Raising rabbits are much cheaper, more efficient,
and more productive than raising chickens.
Rabbit meat tastes good too, some people say that it taste much like poultry. Rabbit meat is mild and savory, never gamy. It is extremely lean, making it perfect for cholesterol-reducing diets. Cooking with liquids keeps rabbit dishes moist and tender. If you're not minding your fat intake, you may want to choose recipes that use oil to maintain juiciness. You can look for rabbit recipes in wild game cookbooks, but most of these just rehash the familiar methods of stewing, frying and baking.
Besides providing you with meat, rabbits produce dung, which makes a good fertilizer. Rabbit skins and fur have many uses. A rabbit can be a source of instant cash in an emergency.
Healthy and productive rabbits need clean, dry homes. You can keep them in cages raised above the ground on posts or on a fence. The bottom of the cage should be three to four feet above the ground--a convenient height for you to work with your rabbits. Some people save space by building shelves on a wall for the cages.
Keep each adult rabbit in its own cage. Each cage should be three feet square, and about two feet high, large enough for a rabbit and its young to move around a little bit. Put the cage in a place that is protected from rain, wind, and hot sun.
Keep the cages clean. Dirt, droppings, and urine from rabbits can contain germs that will make them sick... and a dirty cage will attract flies. You will find it easier to keep a rabbit cage clean if the floor of the cage has holes just large enough for dirt, droppings, and urine to fall through. If the spaces are too large, it is uncomfortable for the rabbit's feet, and baby rabbits' feet may be injured by slipping through the holes.
You can make the floor from wire mesh. Thick wire, with holes that are a 1/2 in. square, is best. Do not use old, rusty, or broken wire mesh. And do not use chicken mesh, because it is too thin and will hurt the rabbit's feet.
The walls should let in plenty of fresh air to keep the rabbits from getting too hot. The walls can have larger spaces in them than the floor.
The door on your cage should be big enough so that you can reach in easily to feed the rabbits and clean every part of the cage. You might want to build a cage with a roof that comes off instead of a regular door.
Note: Never stack cages above one another. I wouldn't want droppings on my head, would you?
A rabbit's main diet consists of the store bought rabbit food and Timothy Hay. The rabbit pellets come in large bags and look like brown pellets. This is the main source of nutrition for your rabbits. This food has all of the vitamins and minerals that will keep your rabbits healthy. The Timothy Hay will come in a bag that is compressed into a bail. The hay is good for the rabbit's digestive system and will keep them healthy. Another store bought food, alfalfa hay, can be purchased in blocks or as hay. This is good to give to your rabbit as a treat, but not as the main food supply. I prefer to give my rabbits the alfalfa in a block, so as to help wear down their teeth.
Rabbits also eat a number of other foods. My rabbits eats lettuce, carrots, apples and bananas. They also like pears, strawberries, sunflower seeds and a number of other vegetarian food. Fruits and vegetables should be given to yours once a day. Try to vary what you give your rabbits and remember to only let the rabbits eat as much as they want and then take the food out of the cage. If left in the cage it can spoil and the rabbits may get sick. When you give your rabbit forage, like hay, keep the forage off the cage floor by tying it together in a bunch and hanging it from the ceiling or wall of the cage. Just be sure not to put your rabbit feed directly on the floor of the cage where it will be dirtied by urine and droppings. Dirty food can make a rabbit sick. Try to limit the number of fruits your rabbit eats, these are high in calories and make your bunny chubby. Vegetables are better for your rabbit because they do not have as many calories and are a good source of roughage for your rabbit.
Try to keep your rabbit's forage dry, especially in hot weather. If your rabbit eats wet forage it may get sick with diarrhea and even die. If forage is wet when you cut it, let it dry for a few hours before you give it to your rabbit.
Your rabbit needs clean water at least twice a day. You should also clean your rabbit's water container or bowl often.
Note: Rabbits are subject to dehydration, so make sure they always have plenty of water.
You can feed your rabbit forage and scraps from a garden. Then you can use the rabbit droppings you clean out of the cage for fertilizer.
When it is time to breed the female rabbit, put her into the cage with the male in the early morning or evening. After they have mated, put her back in her own cage. Her litter will be born about a month later.
About a week before your rabbit's babies are born, give her a nest box where she can give birth. The nest is also a warm, dry place for the young rabbits.
There are 6 to 10 babies in a litter. Their eyes will not open until about two weeks after they are born. Do not touch any of the baby rabbits until they are 7 days old. If you do, you will change the way they smell, and the mother will not feed them. If you need to check the baby rabbits, rub your hands over the mother first. Then the babies will smell like their mother instead of smelling like your hands.
When they are two months old, baby rabbits should be weaned from their mothers. You can breed the female again once her litter has been weaned. Feed them for another two months. Then, when they weigh about 4.5 lbs, they are big enough to eat or sell.
Rabbits can give you and your family meat and earn you extra income. And since they are small and easy to feed, they adapt well to city conditions.
Rabbits Are Territorial
Rabbits are extremely territorial. In the wild, rabbits' territorial behavior includes depositing marking pellets at the boundaries of their territory, chinning, urinating, and aggressive behavior such as digging, circling, and fighting. Wild males tend to defend larger territories while females concentrate on their nests. Thus, when introducing new rabbits, territory must be considered. What you are trying to do is eliminate the possibility for there to develop any territorial behavior in the rabbits. Use a water bottle (with the nozzle set on "stream") to break up any fights if they occur. It's best to spray the instigator before a fight actually occurs (watch for aggressive body language) rather than work on breaking up an existing fight.
Interpreting Body Language And Behavior
Rabbits have a language all their own. here are some tips on interpreting your bunnies hops, kicks and grunts.