AT Home Pets

Just another RabbitTalk Blogs site

news article found here.

Breeding rabbits for food is a great way to increase your freezer meat without spending a lot of money. The meat is extremely nutritious and easy to prepare. In fact, you can make most of the same dishes with rabbit that you would with chicken, and a few extra special ones like rabbit stew will delight your entire family.

The care and housing of rabbits that you will breed for food is the same as any rabbit care, although slightly larger cages for the females is a good idea since they will also have to be big enough to hold the babies until they are ready to be weaned.

There are only a few rules you should be aware of before you start out to avoid some common pitfalls:

Never—I repeat never—take the buck (male rabbit) to the doe’s (female rabbit) cage! …….

Always take the female to the male. She won’t be aggressive in a strange cage, and he will know exactly what to do.

Do stay and watch when you leave the doe in the buck’s cage. It is not a long term process. ……. Grab her out of the cage as soon as the buck has done his duty.

……..

One thing you should always watch for as the doe’s due date draws near is whether or not she is building a nest. She should start pulling her belly hair out and using it to line the nesting box. If she doesn’t, or hasn’t pulled enough hair for a deep warm nest, you can add straw to the box to make sure there is plenty of insulation even in the summer months.

One of the most common problems encountered in rabbit breeding is the doe having the kits outside of the nest box. ……

That’s another very important reason to always watch and carefully plan your breeding dates by taking the doe to the buck and taking her out immediately afterwards. If you don’t know when the doe is due, you can’t watch for problems. ……Breeding rabbits is very easy and takes little extra work beyond the normal care and feeding, and with just a few extra precautions you can end up with quite a bit of extra meat in your freezer.

Today I killed a rabbit that never should have been allowed to live past 6-8 weeks of age. It’s a rabbit that the breeder of it should have made the best, albeit a difficult, decision to simply euthanize.

This poor rabbit had upper teeth curling in, lower teeth pushing her upper jaw up. the teeth that sit just behind the front teeth were twisted and thick. She was Skin and bone. Given by a rabbit knowledgeable vet to a soft-hearted rabbit rescue person who called and asked for my opinion.

It took ALL I had when I was there NOT to show my extreme anger at the vet for not simply euthanizing this animal. The VET should know better. Like really should have known better but instead they pass the problem along to someone else? Someone who if she’d didn’t have me to turn to would be stuck with a vet bill to euthanize at a later date. (and the really skeptical angry part of me wonders if the bottom line was really what that decision was all about).

Folks: if you breed rabbits and those kits turn out to have bad teeth. Do the right thing.. KILL THEM. Turn them into dog/cat/snake/ferret food. Don’t consign them to a life of teeth trims once a month and slow starvation. JUST DON”T DO IT!

Do not let them live out a live of starvation for three weeks, eat for one week. Starve again for three weeks, eat for one week. As the recommendation from the vets is to trim teeth once a month.

This poor rabbit had one more week to go before a tooth trim and she couldn’t eat! It burns me up. How is allowing that not harming the animal? How is it “better” to let an animal starve and become skin and bone than to simply end it’s life? HOW?

Do know that I wrote this late at night, after I culled this poor unfortunate animal, and not after having a good nights sleep. I know my morning that MOST of my anger will have passed. But you know what? Sometimes being REALLY angry is not a bad thing. People SHOULD NOT do this to an animal. They simply shouldn’t.

in the morning I’ll be more rational probably and think well.. perhaps the breeder didn’t know any better or perhaps the vet clinic has a no kill policy or perhaps ……

The end result was a poor animal who was basically left to starve because of her teeth and I can’t for the life of me see how letting her live was the “better” option to simple euthanasia. I just can’t see it. There had to be a better way than foisting her on a rabbit rescue who then had to make a very very difficult decision to ask for help and then to make a even more difficult decision to simply let her go. There just has to be….

This came off the meatrabbits board.

“Palpations – Pregnancy checks

You have to forget about the 14-day test that some books tell about, rarely anyone gets good at that, too hard to find those little lumps.

But at 10 to 12 days, the usual test period in Europe, you just feel for a bulge in the lower abdomen, it will feel like what you would think a full bladder would feel like. In early pregnancy, the litter is still a compact mass in the lower abdomen. At about day 13, the uterine horns stretch out lengthwise so that this bulge is gone. Always do the palpations with CLEAN HANDS, you are touching right where the young pups are going to be nursing next time!

I check them at 11 days, and if I can’t get a positive (or negative) test then I re-check them on day 12. Never handle the doe on day 13, a placental change is going on. Check a doe at day 11, and compare with a doe you know is not yet pregnant, until you can feel the difference.

The day 14 test is very hard to do, and since you don’t know when the doe actually ovulated (somewhere in the next 24 hr after you bred her) what you think is day 14 may be her day 13 and you had better leave her alone. Then, on day 20, if she is pregnant, there will be a bulge on her right side, where the litter is pushing the caecum outward. This will not be so noticeable on the first litter, but will be obvious on later litters. Then from about day 25, you can feel some irregular lumps behind her ribs, its usually easier to feel these on her left side. These lumps are the little pups. Don’t feel her on day 23, another placental change. These things (not handling on day 13 and day 23) we learn from the lab-animal people (Harkness & Wagner, 1983), the rabbit production and pet rabbit people don’t know that yet, although it’s been know by the lab people for years, communication has broken down somewhere.”
> Original Link: http://pan-am.uniserve.com/pg000031.htm
>

This post was spurred/inspired by a post to group that I’m on, that  I’m so close to leaving because most of the posts seem to be by an AR person lately.  It’s supposed to be a news/chat group of events around the area, and a place to go for assistance if you need some (aka where to find a good carpenter).   Anyways, that aside….

One person repeatedly posts things for helping dogs in trouble.

Her latest was a rant about dog mills and stopping dogs from being sold in stores and her utter jubilation that some pet store (PJ’s pets or something like that) was no longer going to sell puppies in their stores.

Now I don’t know about you… but how many people walk into a pet store and have $599 to plunk down on a puppy?  As an impulse purchase?     I can see rabbits or cats or guinea pigs being impulse…but a puppy at $599?   That’s not impulse.

But her jubilation makes me wonder because in her next paragraph she was talking about her need for TONS of carriers and what not as they were going to rescue puppies and dogs from a dog mill that used to supply to that pet store…and I’m thinking.. so you are rescuing these dogs/puppies which means the mill (if it truly is a mill) can go out and get new dogs and start all over again just finding a different outlet for their critters.

If pet stores aren’t encouraged to supply puppies from reputable sources just where are people supposed to go to get good puppies?

If people who breed are so horrid and if rescue is the ONLY answer to getting pups/dogs… where to people go to get a well-rounded animal?

I bought some rabbit feed the other day off a lady who sold her rabbit because it was downright nasty.   I asked where she got it.. oh… at the store down the road.  Oh… okay.  Next time you want a bunny you might try to find a breeder and go that route.    I did an excellent job of biting my tongue because I KNOW where the pet store down the road buys her stock – at the local small animal auction.   But she doesn’t tell her customers that.   So there’s no accountability there.

Why don’t more rescues spend some of their time encouraging pet stores to purchase from quality breeders?  Instead of trying to completely shut their animal provision service down…why don’t they encourage and teach and promote responsible buying and responsible selling?   Why are they so self-focused on their “ONLY GET FROM A RESCUE” message?

Why do they rescue “the millers” from themselves?   Don’t they see it just encourages the millers to find new animals that just sell better?

I find it exasperating sometimes.

Ideal Barn

Comments off

Someone on Rabbittalk today What does your dream barn look like?

People answered the question in a variety of ways, all with the things that they would like in their barns.

Currently my rabbits are housed in a canopy garage.  You know those tarp setups people use to protect their cars from the sun.      I’ve done pretty good with mine getting them to last for 2+ years when most folks get them to last for perhaps one.

My rabbits are kept in individual cages on homemade racks with slant boards.

I like how I house my rabbits (in the racks).

I salivate after the open air cow barns that I see and am very much aware of how nice they would be for housing rabbits.  TONS of light, TONS of easy ventilation, ease of cleanliness, lack of overall basic maintenance that I am required to provide with my current set up.

I could vary how I house my rabbits from individual cages to small colonies.  This I would LOVE to have.  :)  Raising out my juniors in colonies, having my dry does run in colonies…more labour intensive…but healthier overall for them to get that much needed exercise.  Much easier to maintain isolation areas and such like.

Then someone on the meatrabbits yahoo group posted a link to vermicomposting.    And mind you.. .if I had the set up I would like to have I would have two separate composting piles.  one for rabbit waste that had hay and what not in it, and another for the days when i didn’t feed hay.    I would hopefully have the hay/garden/kitchen waste one packed full of worms.

I know the article I posted didn’t speak to vermi-composting from a farm point of view, but I thought it an intriguing notion for small set ups and therefore worth linking to. :)

Anyways, it is fun to dream.  :)

This post spurred me to actually write a bit about what I think.

The whole situation with Debe Bell and her confiscated rabbits and the pictures posted both by her as well as by those who are against her have spawned all sorts of conversation across the rabbit world.

Those who are horrified at how her animals were kept, those who are not horrified at how they were kept and wondering why people would be.

Personally…I’m withholding judgement.  I disliked what I saw because I know that things can be better.  I also know that the build up I saw on some of those cages takes time to develop.  I also know that sometimes life gets beyond a person sometimes and things can slip drastically.  I know these things and I do not know all the particularities of her exact situation.  Therefore I withhold judgement on her.

BUT many people are not.  They are all over the place for, against, indifferent, angry, disgusted and much more (and much less).   But what we are is DIVIDED.

And everyone knows that people who are divided are much more easily defeated.

So for those who say she deserves whatever she gets … consider this…

1. does she really?   Do you know ALL the facts?

2. what if the situation were turned around…would YOU deserve it?

3. Does one deserve to lose their hobby without being proven guilty of wrongdoing?  For that IS what has happened here.

And if she does deserve losing her animals…are you aware of how much ammunition and power that gives the Animal Rights people to come after YOU next?   Seriously think about this for a moment.

Every time the animal rights people win, they gain power.

1. They gain power because they divide us, they make us think…ah…just another bad breeder, not realizing that painting one bad breeder means so many other people (bad or not) are branded with same paintbrush.

2. They gain power with the uneducated who link puppy mills, factory chickens, and rabbit breeders all with the same brush.   We are all breeding our animals ERGO we must be horrid people.

Dog breeders fight it, Cat breeders fight it and so forth.     You raise cattle…well.. you must be one of those horrid feed lot people.   And that’s exactly how we are painted.

3. Look at all the free publicity their “good” cause on behalf of the animals is getting them.   and people don’t stop to think… if the dog/cat/rabbit/snake people are put out of business, where exactly is our next pet coming from?

4. and here’s the answer … Adopt from a shelter.   you know..those shelters that written laws give permissions to that joe average isn’t allowed to have. There are thousands upon thousands of animals out there. adopt from them.     but where do those shelter animals come from?   Ask yourself that.  If the breeders are put out of business where exactly will those shelter animals come from?  and thence…where will your child’s next pet come from?   or your agility partner or ?????

If we are divided and thinking that people deserve whatever they get, then we are easy prey.   Just institute bill after bill after bill making it illegal to breed, sell, own, work or whatever.    Anything to do with animals…tough luck!

I will defend the right of anyone to raise and feed and breed their animals.  EVEN the spider people (as much as I HATE spiders) I’ll defend your right to breed them because if I don’t… we are divided and therefore easy prey to those who brand us as horrid despicable people.

I WILL NOT defend your right to do so if you deliberately mistreat your animals.  I’ll tell you to sell or kill ‘em or give them away to someone who is knowledgeable.   But unless you are being neglectful or cruel… don’t knock on my door asking me to help put them out of business.

Who’s knocking on your door?

this place is a gold mine of information

 

everything from set up to disease to marketing.  a variety of links on this site.

 

Provincial abbatoirs

 

Federal abbatoirs.   These two do rabbits.   You need to click on the meat type you are looking for and don’t need to fill in the whole list at all.  :)

OMFRA

Whether you are a commercial livestock producer, operate a small hobby farm, or buy and sell animals for slaughter, the meat from your livestock and poultry is subject to the same requirements under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 and Regulation 31/05 (Meat Regulation).

 

In Ontario, no one can sell, transport, deliver or distribute meat unless:

The animal was inspected prior to slaughter (antemortem), approval for slaughter in accordance with the Meat Regulation, and the carcass was inspected following slaughter (post-mortem) and was approved for use as food in accordance with the Meat Regulation or the regulations under the Meat Inspection Act (Canada);
The animal was slaughtered in a plant operated by a provincially licensed operator or a federally registered establishment; and
The meat is stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection legend.

Can I slaughter my own animals to feed my family?

Yes, provided you comply with on of the following options.

Option 1

Producers can slaughter animals and process the carcasses on the farm at any time of the year and are exempt from the Meat Regulations, provided all the following conditions are met:

The animals must be slaughtered for consumption by the producer or the producer’s immediate family only,
The slaughter must be performed on the producer’s premises by the producer or a certified examiner; and;

The meat must be consumed only by the producer or the producer’s immediate family on the producer’s premises.

The meat from an animal slaughtered under this option cannot be sold, delivered, distributed, or transported off the farm under any circumstances.

Option 2

Cattle and swine producers who want to slaughter healthy animals on their farm and have the carcasses processed off the farm may engage in the Non-Emergency slaughter provisions in O. Reg 31/05 under the Food Safety and Quality Act 2001, provided the following conditions are met:

  • Only cattle under 30 months of age (UTM) and pigs are eligible to enter a meat plant under this provision;
  • An examiner certified for non-emergency, on-farm slaughter may provide stunning, slaughter and dressing services and must perform ante mortem and post mortem examinations;
  • Carcasses and products can only be transported to and from a provincially licenced meat plant;
  • Provincially licenced meat plants must be approved to process on-farm slaughtered carcasses and are only allowed to accept them up to a total of 16 weeks per year: a maximum of four weeks during the spring period (March 1 to April 30) and a maximum of 12 weeks during the fall period (September 1 to December 31);
  • Processing of products are limited by the regulation, to cutting, grinding, wrapping and/or freezing of beef or pork, and processing ham, bacon or sausage from pork only.
  • The products can only be consumed by the producer and their immediate family on the premises where the animal was slaughtered; and
  • Products cannot be sold, shared, donated or distributed.

 

What are the penalties for offences?

A person who breaks the law covering meat inspection is guilty of a serious offence. On conviction, the offender is liable for a first offence to a maximum fine of $25,000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues; (or $50,000 for a subsequent offence for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues) or to imprisonment for a term of up to two years, or to both fine and imprisonment.

From the Ontario SPCA I got this page. It gave links to the relevant acts.

Livestock and Livestock Products Act, RSO 1990, c L.20

Bill 50, Provincial Animal Welfare Act, 2008