Losing the desire to keep going with rabbits

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rockyhillrabbits

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Urgh!! Excuse me while I bang my head into a wall.

I've been back into rabbits since March and have had 3 litters so far of Rex. Out of 9 babies that were old enough to sell I managed to sell 2. Went on a short weekend trip in June and a whole cage of growouts escaped and my mom and brother managed to catch all but 2, they were killed by the dogs. So I have 5 left from the first two litters and they are going on 4 months old and the biggest weighs 4 lbs 15oz. On top of that it looks like all 5 have either the worst case of sore hocks I have ever seen or I have rats or something that is causing sores on the bottoms of their toes and feet.
I advertise on craigslist, hoobly, and going to advertise on ARBA and the NRRC site. Facebook is not an option, which is where I made 95% of my sales a few years ago when I bred and sold rabbits. I also have a rabbitry website that gets a fair amount of traffic.
When I got back into rabbits I wanted to get Flemish but so far haven't been able to find any close enough or within budget. I need more cages and know for Flemish I need hutches but money is super tight and we haven't been able to get building materials.
The 5 I have left aren't going anywhere until they put on weight and I get the sores gone. The sores are my fault because I haven't pulled any out and checked them in a few weeks because it's just been too hot, but none of the adults have any issues. The grow out cage is sitting on cinder blocks, so low to the ground, which makes me wonder if I don't have rats or something trying to gnaw on them.
I just don't know if it's even worth breeding them because I'll end up with babies I can't sell. I don't have local rabbit shows and don't have the money to spend on gas for travelling hours just to maybe sell a $25 rabbit. I missed breeding and selling rabbits but I'm just not finding buyers and don't have the money to get the stock I want or the cages. Husband doesn't want me working right now and it would be very hard for me to work with my dad's health issues, and now my brother's issues. My mom doesn't drive and I do all the shopping and driving and we only have one vehicle. Without me working I know we'll never have the money to fix our own house so we'll be stuck living with my parents and brother forever, which is about as pleasant as a torture chamber. Life in general is looking very bleak.
 

MaggieJ

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No wonder you're frustrated, RockyHill. Sometimes life seems to kick you while you're down. A few things to consider:
1. If you eat the fryers you can't sell, would that help to make them pay for themselves?
2. Do you still enjoy raising them or would a break from it be welcome? (You could always start again later.)
3. Would you consider using a secure bait box to poison the rats? Or you could try the Plaster of Paris method, mixed half and half with confectioner's sugar, cake mix or something similar. Rats will attack rabbits through the wire floor. I had rats once gnawing away at my gander's foot until I figured out why a torn toenail was getting steadily worse.

I think if you consider these questions and others like them, you'll be able to see your way to a decision.

I can't offer any advice on the home situation, but I hope you won't have to endure it too long.
 

Graceful Rabbitry

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Do not give up!! I have wanted to give up since I started and have not because I have put so much into them and I would lose it all… the same with your situation… it seems like you need your own hobby with all the people in your house you need your own place to get away.. if rabbits just make it worse I would suggest getting rid of them… you need something that makes you happy and not stressed… but on the good side I have something that should help with sore hocks… use ceramic tiles I have them in all my rabbits area and non of them have got sore hocks and I have had them for about a year!! Hope this helps
 

Cosima

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I didn’t have good luck ether when I first started raising rabbits. the first two groups of rabbits I got died and half of the third group died but now I have three litters of babies and five adult. one of my rabbits also has sore hocks so if someone wants to explain how to treat it that would be nice but this might not be the right thread the talk about that.
 

Buknee

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Rabbits are great therapeutic animals. If you enjoy them, don't give them up.
However, since yours are so small, if you want them for meat, you might want to consider new stock. I have found beautiful rabbits on Craigslist for 10-25 dollars. Some owners just have too many and need their cage space so they sell them cheap.
 

Bunnies4me

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If you're struggling to get building materials, some businesses have pallets that they will be glad to have gone from their rubbish pile...if you're handy with tools and a saw, you may have free unlimited wood to use, and build your own cages. Maybe your husband would like a hobby of his own and build them for you!
It's not very fast though, it's not as ideal as proper wire, but I can't buy the recommended floor wire in my country, so I'm using wood because there's no other option. Besides that, I have Rex too, and they do well with wood - more protection.
 

JLM

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Rocky Hill, it sounds like you have a lot going on in your life, and I am sorry. Your mom and brother clearly rely on you, and your husband is concerned for your own well-being. As much as you want to pursue your interest in rabbits, maybe now isn't the right time. I have only one pet Flemish, and it's a big commitment, both in time and money to take care of her. I can only imagine what it must be like to run a good rabbity, especially with the economy being what it is right now. So, you have a few things out of your control - family health issues and a slow economy - working against you right now. Maybe, for your own health and the health of the rabbits, it's time to take a another break until things settle down a bit and you can get back to raising the rabbits in more ideal conditions. Take care of yourself, Rocky Hill.
 

rockyhillrabbits

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Thanks for the suggestions. The parents to these babies are all good weights, but these babies were born in April and we've had a very hot and dry late spring and summer. When it's 116 heat index, nothing eats very much. All they wanted to eat is hay, which I gave them plenty of.
I never said I didn't check them, I said I didn't pull any out like I normally do to give them a thorough once-over for the last few weeks because it was so hot. I didn't suspect any issues because I didn't see them walking around tenderly, licking their feet, etc.
The barn is my haven, my place where I go to get a mental break. If I sell out and quit now, it will be a permanent decision. Since I can't work, I had hoped to at least bring in a little money by selling the offspring. I felt really good the last go around, selling to kids who wanted to show, or to someone just getting started in rabbits. And to see the names of rabbits I produced on pedigrees years later gives me a good feeling that I raised good stock.
I had 3 ceramic tiles laying around so I put them in the grow out cage but I need to find more. I have been checking craigslist and the paper for tiles, lumber, cages, etc.
I put Corona ointment on the sores on the feet yesterday and told my husband we needed to do something different with that grow out cage; bring it up off the ground more or get more cages to put them in so they have more room. He's a truck driver and is gone during the week.
Last year I had a great job, in an office. I had weekends off and my paycheck was enough to help. Last August I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and just two days later I was laid off. I also found out after an MRI and the first D&C, my health insurance had been cancelled 5 days BEFORE I was laid off. When I had presented my insurance card both times they ran it and said it was good. But from those two procedures, my medical bill is $7500. I went through 3 D&C procedures between that July to December and was seeing a doctor at the Cancer Treatment Center in Atlanta GA. I had appointments just about every 3 weeks and every time my husband had to take time off to take me, so there were weeks we didn't even have a paycheck. In February I had to have a hysterectomy and physically I am healed and can do everything I could do before but cancer took so much from me.
In 2020 my dad had to have surgery to repair an aneurysm in his stomach. When he woke up in recovery, he was completely blind from a stroke he had had some time during or right after surgery. He also lost all use of his left arm and can't do anything. My mom quit working last year after she got really sick from the Covid vaccine. We moved in with them to help out with dad and the plan was to fix our house(needs new floors, windows, has mold in kitchen from leak, no heat or air working) but with my dad's disability and mom's retirement they have about $80 left after they pay their bills and once their food stamps were cut they depended on us to buy groceries, so after we pay our car payment and our bills, the rest goes to groceries.
Since my husband only gets home on weekends, he wants me to only work a Monday-Friday job and I have applied to work at the school as a teacher's aide but I never hear anything back and when I put my days available to work on my applications I'm sure it's hurting my chances when I can't work weekends.
So the last 2 years have been rough.
 

Graceful Rabbitry

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I didn’t have good luck ether when I first started raising rabbits. the first two groups of rabbits I got died and half of the third group died but now I have three litters of babies and five adult. one of my rabbits also has sore hocks so if someone wants to explain how to treat it that would be nice but this might not be the right thread the talk about that.
my first two rabbits had sore hocks when I got them and I put antibiotic ointment on the sore hock then wrapped the foot with self-adhering elastic bandage.. and it worked!!
 

MaggieJ

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Rocky Hill, I had no idea from your original post that you are going through such difficult times. If the rabbits give you an activity that lowers your stress, then you should certainly keep on with them if you possibly can.

I still don't know how you feel about raising rabbits for meat. If you are okay with it, perhaps you can help with your food costs by concentrating on meat rabbits. If you can add a few hens for eggs and grow vegetables and fruit, this can go a long way towards cutting food bills while still allowing you to remain at home. I don't know if this is a viable possibility for you or not, but my own experiences with homesteading activities were rewarding and sustainable. I'd be doing it yet if mobility issues had not interfered.

Wishing you much success and an easier row to hoe in the future.

~ Maggie
 

HTAcres

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I am so sorry times are so tough for you! I have just a couple thoughts - if you don't want to eat any of your rabbits, maybe re-evaluate if there is another breed you can sell. I have Tamuk and Rex and I mostly sell some Tamuk for breeders to help with feed costs. As much as I love the Rex, mine are not show quality and I raise them outside and haven't found a market for them in my area (at least not yet). We do eat growouts so that is okay for us. I have a rabbit friend who does Giants - she is now fully into Continentals. They are definitely pricey and I think she does quite a bit of traveling to sell them. But she also raises dogs and I think her trips are double duty. I see very big differences in location as to what breeds or types of rabbits sell and for how much.

One comment on the health costs. We don't have insurance so this is from a little personal experience. If any of the procedures were done without insurance, make sure to inquire (strongly) about cash discounts. This is sometimes a LOT especially at hospitals and with hospitals, the older the bill, they might be more amenable to discounting though every one has different policies - it doesn't hurt to ask and ask again. Also check to see if there are any special programs. Some hospitals are using up Covid funds that way or may have special Medicare dollars. Sometimes you have to keep going until you get to the right person. And if you have a good relationship with any of your health providers, see if they have someone in the office who can give you expert advice. My husband just had an operation that we had prepaid for but then ended up in the ER with bleeding and there was a lady in the surgeons office who helped me know who and how to deal with at the hospital.
 

rockyhillrabbits

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Rocky Hill, I had no idea from your original post that you are going through such difficult times. If the rabbits give you an activity that lowers your stress, then you should certainly keep on with them if you possibly can.

I still don't know how you feel about raising rabbits for meat. If you are okay with it, perhaps you can help with your food costs by concentrating on meat rabbits. If you can add a few hens for eggs and grow vegetables and fruit, this can go a long way towards cutting food bills while still allowing you to remain at home. I don't know if this is a viable possibility for you or not, but my own experiences with homesteading activities were rewarding and sustainable. I'd be doing it yet if mobility issues had not interfered.

Wishing you much success and an easier row to hoe in the future.

~ Maggie
I wouldn't mind eating the growouts, but with these, I'm afraid there just wouldn't be enough to mess with. They only weigh 4 lbs. I wanted to get Flemish and New Zealand and cross the two. Before when I did that I had fast growing grow-outs and never had an issue selling those for meat either. We do have chickens and haven't had to buy eggs in a while. The plan this summer was to grow a large garden but we don't have a tiller that works and the guy who was supposed to come till a place for us never did so maybe by next season we can find one. We have a pear tree and a plum tree in the yard and more pear trees in the pasture but so far none have produced any fruit yet.
 

HTAcres

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I wouldn't mind eating the growouts, but with these, I'm afraid there just wouldn't be enough to mess with. They only weigh 4 lbs. I wanted to get Flemish and New Zealand and cross the two. Before when I did that I had fast growing grow-outs and never had an issue selling those for meat either. We do have chickens and haven't had to buy eggs in a while. The plan this summer was to grow a large garden but we don't have a tiller that works and the guy who was supposed to come till a place for us never did so maybe by next season we can find one. We have a pear tree and a plum tree in the yard and more pear trees in the pasture but so far none have produced any fruit yet.
Our land is very difficult to garden as per usual. I have gone to nearly all grow bags or containers. We just bought some mineral tubs for $3 each from a nearby cattle rancher. If you use old branches or other untreated wood in the bottom (like hugelculture), it reduces the amount of soil needed. I mix some soil with rabbit hay (that is what comes out of my trays - hay mixed with poop). We throw some of the rabbit hay in the chicken pen and they reduce it to a nice texture. Anyway, just saying might be another avenue. I am starting fall seeds now - cabbage, kale, etc. And believe me, I have a brown thumb - if 50% of what I try grows, I consider it highly successful.
 

ladysown

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you know what I learned with four lb rabbits?
- they make excellent soup, stew, pot pie, pulled rabbit etc.
- snake people want them if you can find a way to advertise them (preferably culled first).
- see if you can sell their manure (particularly if you can find a way to separate the berries from anything else).
- depending on where you live, the parts we don't eat can be sold to crab/fisher-men, raw food people, or be used to feed other animals if you own them.

You must might need to expand your ideas on the usefulness of rabbits. :)

But honestly, what with post-covid going on and animals being dumped, it is hard to sell older rabbits.
 

Missy's Mom

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Thanks for the suggestions. The parents to these babies are all good weights, but these babies were born in April and we've had a very hot and dry late spring and summer. When it's 116 heat index, nothing eats very much. All they wanted to eat is hay, which I gave them plenty of.
I never said I didn't check them, I said I didn't pull any out like I normally do to give them a thorough once-over for the last few weeks because it was so hot. I didn't suspect any issues because I didn't see them walking around tenderly, licking their feet, etc.
The barn is my haven, my place where I go to get a mental break. If I sell out and quit now, it will be a permanent decision. Since I can't work, I had hoped to at least bring in a little money by selling the offspring. I felt really good the last go around, selling to kids who wanted to show, or to someone just getting started in rabbits. And to see the names of rabbits I produced on pedigrees years later gives me a good feeling that I raised good stock.
I had 3 ceramic tiles laying around so I put them in the grow out cage but I need to find more. I have been checking craigslist and the paper for tiles, lumber, cages, etc.
I put Corona ointment on the sores on the feet yesterday and told my husband we needed to do something different with that grow out cage; bring it up off the ground more or get more cages to put them in so they have more room. He's a truck driver and is gone during the week.
Last year I had a great job, in an office. I had weekends off and my paycheck was enough to help. Last August I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and just two days later I was laid off. I also found out after an MRI and the first D&C, my health insurance had been cancelled 5 days BEFORE I was laid off. When I had presented my insurance card both times they ran it and said it was good. But from those two procedures, my medical bill is $7500. I went through 3 D&C procedures between that July to December and was seeing a doctor at the Cancer Treatment Center in Atlanta GA. I had appointments just about every 3 weeks and every time my husband had to take time off to take me, so there were weeks we didn't even have a paycheck. In February I had to have a hysterectomy and physically I am healed and can do everything I could do before but cancer took so much from me.
In 2020 my dad had to have surgery to repair an aneurysm in his stomach. When he woke up in recovery, he was completely blind from a stroke he had had some time during or right after surgery. He also lost all use of his left arm and can't do anything. My mom quit working last year after she got really sick from the Covid vaccine. We moved in with them to help out with dad and the plan was to fix our house(needs new floors, windows, has mold in kitchen from leak, no heat or air working) but with my dad's disability and mom's retirement they have about $80 left after they pay their bills and once their food stamps were cut they depended on us to buy groceries, so after we pay our car payment and our bills, the rest goes to groceries.
Since my husband only gets home on weekends, he wants me to only work a Monday-Friday job and I have applied to work at the school as a teacher's aide but I never hear anything back and when I put my days available to work on my applications I'm sure it's hurting my chances when I can't work weekends.
So the last 2 years have been rough.
How could they cancel your insurance before they terminated you? That sounds illegal. Do you have paperwork that states the date of your termination? If I were you I would call my state representative and ask them to help you get to the bottom of it. (the people elected to your state legislature from your district.) Hang in there!
 

Big Mac

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Our land is very difficult to garden as per usual. I have gone to nearly all grow bags or containers. We just bought some mineral tubs for $3 each from a nearby cattle rancher. If you use old branches or other untreated wood in the bottom (like hugelculture), it reduces the amount of soil needed. I mix some soil with rabbit hay (that is what comes out of my trays - hay mixed with poop). We throw some of the rabbit hay in the chicken pen and they reduce it to a nice texture. Anyway, just saying might be another avenue. I am starting fall seeds now - cabbage, kale, etc. And believe me, I have a brown thumb - if 50% of what I try grows, I consider it highly successful.
The reason to put branches in the bottom of your beds or containers is the branches soak up water and hold moisture for your plants, will help by having roots go deeper away from the hot soil near the surface. This cellulose material is the reason mulch works to do the same thing. The branches still work much the same way as they did when on a living plant the little channels pull moisture by capillary action , when alive this is facilitated by transpiration from the leaves. The Indians figured this out long ago. If you have difficulty with your garden, ask GOD to help, and with GOD’S help you will have the best garden ever.
it works for me every year.
 
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Big Mac

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The reason to put branches in the bottom of your beds or containers is the branches soak up water and hold moisture for your plants, will help by having roots go deeper away from the hot soil near the surface. This cellulose material is the reason mulch works to do the same thing. The branches still work much the same way as they did when on a living plant the little channels pull moisture by capillary action , when alive this is facilitated by transpiration from the leaves. The Indians figured this out long ago.
Urgh!! Excuse me while I bang my head into a wall.

I've been back into rabbits since March and have had 3 litters so far of Rex. Out of 9 babies that were old enough to sell I managed to sell 2. Went on a short weekend trip in June and a whole cage of growouts escaped and my mom and brother managed to catch all but 2, they were killed by the dogs. So I have 5 left from the first two litters and they are going on 4 months old and the biggest weighs 4 lbs 15oz. On top of that it looks like all 5 have either the worst case of sore hocks I have ever seen or I have rats or something that is causing sores on the bottoms of their toes and feet.
I advertise on craigslist, hoobly, and going to advertise on ARBA and the NRRC site. Facebook is not an option, which is where I made 95% of my sales a few years ago when I bred and sold rabbits. I also have a rabbitry website that gets a fair amount of traffic.
When I got back into rabbits I wanted to get Flemish but so far haven't been able to find any close enough or within budget. I need more cages and know for Flemish I need hutches but money is super tight and we haven't been able to get building materials.
The 5 I have left aren't going anywhere until they put on weight and I get the sores gone. The sores are my fault because I haven't pulled any out and checked them in a few weeks because it's just been too hot, but none of the adults have any issues. The grow out cage is sitting on cinder blocks, so low to the ground, which makes me wonder if I don't have rats or something trying to gnaw on them.
I just don't know if it's even worth breeding them because I'll end up with babies I can't sell. I don't have local rabbit shows and don't have the money to spend on gas for travelling hours just to maybe sell a $25 rabbit. I missed breeding and selling rabbits but I'm just not finding buyers and don't have the money to get the stock I want or the cages. Husband doesn't want me working right now and it would be very hard for me to work with my dad's health issues, and now my brother's issues. My mom doesn't drive and I do all the shopping and driving and we only have one vehicle. Without me working I know we'll never have the money to fix our own house so we'll be stuck living with my parents and brother forever, which is about as pleasant as a torture chamber. Life in general is looking very bleak.
Watch craigs list for free wood to build with, ask around, you might be able to swap rabbits for materials. Your rabbits are essential for your garden, I have eleven just for the purpose of producing fertilizer for my garden. The rabbit is more valuable alive producing what GOD intended than on the dinner table.
if I eat a rabbit I get one meal, but his manure feeds the soil and produces food for everyone including the rabbit. The rabbit , and earth worms are GOD‘S way of replenishing the soil, and there by feeding the plants, which in turn feed us. It is a beautiful thing, and so true.
 

HTAcres

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The reason to put branches in the bottom of your beds or containers is the branches soak up water and hold moisture for your plants, will help by having roots go deeper away from the hot soil near the surface. This cellulose material is the reason mulch works to do the same thing. The branches still work much the same way as they did when on a living plant the little channels pull moisture by capillary action , when alive this is facilitated by transpiration from the leaves. The Indians figured this out long ago. If you have difficulty with your garden, ask GOD to help, and with GOD’S help you will have the best garden ever.
it works for me every year.
Thank you! I didn't mean to imply by omission that that was all there was to hugelculture. My mind was set on the frugal part of it. I definitely need the moisture holding properties as well for sure. And yes, the gardening is one time God hears frequent requests for direction from me.
 
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