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General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby Zass » Thu May 21, 2015 6:19 pm


Could you explain what you mean about rabbit health problems being related to feed?


Michaels4gardens is better at explaining the feed issues than I am. He has a whole lot more years of experience with both pellets and natural feeding too.
So...my plan is to wait for him to speak and agree with whatever he says.

:lol:

When Susie posted that link that broke down the nutrient contents of various pellets, I was rather astounded by how many feeds were deemed deficient in one important area or another.

It got me wondering...I mean, yeah, rabbits are culled to the feed...essentially selecting for animals that will gain weight and seemingly thrive on whatever we feed.
It doesn't seem to take too many generations to get good growth that way.

But, what might some of the long term minor deficiencies be doing to the rabbit's immune systems???

For example, since I'm lactose intolerant and have a sun allergy, I tend to be deficient in vitamin D. If I fail to take supplements, my mood seriously destabilizes. I have to be off supplements for months to see any negative effect however.

If there are a ton of subtle health effects observed in humans from minor deficiencies like that...What might be going on with rabbits when they are fed the same brand of somewhat deficient pelleted feed generation after generation??


I wish I could help more with your does Rainey. There are so many variables in place, it's hard to determine what might be going wrong in a small group of rabbits.

I know natural feeding is more challenging than pellet feeding, but it really seems like you have a good system in place, and that your rabbits very likely have all they need nutritionally.

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby grumpy » Fri May 22, 2015 9:18 am


Good thread.. :)

Thought I'd add to the mix with another "problem" folks seem to have more
and more of. We've all heard the saying, "They breed like rabbits," meaning
the breed's tendency to quickly multiply. Well folks....nowadays....that ain't
quite the truth, now is it?

Last year, I spent several hundred dollars on a group of purebred American
Chinchilla's. My thoughts were to keep the line pure AND use them as a
cross on my commercial does with the hopes of increasing weight gain in
my market fryers. Little did I know, that my biggest concern would be
keeping them alive until they matured. WOW....!! What a hassle. I bought
ten head and ended up with two bucks and one doe. Hard to breed would
be an understatement. Even a crossbred doe "Ruby" would turn out to be
next to impossible to get her bred. She finally kindled a litter of nine kits.
I saved two of her daughter's which were 3/4NZW and 1/4Chin.
NOPE!!! They will not lift anyway, anyhow, anywhere, for anybody.

The entire group, pedigreed adults, and crossbreds are takin the Train
tomorrow morning. Beautiful looking stock, but not worth a flip. One of
Ruby's daughters' weighed 9 pounds 10 ounces at 5 months of age.
Awesome looking doe, but useless. She'd bring a good price.........
if I was dishonest... :x :x :x Someone just starting out would be frothing
at the mouth to buy her and her sister. I CAN'T do that...

How many rabbits just like the ones above are sold each and every day to
unsuspecting buyers with little to no experience or knowledge concerning
rabbits? I'll take the HIT....and sleep better because of it.

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby ottersatin » Fri May 22, 2015 10:35 am


Right on Grumpy,
There are far too many passing of POOR stock
to anyone willing to pay their asking price!
I prefer to send them off to the "farm" than sell even as a Pet.
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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby Susie570 » Fri May 22, 2015 10:36 am


Grumpy - I don't know if a doe's willingness to lift is a genetic trait or not, but....

there ARE some options

I don't know how common it is, but heck I would be willing to buy semen from a nice buck and have it shipped to me...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8556311
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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#20  Unread postby ladysown » Fri May 22, 2015 10:51 am


In the end I think, beyond feed issues, that the biggest reason for the decline in rabbit health is the sentimentality factor (poor little bunny, or like the colour, or the breed) and the bottom line $$'s.

People will sell anything.

Granted, I will sell rabbits that fail in the mothering department...but I'm upfront with people. This doe I am selling as she has the temperament for a pet and is NOT suitable as a breeder for x, y and/or z reason. I GET the pet factor. People like to have pets.

What drives me crazy is when people sell KNOWN to be sick rabbits... weepy eyes, bad feet, pasturella, bad teeth.. INTO PET HOMES... people who generally lack in solid knowledge about proper animal care. Because and I quote as I've heard it too often "He's such a sweet bunny and deserves to have a chance to live".

Did you give it away free with full disclosure? No.. I didn't want to worry them....and they should pay me something for this sweet bunny.....

ARGH!!! Drives me crazy but people don't understand what ultimately they are doing...

What I do not understand is why people fight to breed rabbits that will have babies...but won't care for them. I've dealt with breeders asking me to foster babies cause their breed simply won't care for their babies. BUT they don't want to buy their own foster does to care for those babies (and do needed culling of babies). Why raise rabbits and sell those rabbits as breeding animals if they can't raise their own young????? Makes no sense to me.

So I understand Grumpy's frustration with those Am Chins. :) Why do it? Long term just hurts the bottom line and does nothing to further the breeding of your favourite breed of rabbit.
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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#21  Unread postby Zass » Fri May 22, 2015 1:16 pm


We were just talking about some of the issues with silver fox rabbits in another thread.
I'd like to quote :
karebru wrote:You have to wonder... Could it be that there is a reason why any particular breed of domestic animal would be listed as "rare" and "endangered"? :thinking: :thinking: :thinking:


__________ Fri May 22, 2015 1:46 pm __________

Susie570 wrote:Grumpy - I don't know if a doe's willingness to lift is a genetic trait or not, but....

there ARE some options

I don't know how common it is, but heck I would be willing to buy semen from a nice buck and have it shipped to me...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8556311


It's those kind of farming practices that many believe to be the problem with our other types of livestock Susie.

We can keep force breeding animals that will not breed themselves...until we end up with something like commercial turkeys, that can ONLY reproduce through artificial insemination. They have actually lost the ability to physically mate with each other. :cry:

Who knows what genetic issues a frozen semen buck could have???
Perhaps he has a terrible immune system??

Maybe he's too nasty and vicious to mate females himself.
Maybe he's too passive.
Maybe he carries genes to throw a split penis.

It's not like rabbit semen is a huge and heavily regulated market..

I didn't work around that exceptionally crazy SF doe to breed her either. I ate her. Because I have sent FAR too many nice animals off to freezer camp to worry about one psycho.

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#22  Unread postby grumpy » Fri May 22, 2015 4:05 pm


Quote From Zass.

It's those kind of farming practices that many believe to be the problem with our other types of livestock Susie.

We can keep force breeding animals that will not breed themselves...until we end up with something like commercial turkeys, that can ONLY reproduce through artificial insemination. They have actually lost the ability to physically mate with each other. :cry:

Who knows what genetic issues a frozen semen buck could have???
Perhaps he has a terrible immune system??

Maybe he's too nasty and vicious to mate females himself.
Maybe he's too passive.
Maybe he carries genes to throw a split penis.

It's not like rabbit semen is a huge and heavily regulated market..

I didn't work around that exceptionally crazy SF doe to breed her either. I ate her. Because I have sent FAR too many nice animals off to freezer camp to worry about one psycho.


Love it,

"If'n they don't breed..........eat the durned thing." :P :P :P

The "Snake-Train's" pullin' into 'rabbit-junction' bout eight tonight.
It'll have a full load...............leavin'. LOL...ALL ABOARD...!!

BTW:: I read somewhere they are "temperament-testing" Angus cattle now
because of "crazie--probs" with some of the girls.....and guys.

Finding an excuse to keep 'any' rabbit that's not "right".....ain't right. :x

Grumpy.

__________ Fri May 22, 2015 3:05 pm __________

ladysown wrote:What I do not understand is why people fight to breed rabbits that will have babies...but won't care for them. I've dealt with breeders asking me to foster babies cause their breed simply won't care for their babies. BUT they don't want to buy their own foster does to care for those babies (and do needed culling of babies). Why raise rabbits and sell those rabbits as breeding animals if they can't raise their own young????? Makes no sense to me.

So I understand Grumpy's frustration with those Am Chins. :) Why do it? Long term just hurts the bottom line and does nothing to further the breeding of your favorite breed of rabbit.


Amen....Ladysown. Thank you. :) :)

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#23  Unread postby Miss M » Fri May 22, 2015 4:59 pm


This is an excellent thread. :)
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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#24  Unread postby Susie570 » Fri May 22, 2015 5:10 pm


Zass wrote:Who knows what genetic issues a frozen semen buck could have???
Perhaps he has a terrible immune system??

Maybe he's too nasty and vicious to mate females himself.
Maybe he's too passive.
Maybe he carries genes to throw a split penis.

It's not like rabbit semen is a huge and heavily regulated market..


True! I was thinking more along the lines of the way you can buy frozen sperm from an excellent racing stallion or something... and my thoughts were based on the idea that reluctance to breed wouldn't be a genetic quality (wasn't sure if anyone had tested that or not) :)
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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#25  Unread postby Dood » Fri May 22, 2015 6:26 pm


Actually artificial insemination (and embryo transfer ) are banned in thoroughbred registries :)

Partly to prevent animals that can't breed naturally out of the gene pool

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#26  Unread postby alforddm » Fri May 22, 2015 6:32 pm


Yeah, the American Quarter Horse Association is probably thinking that was a great idea in hindsight. They originally allowed AI and have been forced by law suits to allow embyo transfer and possibly soon clones.

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#27  Unread postby grumpy » Sat May 23, 2015 12:40 am


It's been a super long day, folks. Intermittently I was dealing with issues
about our local school board. Myself and one other member FINALLY put
enough 'heat' on an administrator who's been abusive to our teachers to
throw in the towel and quit. The superintendent is in his last year of his
contract and we've refused to extend it, so he's acting like an @#@-hole.

Processed 7 rabbits for restaurant delivery, "honey-do" list..a long one. LOL.
Got 10 senior rabbits ready for a ride on the Snake-train. I hated to see two
of my older herd bucks go, but I gotta make room for young studs coming
up. One of my old stud-bucks NEVER threw a son worth keeping, but his
daughters made outstanding brood does. I've go 7 or 8 of 'em in the herd.

This thread made me look back and realize just how dad-blamed hard it is
to find decent breeding stock starting out. If it weren't for five rabbits I
bought for "cheap" 6 years ago, I'd have probably given up trying to re-start
the rabbitry. I'd gone through more does and bucks than any person should
have to. Thank heaven's they literally fell in my lap.

Past midnight and I'm gettin' a little tired. I'll sleep a few hours and probably
work on my story before heading down to the barn.

Pleasant dreams everyone.`

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#28  Unread postby Zass » Sat May 23, 2015 2:00 am


Susie570 wrote: and my thoughts were based on the idea that reluctance to breed wouldn't be a genetic quality (wasn't sure if anyone had tested that or not) :)


Overall...it seems like it would be difficult to test. Since getting daughters out of hard-to-breed does is already rather challenging. :lol:

Even more difficult to work with due to the fact that we have to try to sort out behavioral idiosyncrasies from genetically influenced patterns.

Experienced breeders get a feel for it. Beginners are totally in the dark.

Would they be dominant or recessive traits??? Would whatever causes such behavior require other (likely totally undetectable) genes to express??

Humor me for a moment and consider coat genetics.

Imagine that behavior patterns were linked to those color genes (they are NOT, but this is just for fun.)
Lets pretend that you have actually discovered the genotype for the easiest-to-work-with-in-captivity personality. Say... self, dilute, non-extension and broken (but not charlie) are the genes you need. aa __ __ dd ee En en
Now lets also make every rabbit on the planet a cc as well. Ruby eyed white. So you couldn't visibly SEE any of the other color genes the rabbits might have.

Try to get some rews that were also genetically broken blue tort rabbits only based on behavioral traits you can observe.

You wouldn't even know where to start unless you got lucky and found some rabbits with some of those genes expressed, AND had the skill to even recognize it when you saw it.

Oh, but don't forget to select for hardiness, ability to tolerate your climates weather extremes, and overall health and growth too. ;)

I'm no expert on genetics, but I'm fairly positive that the genes behind behavior are a whole lot more complicated than the relatively simple genetics involved with coat colors.

The point I'm trying to get at, is that we actually have fairly little to go on when selecting towards genetics that influence behavioral traits. :shrug: I believe there is a high-anxiety trait that is dominant. Which makes sense to me, because anxiety is a wild rabbit survival trait, and wild-type genes tend to be dominant.

We know some traits run in lines, and some breeds have tendencies...But in general, there is a ton of variation within lines and breeds.
Which is why I always tell people that the breeder they buy from is going to make a bigger difference than whatever breed they choose.

Culling anything and everything undesirable is one of the only time-tested long-term-effective tools we have. It's still pretty much just imitating nature, where those who can't adapt and thrive under the conditions present do not pass on their genes.

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#29  Unread postby Dood » Sat May 23, 2015 7:48 am


These genetic temperament differences are easy to see in dogs but even in this species there is a HUGE difference in "show" bloodlines that have mostly been selected to match the breed standard and "working" bloodlines where the outward appearance is of little concern but the animals trainability and inate/inherited willingness to herd sheep, point game, retrieve ducks, course game, scent out prey etc... is the critical factor in determining whether they get to breed or not

Unfortunately many traditional "working" breeds have lost these abilities and IMHO they've been ruined by the show world - for example ; the modern Rough Collie that looks more like a Chow Chow with a HUGE poofy coat would quickly become a water logged, rain rot suffering mess if returned to his native Scottish highlands but only show stock is available and you'd be hard pressed to find one at a herding trial :(

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Re: General Decline in Rabbit Health - grumpy?

Post Number:#30  Unread postby 3mina » Sat May 23, 2015 8:07 pm


Some days I'm very glad I am impatient and picky regarding my rabbits. I think I cull faster for behaviour, health, and temperament than structure and colour.
If I can't get a litter from a doe without resorting to heroic measures she's gone, same with bucks. I need meat far more than I need a pretty, useless, rabbit. I have a very pretty, well marked, typey broken black otter doe that was easy enough to breedbut her first litter was only five and they're smaller than the other, bigger, litters kindled at the same time. She'll have a couple more litters this year but she probably won't be here come October. I also have two martenized cal does on the cull list as well as I am not happy with the temperaments I'm seeing, does and litters.
The other two first time does I bred this spring gave me no trouble at all and I got, for my herd, average litters from them- nine and ten. I did have to show one doe how to nurse her litter once. She seemed very confused so I held her in the nestbox and let the litter nurse for a couple of minutes. I had no other issues with her
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