Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Rabbits

Manure/Composting

Rabbits are known for high nitrogen content in their manure – that is also safe for direct use in the garden.

The “Raken” house produces some of the best compost on the polyface farm.

Housing

Winter – Hoop House
Summer – Open-air shed

A solution might be to have a hoop house with roll down sides to control climate inside for optimal breeding depending on the season

Rabbits are susceptible to heart attacks and should be protected from direct sunlight. This can be achieved with a any number of cover material (tarp, corrugated sheets) on top of the cages.

Cages

5 foot Length (divided in two for two bunnies), 30 inch width and 16 inch tall.

The sides, top and end is constructed of 1*2 hardware cloth? (looks like Welded mesh in video).

The bottom is 1*0.5″ hardware cloth double dipped to withstand the acidity of the urine.

Everything is secured with J clips.

The feeder is a 5″ feeder.

Breeding

A rabbit doe is in heat 25 out of 30 days – and is actually stimulated to occur more often with more breeding

A doe is always transported to the buck’s cage for breeding and never the other way around. Grab a doe by the scruff of the neck and then support her hind quarter and place her head in the fold bicep/armpit while transporting to buck’s cage. A successful breed is followed by the buck falling to the side, dramatically.

In 4 weeks she will kindle. When her bunnies are 5 weeks old you can rebreed the doe. She spends another week with the bunnies before the doe is removed from the cage (not the bunnies, this reduces stress on them during a critical period of their lives), weening the bunnies. The bunnies spend another week in the cage before they are transported to the bulk pen – combining several litters.

A ratio of 1 buck per 10 doe’s is optimal for breeding “capacity”. The weight of bunnies is a critical factor when it comes to breeding.

Nest box

A couple of days before the doe kindles you need to place a nest box in the cage. The nest box is filled with straw.

For meat rabbits you need a nest box size of 11″ by 16″ (about 28 cm by 40 cm).

Diet

In nature bunnies eat a lot of green vegetation, but industry bunnies is so far removed that they have problems digesting only vegetation – it is only used as supplementation to reduce feed cost.

A mature doe weighing about 9 lbs (4 kg) should eat about 4 oz (28 g) feed a day.

During winter months when you can’t access green material, you can feed them good quality dry grasses as well.

Dressing rabbits

Bunnies are dressed at 12 weeks of age.

Much like beef, rabbit meat needs to mature and thus is dressed a couple of days before taking it to the market.

Record keeping

It is extremely important to keep record of all events in order to keep track of what is happening with the rabbits at all times. It is impossible to remember everything and thus record keeping is a important part of the operation.

By Lo-hen Du Bruyn

I am a metallurgical engineer and also have an academic background in accounting. I have founded and managed multiple companies across a variety of industries. I am constantly on the lookout for my next investment and welcome you along on the journey.

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