Essential management practices to be successful in rabbit farming.
If you are a rabbit farmer and has been struggling with managing your farm, you need to read this article till the end.
If you are also an intending rabbit farmer, it is advisable that you read this article. Here is why; You will learn all you need to know about how to manage your rabbit farm properly.
How to take care of rabbits properly, and maintain optimal productivity. You will understand the key steps to take to ensure healthy rabbits.
Maintain good and proper productivity in your farm. These measures will help you to reduce cost of operation and generally, the cost of managing your rabbit farm.
I am certain you are obviously ready? Yes,
Here are what any rabbit farmer(s) should do if you want to experience high productivity in your rabbit farming business.
Important tips on how to take care of rabbits that you should know
To be successful in rabbit farming, you must learn how to take care of your rabbits, handle them and respond to their needs. You must take note of the following welfare measures
How to take care of rabbits welfare
Rabbits are animals which need individual and frequent attention. It is essential that you watch the rabbits for signs of distress or disease and take prompt remedial action.
Watching the rabbit helps you to recognize impending trouble in its earliest stages.
How to know if the rabbit is healthy
In understanding how to take care of rabbits, it is important that you know when they are healthy and when they are not.
Important indications of health are alertness, clear bright eyes, good posture, vigorous movements if unduly disturbed.
Others are active feeding and drinking, firm dark-coloured pellets, clean and healthy fur and skin, and grooming.
Ear-mite infestation is a common debilitating and disfiguring disease of rabbits and it is important that the external ear canals and ears should be free of debris and encrustations.
Attention should be paid to any departure from the normal.
Signs of illness
It is also a good practice to know the major signs of illness, this will make you proactive in managing intending challenges and increase your understanding of how to take care of rabbits.
You must be able to detect when a rabbit is displaying signs of sickness.
The signs of ill-health may include listlessness, dullness in the eyes, tucked-up posture and grinding teeth, shaking of the head (suggesting ear canker), loss of appetite, running eyes and tear-stains.
Others are nasal discharge, abdominal distention, scouring, stained fur, the presence of wet droppings, sneezing and snuffles.
Lastly, scratch marks (suggesting ectoparasites), swelling of the face (suggesting myxomatosis), sore hocks and lameness.
Ailing or injured rabbits should be segregated wherever possible and treated or, if necessary, be killed humanely without delay.
You cannot discuss how to take care of rabbits without putting into consideration, the condition of the house where your rabbits are kept.
Advice on welfare aspects should be sought when new buildings are to be constructed or existing buildings modified.
Problems can arise if total air space in the Rabbitry is either inadequate or excessive and the building is not correctly ventilated.
Therefore, careful attention should be paid to these aspects of welfare during planning.
Internal surfaces of housing, pens, hutches or cages should be of materials which can be effectively cleaned and disinfected, or easily replaced when necessary.
Ventilation, heating, lighting, feeding, watering equipment and other equipment should be properly constructed so as to avoid risk of injuring the rabbits.
Material containing paint and wood preservatives which may be toxic to rabbits should not be used on surfaces accessible to them.
Particular care is necessary to guard against the risk of poisoning from old paintwork in any part of the building or when second-hand building materials are used.
Accommodation should be designed and maintained so as to avoid injury or distress to the rabbits.
The type and arrangement of accommodation should allow for efficient working and for each rabbit to be properly inspected.
In open-sided buildings or other enclosures which are exposed to the weather, rabbits in cages should be provided with adequate protection from the weather elements.
Floors of the rabbit house
All floors on which rabbits are kept should be designed, constructed and maintained so as to avoid injury or distress to the rabbits.
For welding wire floors, mesh suitable size should be used.
Square mesh should not exceed 19 mm x 19 mm and rectangular mesh should not exceed 7.5 mm x 12.5 mm.
Wire of not less than 2.64 mm diameter is recommended and should not in any case be less than 2.032 mm.
The mesh should be flat and any rough spots arising during manufacture or from wear during subsequent use should be smoothed off.
The adults of some strains, particularly of the larger breeds, should be kept on solid floors.
Wherever solid floors are used, an ample supply of clean bedding should be provided to ensure a dry sleeping area. Likewise, in
Other systems, the use of straw or similar material in the lying area is strongly recommended.
Rabbit urine is of economic importance; therefore, the collection should be incorporated into the floor design.
Ventilation and temperature
The ventilation and temperature needs of a rabbit is vital in understanding how to take care of a bunny.
Ventilation rates and house conditions should at all times be adequate to provide sufficient fresh air for the rabbits.
Care should be taken to ensure that the ventilation system allows adequate air flow below cages.
Dwarf walls or solid sides should be avoided wherever possible.
Care should be taken to protect confined rabbits from cold air streaming through the rabbit house during cold weather.
You should avoid Extremes of temperature. Excessive heat loss should be prevented by the structural insulation of external walls and roof of the building, or by the provision of adequate bedding.
It is essential to avoid conditions which could cause chilling in young rabbits just leaving the nest.
Appropriate measures should be taken to prevent temperatures rising to the point where heat stress, indicated by prolonged panting, occurs.
As a general guide the aim should be to achieve a temperature range of 10C – 20C.
To take care of a bunny, all equipment including feed hoppers, drinkers, heating and lighting units, should be cleaned and inspected regularly and kept in good working order.
Defects should be rectified immediately or alternative measures taken to safeguard the health and welfare of the rabbits.
Alternative ways of feeding and of maintaining a satisfactory environment should therefore be ready for use.
When planning new accommodation or modifying existing buildings account should be taken of the size of the breed and natural behaviour of the animals, which includes hopping, sitting with ears erect and play.
The total floor area should be sufficient to enable the rabbits to move around and to feed and drink without difficulty.
Accommodation should allow sufficient area so that all rabbits can lie on their sides other than at times when nesting boxes are used.
Feed and water
To properly understand how to take care of rabbits or implement good care measures in your rabbit farm, you must understand the nutritional needs of your rabbits.
Whatever feeding is adopted, all rabbits should receive a daily diet, which is nutritionally adequate to maintain health.
A new type of feed should be introduced over a period of a few days.
A plentiful supply of clean, fresh water should be easily accessible to the rabbits at all times.
For example, a lactating doe with a large litter, close to weaning, may drink up to 4.5 liters of water a day.
To enable all rabbits to drink satisfactorily the nipple drinker should be about 25 cm from the bottom of the cage.
Stale or contaminated feed or water should not be allowed to accumulate.
Where bowls are used for either feed or water they should be of impervious material and of a design which cannot be knocked over and can be cleaned easily.
When fed by any system which does not allow continuous and unrestricted access to feed, all rabbits in the group should be able to feed at the same time. The feeding of a small quantity of hay or straw in addition to normal diet may be beneficial and provide activity for the rabbits.
Each rabbit should be inspected frequently during the day because, once ill, rabbits deteriorate rapidly.
It is desirable to establish a regular work routine. Care should be taken not to frighten the rabbits with sudden unaccustomed movement or noise, but without placing too much emphasis on quietness.
Adequate control measures should be taken to avoid disturbance by rodents and other animals.
Frequent checks should be made on the state of the bedding.
Premises and equipment should be regularly cleaned and thoroughly dried before restocking. Thorough disinfection should be carried out at suitable times to reduce the danger of continuing infection.
Vaccinations, injections and similar procedures should be undertaken by competent, trained operators. Care should be taken to prevent injury and unnecessary disturbance of the rabbits.
Artificial insemination is a highly skilled procedure and should be carried out with the advice of a veterinary surgeon by competent, trained personnel maintaining a high standard of hygiene and taking care to avoid injury and unnecessary disturbance of the rabbits.
Mating should be supervised, and to minimize the possibility of fighting, does should be taken to the buck.
Litters under a week of age should be disturbed as little as possible and young rabbits should not be weaned before four weeks of age.
Overgrowth of the incisors can sometimes interfere seriously with feeding and cause damage to the rabbit’s lips.
The provision of wooden gnawing blocks, particularly for breeding stock, can avoid the necessity to undertake tooth-trimming. Where tooth-trimming is necessary, it should be performed by a competent trained operator.
Foods to avoid
We cannot conclude on how to take care of rabbits without talking about food substances to avoid feeding your rabbits with.
Avoid starchy foods or high sugar content foods such as; legumes, beans, peas, corn, bananas, grapes, oats, wheat products, nuts, potatoes, rolled oats and breakfast cereals.
We know that rabbits love starchy foods, and these can be fed in very small amounts for adult rabbits – yet it is easy to overdo, and may result in soft stools or serious stomach upsets.
There is research suggesting high starch and low fibre diets may contribute to fatal diseases.
Understanding how to take care of rabbits and properly manage them is very important for high productivity in rabbit farming business.
With the above practices, your rabbits stand a better chance of being more productive.
Likewise, you stand a good chance of being successful in rabbit farming business.
So, will you be maintaining the above measures? I am guessing and hoping you do.
You will be amazed at how productive your rabbits will be.
You can share your thoughts and more on how to take care of rabbits in the comment box below.
PS: Rabbit farmers Kenya.