Sunday, October 22, 2006
Raising rabbits are much cheaper, more efficient, and more productive than raising chickens.
1) A doe can produce up to 1000% her body weight in food per year.
2) Rabbits can be raised in confinement, whereas chickens need much more space.
3) Chicken reproduction is "light sensitive", whereas rabbit reproduction is opportunity sensitive.
4) It is much easier to raise food for rabbits than it is food for chickens.
5) Since rabbits are raised in confinement, it drastically reduces the threat to your herd from predators.
6) You can skin and butcher 5 rabbits to every chicken given the same amount of time.
7) Rabbit fur can be a separate barter item.
Rabbit meat tastes good too, some people say that it taste much like poultry. Rabbit meat is mild and savory, never gamy. It is extremely lean, making it perfect for cholesterol-reducing diets. Cooking with liquids keeps rabbit dishes moist and tender. If you're not minding your fat intake, you may want to choose recipes that use oil to maintain juiciness. You can look for rabbit recipes in wild game cookbooks, but most of these just rehash the familiar methods of stewing, frying and baking.
Besides providing you with meat, rabbits produce dung, which makes a good fertilizer. Rabbit skins and fur have many uses. A rabbit can be a source of instant cash in an emergency.
Rabbit meat contains 20% protein, which is higher than the protein content of pork (17%) and chicken (19%) although slightly lower than beefs (22%). In texture, odor, color and taste, rabbit meat is similar to chickens and hardly contains fat. It is easier to raise rabbits than chicken or pig.
1. For a start, one can raise two (2) females age 2 months (just weaned) and a male.
2. Select a good breed like New Zealand White and California White.
3. Select a young rabbit from a prolific mother that bears well and nurses her kids well.
4. Select an aggressive male, healthy, and without defect for breeding.
5. Each rabbit must have its pen or cage where it can stay quietly, not directly under the heat of the sun, about 8x10 sq.ft. or 2.5 ft x 4 ft x 2 ft high.
6. Separate the male from the female -- the rabbit likes its own private place -- undisturbed by others.
1. The rabbit is a vegetarian -- feed once in the morning and once toward late afternoon.
a) To supplement their diet, add:
soybean meal______________ 5%
copra meal________________ 4%
ipil-ipil leaves_____________ .1%
powdered shell or shellfish___ 125%
b) green leafy vegetables: pechay, mustard, lettuce, camote leaves, cabbage, young bamboo, winged beans, malunggay, and similar vegetables.
c) root crops -- camote, gabi, yam, potatoes, carrot, turnip, raddish
d) grass -- cut from the lawn, stems and leaves of soybean plant, eggplant, mongo, cadios, beans, etc.
e) banana peels, melon and watermelon peels (but not papaya or sayote)
f) burnt rice from the kettle, bread (no molds) toasted bread, etc.
g) always provide clean drinking water, frequently changed, especially if the rabbit is nursing kids.
At mating time, the female rabbit becomes restless, loses appetite to eat, and the genital is inflamed. Put the female rabbit in the pen of the male. If the male rabbit is placed in the females pen, the male might be killed because the female does not want to be disturbed in her place. The best time for mating rabbits is early in the morning (5:00 am - 8:00 am) or about 4:00 pm -7:00 pm not less than twice. Do not leave the female rabbit overnight in the male rabbits pen.
1. The rabbits pregnancy is from 28 days (if young) up to 32 days if it is matured.
2. When delivery time is near, the mother rabbit becomes jittery or upset -- it scratches the floor of its pen, scatters or disarranges it, pulls it own fur, and lays it on her nest.
3. At the time of delivery, the mother rabbit does not want to be disturbed. It becomes nervous, and so all disturbances must be avoided, like the presence of children, cats, dogs or others.
4. Do not touch the small ones within the 24 hours after birth because when the mother rabbit senses that her kids have been touched, she will abandon them or eat them.
5. If the small rabbits manifest restlessness, dissolve one-half (½) teaspoon Sulmet in a liter of water and let them drink this for 3 days. Terramycin powder will also do.
6. After 10 days, the small ones will leave their nest and begin to eat vegetables; when these are three (3) weeks old, they will eat other foods.
7. At this time, the mother rabbit can be mated again, and the small ones be fattened and eventually slaughtered -- about five (5) months old.
When raising rabbits, all important events must be noted, such as date of mating, delivery, nursing, first feeding of vegetables, and such others that will facilitate care.
Rabbits Are Territorial
Rabbits are extremely territorial. In the wild, rabbits' territorial behavior includes depositing marking pellets at the boundaries of their territory, chinning, urinating, and aggressive behavior such as digging, circling, and fighting. Wild males tend to defend larger territories while females concentrate on their nests. Thus, when introducing new rabbits, territory must be considered. What you are trying to do is eliminate the possibility for there to develop any territorial behavior in the rabbits. Use a water bottle (with the nozzle set on "stream") to break up any fights if they occur. It's best to spray the instigator before a fight actually occurs (watch for aggressive body language) rather than work on breaking up an existing fight.
Interpreting Body Language And Behavior
Rabbits have a language all their own. here are some tips on interpreting your bunnies hops, kicks and grunts.
Sniffing: May be annoyed or just talking to you.
Grunts: Usually angry, watch out or you could get bit!
Shrill Scream: Hurt or dying
Circling Your Feet: Usually indicates sexual behavior.
Spraying: Males that are not neutered will mark female rabbits in this manner as well as their territory. Females will also spray.
Chinning: Their chin contains scent glands, so they rub their chin on items to indicate that they belong to them. Same as a cat rubbing it's forehead on people and objects.
False Pregnancy: Usually unspayed females may build a nest and pull hair from their chest and stomach to line the nest. They may even stop eating as rabbits do the day before they give birth.
Bunny Hop Dance: A sign of happiness.
Begging: Rabbits are worse than dogs about begging, especially for sweets. Beware of giving the rabbits treats. Overweight rabbits are not as healthy as trim rabbits.
Territory Droppings: Droppings that are not in a pile, but are scattered, are signs that this territory belongs to the rabbit. This will often occur upon entering a new environment. If another rabbit lives in the same house this may always be a nuisance.
Playing: Rabbits like to push or toss objects around.
Don't Rearrange The Cage: Rabbits are creatures of habit and when they get things just right, they like them to remain that way. Rabbits often are displeased when you rearrange their cage as you clean.
Stomping: He's frightened, mad or trying to tell you that there's danger (in his opinion).
Teeth Grinding: Indicates contentment, like a cats purr. Loud grinding can indicate pain.
Warning: Don't let your kids play with the bunnies or they may not eat 'em at dinner time!
SOURCE: Sorsogon LGU, http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/lib2/rabbits.htm
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