards and slats.
There are no standards with respect to cell size,However, the optimal cell is in the form of a parallelepiped with approximate parameters of 40 × 70 × 60 cm, which makes up enough space for a couple of rabbits, makes it easy to clean and disinfect cell.
The walls and floor of the cage are made of metal mesh or wooden slats. When using rails between them there should be clearances within 1 cm for the convenience of cleaning and ventilation. The rabbit's door is made of mesh and should be facing the sunny side.
A litter is necessary in the cage. To make use of any improvised materials:
- Straw or hay;
- Needle branches, etc.
If several cells are planned, it is best to equip the rabbit.It is a closed building where cells are placed in several tiers. A log-built well-insulated rabbit is necessary for localities where the temperature in winter falls below -10 degrees.
The roof and outer walls of the marginal cells of the rabbit are made deaf, preventing penetration of air and moisture. If necessary, the walls can be additionally insulated with straw and other improvised materials.The roof of the rabbit is warmed, covered with tar plates or slate.This allows you to save rabbits from dampness, drafts, and in the winter from severe frosts.
It is worth thinking about the rational location of the rabbitry on the site. It is best to turn its front side to the southeast. This will create a warm and comfortable environment for animals and protect from direct sunlight. The space next to the rabbit's facade is enclosed and a place is created for free walking of rabbits.
Feeding trough and drinking bowl, mother liquor
In the cage for rabbits should be a feeder and a drinking bowl. For the production of household items are used. The main thing is that they are permanently fixed and do not give the opportunity to climb in them with their paws. The feeder and the drinking bowl are simple and semi-automatic.Semi-automatic drinking bowl is arranged as follows:
- It will take two flat cans of canned food of different diameters, as well as a plastic bottle with a capacity of 1 liter;
- A smaller tin can be fixed inside the center of a larger can, limiting the ability of the rabbit to spill water or climb the paddle with paws;
- The neck of the bottle is placed in a can of a larger size, and the bottle itself tilts so that as the water disappears from the can, it will fill itself.
Semiautomatic feeder for loose dry food can be made similarly.
For the rabbit breeder planning breeding of animals, it will be necessary to equip a special device in the cage that simulates a burrow - a mother plant.Since rabbits live and reproduce in a natural environment in burrows, they also need a similar design in captivity, which you can do yourself.
For this, a wooden box with approximate parameters 30 × 40 × 40, made of boards or plywood, is used. In one of the walls of the box a round hole with a diameter of 15 cm is necessary. And the lid of the box should open freely. At the bottom of the mother liquor is placed litter of shavings or sawdust..
The rabbit, preparing for maternity, is placed in a cage with a mother liquor, where the rabbits will spend the first month of their lives. Equip the drinking bowl and feeder in the mother liquor is not necessary, but to maintain cleanliness and conduct regular cleaning should be..
Feeding rabbits in an apartment will not cause trouble for a beginner rabbit breeder, the main thing to remember is that rabbits are almost omnivorous and eat a lot. The exact calculation of the requirement for feed is determined by experiment and depends on the weight of the animal.If you need to stock up for a year, 1 adult rabbit will need 300-500 kg of products, 2/3 of which is grass or hay.
The summer diet of rabbits differs from winter feeding by caloric content, the composition of feed, the presence of vitamins.
In the summer, rabbits are suitable:
- Mixed grass, especially dandelion, clover, mother-and-stepmother, alfalfa, rape, plantain, nettle. Herbs are given dry, and even better slightly wilted to improve digestion;
- Leaves of grapes, strawberries, raspberries, currants, lettuce and other shrubs and trees growing in the garden;
- Root crops (potatoes, beets, celery, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, etc.). Tubers should be clean, without soil, both raw and boiled;
- Some fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, cabbage, zucchini, etc.);
- Dry forage: cereals and legumes, mixed fodder.
In winter, the grass is replaced with hay, straw, silage.The winter diet should contain more dry and nutritious feeds, rather than in the summer. As a variety for rabbits are suitable food remains from the table (except for meat dishes and bones).
To provide vitamins in winter rabbits need needles. Spruce and pine branches are the best way to add vitamin C.
In the all-the-year-round diet, it is required to add chalk, in the calculation of 1-2 grams of salt, -1 g per day.
Feeding young animals requires additional attention, taking into account still weak digestion.Therefore, only tender grasses and root crops are suitable for young rabbits.Especially useful for rabbits are pumpkin and zucchini, Jerusalem artichoke, boiled potatoes. But from giving solid food (hay, straw, grain) it is worth to refrain.
The diet of pregnant and nursing rabbits needs to be increased and the variety is increased due to nutritious products: cereals, legumes, bran, mixed fodder, root crops.
From the diet of herbs should be deleted:
- Wolf's berries;
- Hemlock and a number of other poisonous grasses.
Diseases and their prevention
As in humans, rabbit diseases are usually divided into viral and non-viral. Most often rabbits are prone to digestive disorders and respiratory diseases.
Colds, inflammation of the mucous respiratory tracts are the result of the action of cold, dampness, drafts, crowding. Diagnosis of such diseases can be in the presence of sneeze, discharge from the nose, redness of the mucous membrane of the mouth, general weakness.
Digestive disorders are caused by improper feeding of animals.Signs of such diseases: discharge, covered with mucus, containing blood, diarrhea, etc.
The best way to prevent the development of these diseases is proper feeding, care, protection of animals from harmful weather effects.
Veterinary medicine also knows more than 30 viral diseases, which are subject to rabbits. Among the most dangerous are:
- Salmonellosis, expressed in viral defeat of the intestine. Symptoms: high fever, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea. The meat of diseased rabbits in food is forbidden to use, and carcasses of rabbits are subject to cremation;
- Spirochetosis, affecting the genitalia of rabbits. Symptoms: puffiness, redness, bleeding, ulcers on the genitals;
- Colibacteriosis- intestinal infection that affects rabbits in violation of the rules of content and communication with sick animals. The main symptom is diarrhea;
Mixomatosis is spread extremely fast and as widely as possible, the incubation period of the disease does not exceed 2 weeks. Virtually all the diseased animals die. Signs of myxomatosis - the presence of tumors near the head and genitals.
Sources of infection can be ticks, mosquitoes, fleas. Also, the virus is transmitted from the sick animal to a healthy airborne droplet. The diseased animal must be immediately isolated. Also animals that could contact a sick individual are isolated. For humans, myxomatosis does not pose a threat.
Symptoms of necrotizing hepatitis are almost impossible to notice because of the lightning spread of the infection.The disease lasts for 1-3 days. The main causes of infection are interactions with sick animals. Necrotic hepatitis causes great damage to the household, as all the diseased rabbits are killed.
As the prevention of viral diseases, separate animals are used, and again acquired rabbits are placed in a separate quarantine room, the duration of which can be to reach 3 months.
The fight against myxomatosis and necrotic hepatitis is conducted with the help of an inexpensive and effective procedure - vaccination.Only healthy animals need to be vaccinated, starting from the age of 45 days.In practice, both separate vaccines for VLBC and myxomatosis are known, as well as a combined variant.
The maintenance and care of long-eared pets involves a lot of subtleties, which are difficult to reflect in the article. Therefore, if you seriously think about business on the sale of young animals, meat or skins, it is worth To pay attention to the profile literature, whose authors will give exhaustive answers to the arisen questions. We wish you success in such a difficult business as rabbit breeding!
And finally, we offer a small video on how to care for and contain rabbits:.