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Maintenance of large herds

Routine care and maintenance of rabbits and their surroundings.
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Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#1  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:37 pm


How would one keep up with the grooming of a large herd? Like toe nail trimming, brushing when molting. I only have 5 breeders and I know that it takes me a while to do all 5 of them. And I am new to the whole rabbit thing so I have a large learning curve. I had one customer this summer tell me they had 80 rabbits :shock: , that would take me weeks to just trim their nails. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:01 pm


I don't brush mine. Himalayans have very low maintenance coats - I've only one rabbit that needs his molted fur brushed out, and he's just too old groom himself properly. Sometimes I run over them with wet cloth or rags to help with static at shows. I usually trim the nails when I get a rabbit to load them up for a show or breed them. This way all my show rabbits get done pretty often, and all my breeders get clipped too. I have a couple mass nail clipping days too, when I have a lag in breeding and showing. I can trim a rabbit's nails in about two minutes, so it goes rather quickly. With large herds, you expect to have to devote entire days or a couple evenings to your rabbits at least every so often.

The fastest way to trim nails for me has been to hold the rabbit in a football hold, use the hand that's holding them to expose the nail, and use the other hand to hold the clippers and trim. I do one side, move the rabbit to my other armpit and do the other side, and then I'm done. The dollar store sells some very nice cat nail trimmers that work well for this. Flipping them onto their back takes too much time.
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:22 pm


I sit on my knees, lower them over backward penned in between, clip, clip, clip, clip and flip the next one. Sure 60 of them took time even at minutes each but I can spend entire afternoons in a row doing tank maintenance lol I grew up on a farm. You worked with animals, cleaning the barn, or stacking hay until sleep.
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Homer » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:17 am


I built a three sided box to trim nails. It's just wide enough to put a Flemish in on its back. Drop a towel on their face and clip-clip. Younger ones get a towel push in with them so they can't roll over. :twisted:
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#5  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:34 pm


Homer wrote:I built a three sided box to trim nails. It's just wide enough to put a Flemish in on its back. Drop a towel on their face and clip-clip. Younger ones get a towel push in with them so they can't roll over. :twisted:


Interesting could you put pics up of it?

I got Cali them seem to never stop molting during this summer but this is my first year for rabbits. And it takes me about a hour once a month or so to clip 5 adult breeders. And that depends on if the get with the program. I got one buck that goes to sleep when he is on his back. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:35 pm


Some count their brood and show stock only when discussing how many rabbits they keep, others count up all the kits.

80 rabbits could easily be:
10 breeders, and 8 litters with 8 or 9 kits each.

So the maintenance for 80 rabbits wouldn't necessarily be as nightmarish as it seems, because most of them will head to freezer camp or new homes well before nail trims or any brushing is necessary.

There certainly are commercial raisers with 80+ brood does though. Meat stock may require no brushing, but I do wonder how they handle nail trims for all those adults. :?

To be honest, it seems that neglecting rabbit feet altogether isn't uncommon. :(
I have been to a few rabbitries now where nails were never cut.
I've also seen injuries on rabbits feet from such overly long nails catching on things and ripping off, or permanently bent toes with nails grown upwards, which seems to happen when never cut nails are kept on a hard wooden surface.

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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SuburbanHomesteader » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:09 pm


Zass wrote:There certainly are commercial raisers with 80+ brood does though. Meat stock may require no brushing, but I do wonder how they handle nail trims for all those adults. :? I've also seen injuries on rabbits feet from such overly long nails catching on things and ripping off.


I have 40 production animals.

I weigh and clip brood does just before they go on a "date". That means toe nails are trimmed about four times a year. Bucks get weighed and trimmed 2 or 3 times a year. Usually when I take down their pens and torch and then power-wash them. (The pens, not the bucks.)

Trimming nails is probably my LEAST favorite chore. I had a doe rip off one of her nails once. Once is all it took for me - I just don't want something like that to happen again.

As for brushing my rabbits - I only have to brush my NZ's when they molt, thank Goodness!

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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Homer » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:22 am


bigfoot_158 wrote:
Interesting could you put pics up of it?

Sorry didn't see this last night. I'll "load" it up tonight and take a picture for you. I do this because I usually have to do this chore by myself and needed a way to hold them still and make it easy to get at those razor blades. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#9  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:22 pm


Zass wrote:Some count their brood and show stock only when discussing how many rabbits they keep, others count up all the kits.

80 rabbits could easily be:
10 breeders, and 8 litters with 8 or 9 kits each.

So the maintenance for 80 rabbits wouldn't necessarily be as nightmarish as it seems, because most of them will head to freezer camp or new homes well before nail trims or any brushing is necessary.

There certainly are commercial raisers with 80+ brood does though. Meat stock may require no brushing, but I do wonder how they handle nail trims for all those adults. :?

To be honest, it seems that neglecting rabbit feet altogether isn't uncommon. :(
I have been to a few rabbitries now where nails were never cut.
I've also seen injuries on rabbits feet from such overly long nails catching on things and ripping off, or permanently
bent toes with nails grown upwards, which seems to happen when never cut nails are kept on a hard wooden surface.




True Zass it could be just a few adults and babies. But I am more interested in how people keep up with 80 or more adults. As it seems once bitten by the rabbit bug, people start adding on different breeds of rabbits. Such I am starting with meat rabbits for the family but I have had customers asking about pet breed such as dwarfs. I am thinking of expanding to the pet breeds as well but only if they sell well and I can keep up with them.

I think no matter what you do with your rabbits whether it be meat or pet. They should be keeped in the best of conditions 24 / 7. I worry that I dont do enough for them. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#10  Unread postby akane » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:19 pm


I had ~60 adults and near adults at one point but they were 75% colony rabbits and toenails are less of an issue then. I never even counted all the kits at once during those 2 years lol
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Homer » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:24 am


Here ya go bigfoot_158. It's just a narrow 3 sided box I made for trimming.

Nail trimming box.jpg
Nail trimming box.jpg (271.19 KiB) Viewed 674 times


Add a towel so they don't get scratched..."No, I'm not happy about this." When done just scruff them and while raising them up a little roll them out towards their back feet.

Bunny in a box.jpg
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#12  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:12 am


Nice Homer I will have to give that a try. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Homer » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:12 am


The trick with using making something like this is getting it the right finished width. Just put a couple screws in it to try it out before gluing and screwing the entire thing together. Don't ask how I know. :oops:
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#14  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:47 am


Homer wrote:The trick with using making something like this is getting it the right finished width. Just put a couple screws in it to try it out before gluing and screwing the entire thing together. Don't ask how I know. :oops:



I was thinking, I know thats a bad thing to do. But if it were made out of better wood say 1 by and only screwed together the board on bottom, you could make several different sizes for different breeds. :)
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Re: Maintenance of large herds

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Homer » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:56 am


bigfoot_158 wrote:
Homer wrote:The trick with using making something like this is getting it the right finished width. Just put a couple screws in it to try it out before gluing and screwing the entire thing together. Don't ask how I know. :oops:



I was thinking, I know that's a bad thing to do. But if it were made out of better wood say 1 by and only screwed together the board on bottom, you could make several different sizes for different breeds. :)

You could... Mine was just thrown together out of the scrap that was handy at the time. Once I had it the size I wanted I glued it and stapled the daylights out of it a 1-1/2" gun.

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