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Video: Rabbits For The Summer Are My Breeding Experience. How To Choose What To Feed, How To Walk. Photo
I love rabbits since childhood. My father bred them. Moreover, the main reason, as it seems to me, was not the receipt of meat and skins, but the possibility of building individual housing for each rabbit - just to work with the tree. Rabbit "high-rise buildings" were filled in the summer and were empty in the winter. For the winter, only one male and 2-3 females remained: with their fertility, it was enough to fill 30-40 individual "rooms" by summer. Over the summer in the Moscow region, the animals grew up to 3.5 (on average) kg and the father handed them over in live weight, leaving new males and females in the winter.
I started raising rabbits on my own in the summer while living in the Khabarovsk Territory. At the same time, the main task was, again, not getting meat and skins, but introducing the growing son to livestock. A cat and a dog do not count, they have incomparably more freedom and independence. That's about raising rabbits in the summer, and I'll tell you in this article.
- Where to begin?
- We acquire rabbits
- What to feed?
- Rabbit walks
Where to begin?
One has only to remember about Australia tortured by rabbits and it will immediately become clear that these animals are not so simple: they easily dig tunnels under any fence, gnaw holes in plywood partitions, and gnaw at thicker wooden structures. And in order not to drown in rabbit offspring, it is better to keep them separately.
We got the rabbit cages from the neighbors in the cottage, so there was no question of housing for the animals. It was a wooden house with high legs, divided into 3 compartments: a dwelling for a male and a two-room dwelling for a female. The nesting part with a blind door and a hole for the female is made in the partition. Cells can be made by ourselves - full Internet drawings.
But if we take, for example, several rabbits for growing for the summer, carrying cells from a metal mesh will be quite enough. Such a cage for 2 animals costs 2100-2500 rubles. You need to install carriers under a canopy or in a shed on some kind of support so that all rabbit waste pours down. A pallet is also desirable so that it is convenient to remove manure. The back part is nice to lean against the wall - rabbits feel so calmer. If under a canopy, protection from drafts is needed. But this is only for the summer, if there is a desire to leave the rabbits in the winter, the premises and cages are needed already more serious.
Each rabbit will need a food container and a drinking container. They chew plastic completely, so metal is better. Both the feeder and the drinker, if they are light and not secured, the rabbits will certainly turn over and drive around the entire cage. Whether there was food or water there or not, the rabbits are of little concern: apparently, wet and dirty bedding, according to their ideas, is the owner's problem. In fact, it turns out that way.
Each rabbit will also need bedding, which must be replaced 2 times a week. Hay is traditionally used as bedding. It is uncomfortable for them to sleep on a bare net, and they sometimes damage their paws on such a net.
Actually, enough for a start.
We acquire rabbits
There are quite a few breeds of rabbits, of very different purposes and appearance - from downy Angora, in which it is not easy to find the front and back, to continental giants, which grow up to 16 kilograms (on average!). But beginners do not need this exotic, they should try on strong, healthy, better "mongrels" or unpretentious white, gray giants, Californians, Soviet chinchillas.
It is better to buy rabbits from breeders, where you can see adult rabbits, ask about the features and choose rabbits. At 40 days, the rabbits are separated from their mother and they can already eat almost "adult" food. It is imperative to ask what the rabbit and rabbits are fed with - at first it is undesirable for them to change their food.
A healthy rabbit is healthy and looks, he has:
- smooth coat with a healthy shine,
- the ears are correct, even, with clean pink skin inside;
- a curious look, the eyes are shiny, without shells and spots on the iris;
- dry fur around the anus, not contaminated with feces;
- active movements;
- the body is dense, not thin;
- there are no wounds, scratches, sores on the skin;
- the back is flat, without hump and fossa;
- dry or slightly damp nose;
- correct bite - the upper teeth are located in front of the lower ones;
- the tummy is soft, without seals and wounds;
- the genitals are uniformly pink, clean.
We chose our own in something like this: we watched how they ran in the aviary, picked and looked at the rabbits (a lot of fun, especially for a child), chose the most nimble - a girl and a boy. In general, girls are calmer, but boys are larger, so if for a season, then you need to decide on your preferences.
To transport small rabbits, it is better to take an ordinary cardboard box, put something in it and put the rabbits there. In a relatively confined space, they are calmer. Of course, you don't need to leave them without supervision and contact - they are small and scared!
At first, it is better to put everyone in the same cage, or at least 2-3: let them sit. Males begin to fight at 5 months of age, but by this time they are already large and in any case should sit separately.
What to feed?
The first 3-4 days, the rabbits should be fed the same as they were fed before, 4 times a day. At the same time, the water should be constantly and clean - rabbits tend to climb into the drinking bowl with their feet and drag any garbage there.
Then, little by little, the diet is transferred to a purely summer one: grass, tops, branches, vegetables, feed or grain. Monthly rabbits are already happy to gnaw young twigs of fruit plants. Gardeners know that hares love to nibble the bark of apple trees.
We took 1.5-month-old rabbits and after a week they cheerfully gnawed finely chopped carrots, cabbage, last year's pumpkin, rusks made from leftover bread (no fresh bread should be given), hay. Two weeks later, wheat, barley and young birch twigs were already being eaten.
Grain rabbits are fed with barley, wheat, oats, corn. It is desirable, of course, to alternate or give in a mixture. Rabbits also need salt. If added to water - about half a teaspoon per liter.
It is definitely impossible to give rabbits grass wet from dew and rain, bad old hay, tops from potatoes and tomatoes, rotten, heavily withered root crops and vegetables, rotten grain with insects, green potatoes and sprouts.
Poisonous herbs for rabbits that should not get into feed and hay: buttercup, lumbago, celandine, aconite, hellebore, foxglove, poisonous vech, wild mustard, hemlock.
Rabbits are very fond of nettles, it must be dried a little before giving.
Rabbits eat great and give noticeable weight gain on the stalks, foliage and tubers of sweet potatoes, while it makes no difference to them whether it is vegetable sweet potato or decorative.
Our rabbits did not sit in cages all the time, in dry weather we always walked them with considerable benefit for them and for the site. By the way, a rabbit carrier in this case is almost ideal.
We had a regular mesh box with protruding legs that stuck into the ground. They put the box on the grass, planted rabbits, and put a piece of plywood on top (the sun is very bright). You can make special portable walking houses. And the drinker must also be supplied.
This is how my favorite 4-in-1 option is realized: the rabbits walked, ate, there is no need to mow down the grass in this place, the child looks after the animals in the fresh air.
We had a problem that required our constant presence: a dog and a cat. At first, the little rabbits were terribly afraid of animals that walked in circles and looked into the cage from all sides. The cat then just sat down next to it and looked, unnerving the animals. I had to constantly drive her away. The dog quickly realized that this was an additional object of protection, and not an object of hunting, and stopped frightening the little ones by walking around - it looked out from a distance.
During the day, the walk must be moved several times - the rabbits eat up the grass very quickly, and it is easy for them to “mow” a couple of square meters of medium-height grass!
By October, our rabbits had grown to quite adult sizes - 3.5 kg boy and 3.2 kg girl.
The grass from the plot (11 hectare densely planted) was enough for both of them: since August, they have been crumbling mainly tops, vegetables, grain, and the hay went to the bedding. After cleaning the cages, litter and manure were immediately sent to the compost heap.
Our rabbits were not sick with anything - they had nowhere to get infected, and there are no poisonous herbs on the site. That is, celandine grows, but somewhere in the corners, and did not get into the feed of the rabbits.
We did such a summer experiment with rabbits. But the final phase with eating rabbit meat just did not work out for us - a hand did not rise to them. We sold them alive, because in the Khabarovsk Territory it is necessary to keep rabbits in a special room in winter.