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" Homestead Farms "
"Notes On Successful Rabbit Raising"
(information obtained from several sources)

Selecting Your Stock :

Research specific breeds and characteristics to ensure that you pick an appropriate breed for your purpose.
Look for a good litter weight at 21 days (385g per bunny). This will show you that the doe has a high rate of milk production and indicates the offspring growth potential.Choose bunnies weighing at least four to five pounds at eight weeks of age. Purchase does that consistently produce six or more litters per year and raise six to eight young per litter. Ask the breeder for records indicating sound health history. Make sure the rabbits have a good hair coat and strong , properly set teeth. Ensure genetic diversity in your stock and avoid excessive "in-breeding" by purchasing breeding stock from more than source. However if you do buy your stock from more than one breeder, BE SURE ,that the two breeders you are purchasing stock from have not bought stock from each other. This situation may cause you to purchase "relative" rabbits that were seperated by a previous sale between the two breeders and this is exactly the situation you are trying to avoid in the first place. If you buy from more than one source , however , the rabbits should remain isolated from each other for a minimum of three weeks prior to mixing to prevent the spread of disease.

Some Major Breeds And Their Uses :

Use this information in helping to determine what breed of rabbit will best siut your purposes. As you can see , if your looking for a rabbit for meat , show , pet , or some type of a 4-H project then you will find that some breeds are better for certain purposes.
Hope you find this information useful in your search for the perfect breed.

Breed Show Fur Meat Lab
Checkered Giant X X
Champagne D'Argent X X
Chincilla X X
Californian X X
Dutch X X
English Spot X X X
Himalayan X X
New Zealand White X X
New Zealand Red X X
Polish X X
Rex X X
Satins X X
Silver Martens X X
White Flemish Giant X

(ex:"Show" breed !)

The Importance Of Water :

Water makes up about two-thirds of the rabbits body mass. No other nutrient has as many functions. It serves as a solvent for digestion , transportation of nutrients and waste , regulation of temperature and lubrication of joints. Rabbits eating dry food in warm weather will drink 10 to 20 ounces of water a day. Clean water is essential for maintaining healthy rabbits. A deficiency of water will cause poor lactation and slow growth.

"Hutch Sweet Hutch" :

Place your hutch(s) in a sight with good drainage , lots of shade , sufficient surrounding space , and freedom from excessive wind. The shelter itself should protect from extreme temperatures and predators. Good ventalation is a must and help prevent repitory and other health problems in rabbits. Windows, curtains, fans, or open sided windows in buildings will help yo adjust temperatures. Lighting should be maintained at consistent levels for 10 to 14 hours per day. Strong enough to keep the animals breeding year round. Wire cages for medium breedsare usually 30" deep by 36" wide by 18" high. Cages are hung back to back , three to four feet off the groundin single tiers. floors are made with 1/2" X 1", 14 gauge welded wire. Top and sides are made with 1" X 2" 14 or 16 gauge welded wire. These cages can bought commercially or can be easily made by the rabbit breeder. A few extra cages should be built for growing bunnies, housing bucks, and isolationof the new stock being brought in from outside or for the use of isolating sick rabbits from the rest of the stock in times of treatment.

Cool A Hot Bunny--Tips on keeping rabbits cool in high temperatures.

Important Hutchkeeping rules :

1--Never loan bucks to others.
2--Isolate new rabbits from those returning from shows for 30 days.
3--Quickly despose of dead rabbits. I disease is suspected, disinfect equipment and burn droppings and bedding.
4--Clean and disinfect cages regularly. Don't allow droppings and moisture to collect cages.
5--Clean and disinfect the doe's cage before inserting a new nest box. Clean the cage again before the litter comes out of the nest box.
6--Be sure to wash and disinfect nest box(s).
7--Vacuum or burn hair that accumulates on cages.
8--KEEP WATER CLEAN ! , clean and disinfect water lines weekly.
9--Control flies with insecticide, If you use sprays, spray the rabbitry, especially the manure areas.
10-Keep the dropping pits under the cages as dry as possible.
11-Keep vermin out.
12-Have visitors disinfect their shoes before entering the rabbit building or enforce a "No Visitors" rule.
13-Be sure all rabbit stock has their own individual cage. Rabbits can and will cause serious injuries to each other if their are more than one rabbit in a cage that is too small for the both of them.

Feeding Methods :

Self Feeding-Place feed in hoppers from which they can eat until they are full. Feeding once a day, ussually in the evening, is plenty, but, it's important to feed at the same time each day.

Full Feeding-Hand feed once or twice daily, increase the feed allowance until the rabbit cleans up all the feed or has just a few pellets left at the next feeding. This way, the stock always has fresh feed.

Restricted Feeding-A lower than normal feed allowance is hand fed once or twicwe daily to herd bucks, dry does, and young breeding stock to prevent them from becoming over weight.An over weight rabbit has a lower reprodution rate.

(all of "Homestead Farms" rabbit stock is fed "Southern States" brand rabbit feed exclusively)

For information on what to feed and what NOT to feed ,Try these tips from
Faultline Rabbitry--Good feeding tips.
The English Angora Resource--General basics.
Good And Bad Treats--Great list !

Little Known Origins Of The Rabbit :

Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Cony, ( Also Nesolagus sp., Pronolagus sp., Caprolagus.sp) Hare Lepus sp. The domestic meat rabbit is derived from the common European and north African rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus. In South Africa, our ancestors may well have hunted the greater red rock hare, Pronolagus crassicaudatus, now found only in the Natal and Cape Province, as well as the still widespread Cape hare, Lepus capensis, and scrub hare, L. saxatilis. Obviously, when we radiated out of Africa and turned left into Europe, we found our familiar rabbit and similar hare (the European hare, L. europaeus, the largest of the hares). When we turned right into Asia we again found rabbits. There was an Asian rabbit, Nesolagus sp. (recently re-discovered and species yet to be assigned) in the forests of South East Asia, the related Sumatran short eared rabbit, N. netscheri; the Assam rabbit, Caprolagus hispidus, and others. No doubt Homo sapiens ate them all, as we diffused thru' the region. Evolutionary suitability to human nutrition: The rabbit is the only rodent we in the West eat regularly (hares are extremely rarely available in the market). Yet bush rats and various savannah rodents would have been far more likely to have been caught and consumed (along with other small game) by our ancestors than the prestiguous 'big game' animals. Accordingly, rabbits ought to be a prized component of a re-constructed 'evolutionarily correct' diet. Presumably because they were so abundant in the wild (thus the saying 'breed like rabbits'), rabbits were not domesticated for food until the middle ages. Rabbits have extraordinarily little fat on them, about 2%. While domesticated rabbits are twice as fat, at about 5%, they are still lean eating. Most natural modern production methods: The only commercial meat rabbits are those that are caged and fed pellets. As the rabbit is an herbivore, the pellets are comprised chiefly of plant material, particularly alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and grains. As the rabbit is so extraordinarily lean, there is unlikely to be much compositional difference between the wild and the farmed versions. Curiously, altho' rabbits can be in plague proportions in the warm temperate and temperate areas of Australasia, they are shot and poisoned rather than harvested for food.

I Hear The Dinner Bell ! :

Tired of the same old meats ? Chicken , fish , beef , pork , and seafood are all starting to taste the same to you right ? Well , then maybe what you need is to step into the kitchen with a whole new attitude and try something you may have never thought about. Rabbit is the answer to your prayers ! Below are a few links and to some of the best sites on the net that offer a variety of ideas when cooking with rabbit meats. Some of the ideas here will probably shock you when you realize just how great the taste of rabbit meat actually is , if you have never tried it before that is. So put on your apron and chef's hat and lets get in the kitchen , we're gonna eat good tonight !

Rabbit With Class !--Alot of great ideas here.
Ultimate Rabbit Recipe List--You have got to see this site !

This is a simple rabbit recipe ,but, if you try it , you will absolutly love it !

Barbecued Rabbit :
2 rabbits, quartered
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 Tbsps. A-1 sauce
5 Tbsps. ketchup
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce

In a medium saucepan, combine everything except the rabbit. Mix well and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook the quartered rabbits on a medium-hot grill, basting generously every 5 minutes with the sauce mixture, turning frequently. This should take about 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure to use up all the sauce because this is the what makes the recipe.

Is Rabbit Meat Healthy ?:

What It Has :
One 3-ounce serving provides all the B12 you need for the day, plus a small amount of IRON with its 170 CALORIES. It also has about 7 grams of FAT and 75 milligrams of CHOLESTEROL (300 is the recommended daily max).This is most likely the meat that inspired the phrase "tastes like chicken."

How To Select And Store :
Young or domestic rabbit has more fat than older or wild rabbit. Fresh rabbit should be refrigerated at no more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and wrapped well to prevent its juices from contaminating other foods in the refrigerator. Cook within two days. If you're not planning on eating the rabbit within two days, wrap it in moisture-proof material and store it in the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. As with chicken, frozen whole rabbit will keep for nearly a year; parts for about six months.

Combines Well With :
The B VITAMINS in rabbit complement the FOLATE in vegetables such as asparagus and leafy greens, while vegetables such as broccoli and sweet potatoes provide the BETA-CAROTENE and VITAMIN C that rabbit lacks. The iron in rabbit can also boost iron absorption from legumes and whole grains.

Smart Cooking :
Rabbit is usually stewed or braised on the bones, rather than roasted or baked. Adding a high-acid food such as vinegar or tomatoes to the stew will extract some of the CALCIUM from the bones. Be sure to skim off the fat to reduce the calories and health risks associated with too much fat.

What Is The Breed Of My Bunny ? :

This is one of the most common questions asked by new pet bunny owners, particularly if the bunny had been purchased from a pet store. Most pet store employees know little, if anything, about rabbits in general, not to mention how to identify the specific breeds, etc. Although it is impossible for a knowledgeable rabbit breeder to properly identify the breed of a rabbit without being able to actually see and feel the rabbit, we can, however, provide a basic guide for narrowing down the choices. Please visit this great data provided by to determine the breed of your rabbit.

What's The Breed ?--An extensive guide to determing your rabbits breed

LOSE MONEY...GET A RABBIT !!! (humor:author unknown) :

It begins with the free rabbit that your friend offers you. He thought it was a male, and was surprised to find that he now owns seven rabbits instead of one.

So you get the Rabbit Starter Kit (~$60). Then you buy all the rabbit books that the pet store has, along with $100 worth of Rabbit Treats and chew toys.

Then you find out that the books were written in 1950 and are mostly wrong. The Rabbit Treat is too rich for them. The starter kit is full of things like alfalfa and cedar shavings that are bad for rabbits. The bunny ignores the chew toys - what they really want is paper and cardboard.

You also discover that the cage you bought is inappropriate for rabbits and just about any other small animal. Moved by guilt, you purchase a better cage with a nice pan underneath ($85+).

You hear that rabbits can be litter-trained, so you buy a litter pan and kitty litter. (~$10) The clay litter turns out to be not so good, so you replace it with a flushable litter (~$5).

The paper and cardboard cause intestinal blockage which requires surgery ($500).

And their nails grow too long and you try to cut them, but the bunny amputates one of your fingers, so you pay a vet to do it (~$15 for nail clipping; $75 for YOUR doctor visit).

You discover that you have one of those rabbits which need their teeth trimmed, too! (~$15+)

Then he pees all over and humps your foot, so you pay to have him neutered (~$100).

Then he discovers your computer and chews through the power cable and printer cord (~$100).

He ruins your antique furniture and chews up the baseboards (~$a whole lot).

It turns out it is a she. She starts digging in the wall to wall carpeting, creating a huge hole. She eats the stuff underneath, requiring another trip to the vet for surgery. The landlord finds out and you are forced to leave, forgoing your security deposit ($300 and up!). That's not mentioning the new security deposit and moving costs....

The phone goes dead and you see the last of the cord disappearing into bunny's mouth. He eats the phone book for dessert.

You get smart and you rabbit-proof the house ($~100-$200).

And then he jumps up on your lap and rubs your nose with his. "Awww," you say, "It's all worth it."

Addendum..... Rabbit dies after 8 years of senseless destruction and you go out to get another because you miss having a bunny around. :)

And...Did You Know ? :

* Flemish Giants can weigh over 20 pounds
* Netherland Dwarfs are the smallest breed of rabbits
* A male rabbit is called a buck
* A female rabbit is called a doe
* Bunnies eyes open at 10 days old
* Rabbits ears help eliminate body heat
* Reproduction begins at 6 months
* Rabbits use their own fur to make a nest
* Apples and carrots make good treats
* Domestic rabbits should not eat greens.
* Rabbit chow and water is a balanced diet.
* Rabbits are not rodents. They are lagomorphs.
* Other lagamorphs include hares and pikas.
* A well cared for house rabbit that has been spayed
or neutered early in life has a life expectancy of
8 to 12 years of age.
* A group of rabbits is called a herd.
* A group of rabbits lives in a warren.
* Be sure to use only metal feed dishes,
rabbits will chew rubber and plastic dishes to shreds.

Facts You Should Know !--Important facts.

How About A Cute Little Bunny For Easter ? :

NO WAY !!! You may think that it would a wonderful idea to get your little son or daughter a cute little bunny rabbit as a neat easter gift for them right ?
If this sounds like you then stop ! for get all about that idea for minute and let's look at some facts. Owning a rabbit is a very big responsibility if you have never been a rabbit owner before. You find yourself driving down the highway a few days before easter and see a sign on the side of the road at the entrance to a rabbit farm that states : RABBITS FOR SALE ! and you think to yourself ," i'll get one for little "Billy Bubba Sue" and they will love it ! it'll be the best easter gift ever ! This sounds like a really cool idea and you may even get the "parent of the year award ", What a fantasy land you must be in . Easter holiday is probably the biggest time of the year for rabbit abandonment and mortality. If you have never owned a rabbit or ever had any experience with rabbits then you are in for a big shock when you realize what is envolved with owning one. It would be great to buy a rabbit as a pet for the little ones, BUT, first you need to plan your war before you decide to go into battle.

Becoming the owner of a rabbit is like that of he who ownes a dog or a cat, rabbits much like dogs and cats are nearly full time investments and require alot of attention. You don't simply buy a rabbit, give it some lettuce and water, and then put it in a box. At that rate your rabbit will not be with you very long. there are so many aspects of the rabbit that have to be calculated for the best possible conditions for the rabbit to survive and be comfortable and happy. To save alot of typing and repeated information on the net, we would like you to visit the "House Rabbit Society's" website for more in depth information on the subject of why you should not jump into purchasing a rabbit for the kids at Easter, even though it sounds like a wonderful idea the whole family would love. Owning a rabbit is great , but , be sure to do it the correct way from the start.

And remember to please visit the "House Rabbit Society" page here :
Bunnies At Easter: A Sad Story

(NOTICE: Homestead Farm Does Not And Will Not Sell Rabbits 7 Days Pre And 7 Days Post The Easter Holiday.)

Here Are Some Other Great Sites To Visit For Further Information On Rabbits:

IslandGems Rabbit Care Articles--Excellent information site.
Stibbar Rabbit Management Software--A great investment.
Bunny Master--A Great Record Keeping Application.
Pan-American Rabbit Science--General , but good.
Manitoba Rabbit Producers Association Inc.--Great information for the producer.
Benefits Of Backyard Rabbit Production--Good for kids and beginners.
Southern States Rabbit Feeds--Nutrition information.
Common Rabbit Diseases : Symptoms And Cures--The title says it all.
Showbunny Rabbit News--Good for show breeders
Maryland Rabbits--Wicomico County, Md. Coop. Extention Service

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