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Introduction

Rabbits are herbivores with acute sight and hearing.  Rabbits are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk). The average sleep time of a captive rabbit is said to be 8.4 hours. Rabbits are kept primarily for :

  1. Meat
  2. Income generation
  3. Skin can be used for leather goods
  4. Manure for the soil.
  5. Laboratory use
  6. Wool

Terminologies

  1. Doe:- a female rabbit
  2. In-Doe:- a pregnant doe
  3. Dry Doe:- non-pregnant rabbit
  4. Kitten/Kit/Fry :- a baby rabbit
  5. Litters:- a group of kitten/kit/fry
  6. Kindling:- act of giving birth
  7. Kindling box/Nest box:- where kindling happens
  8. Weaning:- act of separating litter from mother
  9. Weaners:- kittens that are separated
  10. Hutch/cage:- house of a rabbit
  11. Breeding buck:- mature male rabbit
  12. Breeding doe:- mature female rabbit.
  13. Oestrus: period between one heat period to another.
  14. Fur:- skin of the rabbit
  15. Feeding trough/Waterer

Parts of the Rabbit

Rabbit Parts.gif

Selection of foundation stock for rearing rabbits

  1. Know the history of the breeder, it should be a trust worthy person
  2. The fur must be smooth, glossy and shiny and not rough.
  3. Hair must be straight
  4. Should not have broken legs
  5. It must not have any sores
  6. Preferably buy during the age of 2 to 6 months
  7. Doe must have at least 8 distinct nipples
  8. Know the historical behaviour of the mother e.g how many kittens did the mother kindle, do they take care of their young
Advantage of rabbit rearing :
  1.  Short gestation period (20-31 days).
  2. Larger little size i.e. 5-7 (are 60 nos.)
  3. Slaughter age of meat purpose (90 days)
  4. Breeding age 6-8 months.
  5. They are herbivores animal and can be feed on wide variety of feed
  6. Rabbit meat has a comparatively higher percentage of protein i.e. 20.80%
  7. Rabbit meat has less fat (11-20%) and less caloric value (795)
  8. Expansion is much simpler than other livestock alternatives because a large range of existing facilities can be modified for rabbits and land requirements are negligible.

Housing for rabbit

The rabbitry should be an enclosed building that has proper ventilation, lighting, heating, and cooling systems. Heating and ventilation are crucial because rabbits do not tolerate temperature extremes very well. You should maintain the herd on a year-round schedule of 12 hours each of light and darkness to keep the rabbits breeding throughout the year.

Many different types of hutches can be used. However, all metal cages help prevent unsanitary conditions that can lead to health problems. The cages should be made of 1-by-2-inch mesh for the sides and top and 0.5-by-1-inch mesh for the floor. Hanging the cages from the ceiling in single layers makes management easier for the producer. Mature bucks and does should have individual cages that are at least 30 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 20 inches high. Junior does, fryers, and Angora rabbits (nonbreeding does and castrated bucks) may be kept in small groups in one pen. Each cage should have a feed hopper and a watering system attached to the outside of the cage.

Breeds of Rabbit

Note: we do not have pure breeds in Nigeria, only a mixture of different breeds.

Breeds Size Use Mature Weight (lbs)
Angora medium wool; meat 9-12
American Chinchilla medium fur 9-12
Californian medium meat 8-11
Champagne d’Argent medium meat 9-12
Checkered Giants large fur 11+
Dutch small lab 3-6
English Spot medium meat; lab 9-13
Flemish Giants large meat 13+
Himalayan small lab 2-6
New Zealand medium meat 9-12
Polish small lab 3-4
Rex medium fur 8-11
Silver Martens medium fur 6-10

Hope you find it useful. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

http://riseandshinerabbitry.com/2013/05/05/breeding-schedules/

http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-alternatives/animals/rabbit-production

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5 thoughts on “Rabbit Production – Class note 1

  1. very useful, makes me remember my school days and practical year at Leventis foundation. Just to add dat their meat is very delicious and a very important that when u want to separate d kittens from the mother you don’t use your bare hands

    • I haven’t tasted it yet, but will include it on my to do list. Just kinda feel they are too cute to be eaten :-). You are right in pointing that out, because when our bare hands are used on the kitten the mother rejects the kitten. Hmmm….

  2. Pingback: Slaughtering and butchering livestock rabbits | Farmgasm

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