Choosing to breed rabbits at home as an additional income, you can get delicious dietary low-allergenic meat, the quality of which will depend only on you, and good financial returns with established product markets.
Keeping rabbits does not require a large investment of money – with proper skill, the cages for keeping animals can be made by yourself.
The end product obtained from growing eared animals can be:
- meat – 4-5 kg from one individual;
- down – over 1 kg per year from a female with offspring.
You can also deal with the sale of young animals.
To begin with, it is worth deciding on the purpose of breeding rabbits and from this already make a start in choosing a breed. More than 200 species of these animals are divided into 3 categories:
- the largest amount of meat is obtained from meat breeds;
- good meat and high-quality skin give meat-skin breeds;
- skinny or downy.
Breeding rabbits at home will be profitable when choosing only healthy young animals for growing:
- dense pile with a characteristic shine;
- clean eyes;
- strong body;
- good body condition and mobility.
Make sure that the selected specimens have the characteristics inherent in the breed you need – weight and length of the body, skin color. Do not take animals that have at least one flaw:
- crooked paws;
- elongated head;
- protruding hips;
- ears with drooping tips;
- saggy belly or back;
- tousled or loose pile;
- signs of wasting or obesity.
Having decided to breed rabbits at home, you must take care of the correct arrangement of their home. Distinguish between closed content of rabbits – in rabbitries, and open – on the street in individual cages, pits and aviaries. Hardened, healthy animals are able to withstand up to 20 degrees below zero. You can combine methods of keeping, in the cold season, keep eared pets indoors, and with the onset of heat, take the cages out into the open air.
Young and mature individuals are kept separately. Youngsters up to 3 months of age can be housed in group cages. Then they need to be resettled due to the increasing aggressiveness. In the cage of a female preparing for motherhood, a mother box should be placed in which the rabbits will spend the first month of their life.
You can buy pet rabbit cages at the pet store, but it’s much cheaper to make your own. This will require:
- metal grid;
- wooden slats;
- plywood sheets;
- wooden beams or boards.
It is better to make the floor from wooden slats, keeping a distance of just over a centimeter between them. This will allow you to maintain cleanliness between cell cleanings.
There are cells that are entirely made up of a grid. They have their own negative and positive aspects:
- ease of maintenance.
- mesh floor can cause paw disease with prodermatitis.
A cage for a pet kept outdoors must be insulated.
Rabbit huts should always have clean water, so special attention should be paid to drinking bowls. They must be easy to clean and secured firmly to avoid tip-over. Be sure to install concentrate and root feeders and a hay nursery.
Taking care of your health
Strict adherence to a number of rules for keeping rabbits is the basis for maintaining their healthy condition:
- clean cages, feeders and drinkers daily;
- every 10 days you need to disinfect all equipment in the cages;
- maintain clean air;
- protect from drafts;
- carefully examine the wards.
If a sick individual is identified, it should be immediately isolated and a veterinarian should be called.
The associated vaccine has a complex effect, but you can also use a monovaccine purchased in a veterinary pharmacy. A veterinarian can vaccinate rabbits at home if vaccines are available.
Domestic rabbits eat almost everything that grows in the garden. Vegetables, freshly cut clovers, dandelions or alfalfa, as well as hay made from these herbs, should be grown away from roads. In the diet of eared animals, fruits and cereals should also be present – oats, barley or wheat.
In a year, only one rabbit with offspring eats:
- 412 kg of green grass;
- 107 kg of hay;
- 330 kg of concentrated feed;
- 120 kg of potatoes and other root crops.
Rabbits should be fed regularly at home, and hay and water should be constantly present in the cage. At the same time, the amount of water consumed per day is usually several times greater than the volume of food eaten. Animals will not live longer than 3 days without water.