In need of tips/tricks

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Rogers92

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I'm going to go ahead and apologize if this Is not is the correct place, or if this has already been posted. I've been thinking about breeding for a while now and was hoping to get some tips/tricks to help make this go easier. I do have a buck named Roger, he was a show bun but was sold to the local feed store and I just had to have him. I would like to do 2 different breeds. Smaller buns for pets.. and meat buns? Roger Is a big boy. Either a rex or nz? Not 100% sure. I would ask the feed store but they wouldnt be much help because they told me he was neutered. He is DEFINITELY not. I will post a pic of him if anyone can tell what he is that would be great too.

But anyways does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?
 

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ThunderHill

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Hi, @Rogers92 ! Welcome! If you haven't raised rabbits before, my advice would be to do a lot of research! There are so many good books and websites, YouTube channels, etc. with great info (RabbitTalk, of course, has so many amazing threads you can read through)! You can generally watch through several videos on a YouTube channel and get a pretty good idea of whether or not someone knows what they are talking about (don't believe everything you see on the internet). And if you aren't sure of something after doing some research, you are always welcome to ask questions here!

Best of luck to you!
 

Rogers92

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Okay so first I'm curious if I can house the bucks together outside in what used to be a chicken coop. I would of course make upgrades to it before hand (would like to build them each a hut, and dig about a foot down and line the bottom with something so they cant dig out. But some the research I've done says you can but some says you cant.

I would also like to know if it would be a problem for the does to be free roaming in the house while pregnant.

I have 5 kids and want them to be very much involved with the entire process. I have done alot of research and actually how I stumbled onto this website. But most want to know if there was something you learn along the way that would have been helpful to know at the beginning.

Thank yall.
 

Rabbits by Accident

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If you're new to raising rabbits, my advice is DON'T do a lot of research LOL ... there are so many misleading, confusing and downright WRONG sites with scary info - definitely stay away from any 'pet' rabbit sites, they will have you bringing your rabbit to the vet every week, worried about something.

Find a couple places that raise rabbits for meat and read their advice. They are less emotional and overreactive. Compare the info between them.

Ask questions here, you will get a lot of very good info from people that have a lot of real-world experience. Again, compare the info, read old posts to see who you want to listen to. (ha maybe not me ... don't read my previous posts, just believe me!! :) )

- Liz
 

Preitler

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Intact bucks together - short answer, no, not such a good idea. You might find some accounts that it worked, but that is extremly rare and imho not stable since hormones change a lot during the year, and when it escalates it escalates quickly. In nature bucks would drive rivals away - that is impossible in captivity, and the other buck not able to leave can be enough for a serious fight.
It might have a slim chance to work in a rather big, well structured space, and I think a bigger group would be easier than a pair or trio, but that imho is an expert level experiment. It also depends a lot on the individual characters, so nobody can give a blanket statement, only way to know for sure is to try it (and learn from the desaster ;) :D)

Does, on the other hand, if it is done right, establish a hierachy and pecking order, unless two characters are incompatible they can normally sort out an arrangement for living in a large enough space.

Not all pet sites are bad, lots of information there too, especially if you want them free roaming in the house. But yes, always be aware of the different viewpoint. I got kicked out from some boards for just mentioning that I'm breeding, but there are sites like Rabbitsonline.net that are perfectly reasonable. Of course I would never discuss recipes, dispatching or any meat related stuff there.

Intact rabbits as free roam house bunnys can be a challenge, and when they are driven by hormones this can be an unpleasent experience. I had my very first doe Fury in my apartment for 8 months, quarentine, sole Myxo survivor of 15 rabbits. She didn't leave any corner unmarked, turned all plinth into splinters and flakes - wood and PVC alike, started a tunnel straight into the wall, when I got a second "doe" in spring she got pregnant right away and had her first litter in my kitchen. Ok, granted, back then I knew very little about rabbits.

Now my herd buck and his spayed cuddlebun are my free range house bunnys, a intact buck alone was easier, but I don't keep any of my rabbits single anymore.
 
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Preitler

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That totally depends on your local situation, have a look at price levels on sites like craiglist, etc.. In my road alone we are 3 meat breeders, so selling them as lifestock is way more common. In or close to a town that might be different.

Mine are mixes from local farm breeds, I rarely sold one as pet. There would be enough customers for meat though, but that isn't worth it for me, too much hassle if done officially, I only rise rabbits for my table.

A neighbour breeds pet rabbits, but either way it's not something I would expect to get any money out.
 

Rogers92

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I'm not expecting alot of income to come out of this. More of a hobby that gets a bit of money too. I wonder if I can take them to a slaughterhouse type thing and they will pay me for the meat?
 

Rabbits by Accident

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I'm not expecting alot of income to come out of this. More of a hobby that gets a bit of money too. I wonder if I can take them to a slaughterhouse type thing and they will pay me for the meat?
I wondered that too. Or if how much they would charge to slaughter them for me :( I have managed to sell all ours, but someday I'll have to kill some. Not looking forward to that.
 

Rogers92

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I wondered that too. Or if how much they would charge to slaughter them for me :( I have managed to sell all ours, but someday I'll have to kill some. Not looking forward to that.
I live like maybe 30 minutes from downtown fort worth so we dont live too far from each other, if I find a place that will do it I'll let you know and maybe it would be worth the drive?
 

MuddyFarms

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A couple things I can think of would be-

A thick apron and a pair of some kind of sleeves for your arms are helpful to avoid scratches! I like the Kevlar sleeves sold by rabbit companies, since they don't impair your hands' ability to work with the animals and actually do keep the nails from getting through to your arms. You could also make some kind of sleeves, too. These items can make things nicer, particularly when you need to enlist the help of someone who isn't so keen on getting scratched up (and children, too). :)

Spend time observing your rabbits, learning their normal behaviors, so you can more easily tell when a health issue is going on. Not like becoming paranoid about anything different or new, but just becoming aware of their normal!

If you decide to go with cages at some point: I do not like cages/hutches that are deeper than two feet. If I have the option to go with two foot cages, I do! It's often a pain to get the rabbits out of deeper cages and causes more stress on them when I am unable to catch them easily and quickly. The first cages I built a number of years ago were 2 1/2 feet deep and 3 feet wide. When I decided to buy rolls of wire for my next sets of cages, I bought wire for two foot deep cages. Those are so much better! I can access all corners of the cages quite well, even with little kits. I built them 2x3' and 2x4', with two doors on the 4' ones. (Disclaimer: lots of people use all sizes of cages and find them to work fine, and lots of times it depends on what building options you have for them to be in, too.)

Frankly, I am a research hound. It seems that if one does enough research and tempers it with some common sense, a ton can be learned from other people's experience, wisdom, and mistakes. I am glad you found Rabbit Talk; I wasn't aware of it when I first had rabbits, and I sure wish I had been! Always happy to see others doing research, too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

P.S. How long is your rabbit's fur? That could give us a clue to his breed, since Rex fur is much shorter than New Zealands.
 
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Rogers92

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I read that rex have a velvety coat. He definitely has the softest fur I've ever felt. I dont think it's long but I also have nothing to compare it to. I've been thinking about it and I think I'm going to convert my old chicken coop (which is like 20ft by 10ft) into a rabbit shed.. my hubby can build me the cages I need and everything.
 

MuddyFarms

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The length of a Rex coat should be around 1/2 an inch.

That sounds great! I used a chicken house for mine as well- actually about the same size as yours. It is insulated and works really well. The inside width of mine is about 7 1/2 or 8 feet, so the two foot deep cages enable me to have them on both walls and still have a little walkway. I couldn't space them very far away from the walls, so I covered the walls with a black plastic to protect them from the urine (very important!). Something I learned is that you have to keep the cages at least three inches away from the plastic on the walls or the rabbits can get to chewing it somehow. It is interesting figuring out how to hang up the cages. I found out about a way that keeps them very sturdy and unable to swing around. If you want to see pictures of how they are hung to get some ideas, there are some here:

 

MaggieJ

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My suggestion is to start small -- and keep it small while you learn. Two does and one buck are ample in the first year. Don't risk being overwhelmed with too many kits and being rushed into management issues you are not ready for.

I don't recommend keeping intact bucks together. There is a chance it can work if they are raised together from infancy and have a large space with places they can get away from each other.

If you decide to try bucks together, please have a "Plan B" in place beforehand -- such as extra cages ready to set up at a moment's notice. And be vigilant for small scale aggression that could lead to fatal fights if ignored.
 

Rogers92

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I was thinking 1 pair of breeding meat buns and 1 pair of breeding pet buns that would be smaller. Do you think that would be okay? I dont even have the pet breeding pair yet and will be getting kits so they wont be ready for a while.

And does anyone have and suggestions on how to get your children okay with atleast trying rabbit meat?
 

Rogers92

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Oh my that sounds amazing!! I wanna try smoking one on our smoker. And deep frying one lol. So many ideas!!!!
 

hotzcatz

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If Roger was some sort of show bunny, then he's a specific breed. Check the SOP (Standards of Perfection) put out by ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) and compare them to Roger and you should be able to figure out which breed he is. Then, possibly find a doe to match so you'll have purebred stock. Get a pedigree program - we use Kintracks here since it's inexpensive and has a lot of other good record keeping stuff as well. Keeping pedigrees and good records is AFAICT the major difference between breeders and amateurs.

As for making money, you can sell purebred pets - especially those that have been handled a lot since birth and are used to interacting with humans - for a lot more than a meat rabbit. Friend of mine routinely sells her pet buns for $150 each. She's got Netherland Dwarfs and Holland Lops, one goes for more money than the other, although I forget which. But, then you're dealing with pet bunny buyers who can be a complete mess as far as a rabbit owner goes. Last pet owner story she related to me was the folks who wanted a replacement bunny because their beloved pet mysteriously died after it had been fed a whole bag of corn. Candy corn, that is. She *unfortunately* doesn't have any more available to sell to them and I doubt she ever will. No worries like that when selling meat buns!

Also, to be a profitable breeder, you get to be the vet. Pretty much most rabbit problems can either be taken care of on the farm or culling will fix it. Usually that's not an option with a pet so they're willing (and seems even eager) to spend hundreds if not thousands at the vet to get their beloved pet repaired. If it's an eight year old rabbit, spending thousands at the vet just doesn't seem like a good idea IMHO, but it's not my pet.

The bucks can be housed together in an old chicken coop IF there's a wire wall between them. Then they can still socialize with each other without killing each other. If you have a herd of bucks and a large area, then they can co-exist relatively happily. I sold some rabbits to someone who now has a herd of about fifty bucks roaming in their yard. Well, half their yard, the other half is the doe herd. They're mostly English angoras, too, so it's fun to watch all the fuzzy buns hopping about on the you tube videos, but personally, I think it's escalated to a pretty crazy level. Should a buck get over to that side, the amount of kits could be horrendous.

For slaughtering, I have a friend who I give three rabbits to, he gives me two back ready for the freezer. That's just for our own consumption, though. If you were selling the meat, then look up the requirements for that in your state. Selling them as rabbits has a lot less restrictions, AFAIK.
 
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