Rabbits

 Breeds

The breeds we have are a mix-up of crosses. The main cross is hare + papillon.

What They Eat

We give them comercial rabbit food which contains all the necessities that they need. We also give them alfalfa and carrot tops – we don’t give them actual carrots as they have a very high sugar content, and is highly addictive. Likewise, we do not feed them any lettuce because it is like a drug to them. We also give them weeds (but we are extremey aware of what weeds we give – as some are poisonous to rabbits). We also take care to only give them weeds from inside the fence of the farm because of the risk of myxomatosis – this may be passed on via wild rabbits, which are abundant in our area.

Housing

As a general rule, we as a family unit do not like to use cages to house the animals, but for matters of health and sanitation we use a cage system to house our rabbits. Mum rabbits are in their own cages with attached nest-boxes, the male is in a cage to himself. The young rabbits are placed in a large run on the floor, which is used for growing them on, so they have plenty of space and access to grass which was planted under the mesh floor, which stops them from burrowing out.

The reason our rabbits are caged is because it’s so much easier to catch and look over the rabbits without causing them unecessary stress and it is more sanitary for them – the cages are above ground (except the run) and their waste drops through the bars, which means it doesn’t get in their feet and spread; risking disease and infections.

Breeding & Kits

Breeding: The rabbits are bred approximately every 12 weeks, with a resting period. We do not breed them during the hottest part of summer as the young cannot handle the high-temperatures very well, so it is better to let the mums rest during that period.

We put the doe in with the buck, because he will be more comfortable in his own territory and feel safe enough to breed. We keep an eye on the pair to make sure that she is fertilized correctly: when a buck has done the deed properly, he will faint and fall off of the doe. If mating has occurred during the fertile days, a rabbit’s pregnancy usually lasts between 28 and 31 days, give or take one or two days. You will see her belly swell, and towards the last few days of her pregnancy she will start to nest: usually this involves her pulling out furr from her abdomin and chest-area and lining the nest box with it.

Baby Rabbits

Kits: The young stay with mum for up to 8 weeks. When they are fully weaned and have grown big enough that they cannot fit through the chain-link fencing, they are moved into the growing-on pen which is on the floor, providing ample space for up to 20 rabbits to grow healthily and quickly.

Care & Maintenance

The rabbits are cleaned out every 2 days. Their ears and feet are checked every few days to make sure they don’t have mites, sores, damaged claws or anything else that might need treating.

Illness, Problems & Treatment

So, we have already mentioned the reason why we put them in cages. Rabbits are quite succeptible to problems, illnesses and certain diseases, so to maintain the hygiene and overall care of a rabbit/rabbits you are keeping is of vital importance.

For me to list all of the various problems or illnesses would be an arduous task – and I could make mistakes. It is for this reason that I am referring you to this website. I hope it helps! If you have any minor questions, however, do feel free to contact us at olivetreefarmalmeria@outlook.com and we will do our utmost to help.

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