Managing Rabbits Round 2: Weaning and Growing Out

This will be the last post in our re-posting of our Managing Rabbits series from 2013.  We have discussed Housing and Feeding, Buying and Breeding, Kindling, and Birth to Weaning.  Now I will share how we wean and grow-out our rabbits.

We begin weaning our rabbits at 6 weeks of age.  Like anything with raising rabbits, there are many opinions on the subject and you can find some people who wean as early as 4 weeks old and some who wean as late as 8.  We choose to wean at 6 weeks because it gives the kits a little more time with their mother but doesn’t take from our ability to re-breed her and have her on to her next litter (we re-breed at 5 weeks as long as the doe is in good condition, so she will have one week of pregnancy while at the same time still nursing kits).

We wean gradually over a 4-day period.  We find this has made it so we never have a doe get mastitis, and it gives the smaller kits time to catch up with the larger ones.  The litter size will control how many are weaned each day.  But we always wean at least two on the first day so no kits are living alone in a cage.  So, to give an example lets say we have a litter of 6 kits.  We would wean the largest two on the first day, then the next largest one on the second day, the next largest one on the third day, and the smallest two on the fourth day.  We find that by the fourth day the two kits that were the smallest when we started weaning are now comparable in size to their larger siblings because they have been given more time with mom and have had access to more milk with no bullying.  So if there were 8 kits it would be 2, 2, 2, 2.  If there were 10 kits we would do 3, 2, 3, 2.  If there are less than 5 kits we do it over less time than 4 days.  If there was 4 kits we would do 2, 1, 1.  Again, we never put one kit all by itself in a cage at this young of an age.

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During the weaning process we gently palpate the doe’s belly daily, checking for mastitis.  We continue this for about 3-4 days after all the kits have been weaned.  Mastitis feels like a large, hard lump.  It is usually very warm as well.

Weaned kits are fed unlimited pellets, hay, and water.  After a few weeks we find that we are having to refill the food and hay 3 times a day instead of just two.  We also put two water bottles on the cages with weanlings in them to keep up with their water needs and we are still usually finding the water bottles almost empty at the twice-a-day farm chores.  Depending on cage space, we split up litters to have about 4 weanlings per 36×30 cage (some of our cages are 36×36).  Sometimes, however, we have to have more than that.  We have had as many as 8 weanlings in one of the big cages, but man it was crowded and I wouldn’t do it again if possible.

Because of this, planning litters is a balancing act.  We like to have our litters born within a day of each other so we can foster kits if we need to, but that also means we have two litters worth of weanlings at the same time.  We have to make decisions based on how many weanling cages will be available, and what the risk of needing to foster is.  If I have two good, proven does then I will rotate their breedings apart from each other so there is no weanling cross-over.  But if I have a doe that isn’t proven and/or is a high risk doe I will breed her at the same time as another doe and then deal with the weanling cage issues when the time comes.  We have, at times, utilized a large dog crate for short periods of time for our buck to live in while we are growing out weanlings because we didn’t have enough cage space.  It works fine and is a good short-term solution.

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We butcher at 10 weeks of age.  There have been a few times where a litter isn’t up to weight until 11 weeks, but most of the time they are at a good fryer weight by 10 weeks.  I think this has to do with the cross-breeding and hybrid-vigor because most people I know that do purebreds have to wait until about 12-13 weeks to get to fryer weight.

Now I have shared fully how we care for our rabbits here at Willow Creek Farm.  I hope you have enjoyed the series!  Please feel free to post questions if I have left anything out.

Managing Rabbits Round 2: Birth to Weaning

We are reposting our Managing Rabbits Series from 2013, and today we come to the repost of our Birth to Weaning post.  There are minor changes made to the post.  Enjoy!

We have discussed housing and feeding, buying and breeding, kindling, and now we are moving on to management of a litter of kits from birth to weaning.  I finished off the last post discussing checking to see if a doe is feeding her kits properly, and with the question of what we do if we find that she is not.

First of all, we have never had a doe refuse to feed an entire litter before.  So I can’t speak on what to do in that situation.  However, we have had times where we find that one kit is not being fed and the rest are.  We have had two different outcomes when this happens.  First, we always try to force the kit to eat and the doe to feed them.  We do this by sitting on a chair with our legs out in front of us bent at the knees.  We set the doe on our lap, making sure she is fully supported and feels secure, and we get her calmed down.  Then we take the kit and turn it upside down and shove it under the doe, helping get its mouth to a teat (as in, we actually find a teat and get the kits mouth right to it while they are both in this position).  Most kits get excited and go right to work eating.  I figure this usually means that somehow that kit got bullied out of eating by the others and just needed a little help.  We have only ever had to force it one feeding when this happens and from then on we find the kits all full at every feeding.  There has been one time, however, where the kit would not eat.  It seemed weak and unable.  A natural culling process was taking place and that kit did not survive.

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Some people attempt the above force feeding with the doe on her back as it is easier access for the human.  We have never had success with that.

As for hand-rearing abandoned or sick kits: we don’t.  First of all we have never had a need.  We have been able to move kits over to be with another doe’s litter the one time we have needed it.  In addition, I have read that it is really difficult to successfully raise orphaned kits until they have reached 2 weeks or older and that under that age the mortality rate is very high.

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There have been several times that we have moved kits from one doe’s litter to a different doe’s litter.  It has always been successful for us.  We purposefully breed our does back to back so that we have litters born within 24 hours of each other for exactly the purpose of having the option of fostering kits if we need to.  We haven’t had any problems with our buck being able to accomplish this successfully.

One example of why we would want to foster kits is when a doe has a huge litter.  If the other doe has a smaller litter we will even them out so they are both raising the same number (or close to the same).  For example, if one doe has a litter of 10 and the other doe has a litter of 6 we foster two kits over so they each raise 8.  How do we do this?  We take two kits from one nest box and before we put them in the other nest box we rub them along the side of the new mother to help get her scent on them.  We them mix them in with the other kits, being sure they are nicely settled down in and not separated in any way.  We have never had a doe refuse the new additions.

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Fostering doesn’t work if the kits aren’t really close in age.  You have seen through my baby bunny growth update posts how fast they grow.  They are changing daily, so even 3 days makes a huge difference in the size of the kits.  They can’t be fostered if there is a difference in size.  Even if the mother would accept them it is likely that the bigger, older kits would get all the nutrition as they are more able to eat quicker and bully out the littler ones.  So we never have done more than 24-36 hours difference in age when fostering.

From birth to weaning the mother and kits are fed unlimited pellets and unlimited hay.  They (of course) have unlimited water as well.

At about 10 days we clean and replace the bedding in the nest box.  It is right before the kits eyes are about to open and we want them to open them to a clean environment to decrease the chance of infections.  To do this we put the kits in a bin or bucket lined with a towel (someone makes sure they don’t get out, their spastic movements can sometimes cause that).  We remove the fur and set it aside (picking out any yucky parts and throwing them away).  Then we remove all the hay and the cardboard in the bottom of the nest box.  We put in new cardboard, a bunch of new hay and push the hay around the make a round niche for the kits.  We replace the kits and cover them with the saved fur.

Around 3 weeks of age the kits will start coming out of the nest box.  But they often still use it for sleeping and warmth.  Right around a month we remove the nest box from the cage.  When exactly it happens is different for each litter.  When they stop using it and the cage is being crowded by its presence, we remove it.  In cold weather we leave it longer, hot weather shorter.  We let the behavior of the litter of kits decide when it comes out.  But it usually happens around 4 weeks of age.

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As long as the doe is in good condition, we re-breed her when the kits are 5 weeks old.  Longer gaps in between litters can cause a doe to have a harder time getting pregnant again.  But if she isn’t in good condition we don’t push her.  We give her a couple of weeks after weaning with unlimited food and get her back up where she needs to be.

At 6 weeks old we begin our weaning process.  I will discuss how we do this in my next managing rabbits post.

Managing Rabbits Round 2: Kindling

Liberty kindled her first litter last night!

What a perfect time for our re-post of our Managing Rabbits Series Kindling post from 2013.  To see the original post click here.  I have made some minor changes to the post for this repost.  To read the previous posts in the Managing Rabbits Series (Round 2) click on the links:

Housing and Feeding

Buying and Breeding

Now, let’s dive into rabbit kindling!

For those of you unfamiliar with rabbits, kindling is the word referring to them giving birth.  Cows calve, horses foal, pigs farrow, sheep lamb, and rabbits kindle.

I have discussed housing and feeding, and buying and breeding rabbits so far in this series of posts on how we manage our rabbits at Willow Creek Farm.  Now it is time to discuss kindling.

Our rabbit gestations have ranged from 31-33 days.  We have found that whatever gestation a doe has with a certain buck she will always have the same gestation when bred to that buck.  If bred to a different buck it might change, but rarely.  Of course, we always keep a close eye on a doe as she closes in on the date we think she will kindle, just in case something happens and she goes early.

We feed our does 1 cup of feed a day during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy.  The last week of pregnancy and after they kindle they are fed unlimited feed until the kits are weaned (how we handle weaning will be discussed in a later post).

We build our own nest boxes.  We make them 15 in. x 9 in. x 9 in.  We put a top on the back section to give the mama a place to get away from demanding kits once the kits are able to get out.  That little area measures 5 in. x 9 in.  The bottom of the nest box is not wood, it has screen material stapled onto it.  We then cut cardboard sized appropriately for the bottom of the box.  We cut several of them at a time and have them ready for when we need them.  They are used to line the bottom of the box over the screen.  This makes it easy to clean and sanitize the boxes between litters, and the screen allows any moisture to drain (if any bunnies urinate in the nest box – though yes it does get absorbed into the cardboard too).  Sometimes the mama chews up the cardboard and uses it in her nest building, which is fine.  But be aware: we did have one litter end up directly on the bottom of the box with no hay, fur, or cardboard between them and the hardware cloth despite an intricately built nest by the mama.  Unfortunately, on a night that the temperatures dropped to 35F they all froze to death because there was nothing insulating them underneath.  It has only happened to us once in all the years of building our nests this way, but it is worth noting.

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Champagne doe with her nest box

We put the nest box in the cage on day 28 or 29 of gestation.  We load it full of hay before we put it in.  Most of our does just eat the hay and ignore the box until they are 12 hours or less from giving birth and then they rush around using the hay to build the nest.  We keep refilling it with hay up until she kindles.  RIGHT before they give birth (and after they give birth as well) they pull fur off their bellies to line the nest with and cover the kits with.  If a doe doesn’t pull fur to cover the kits we will pull it for her and put it in the nest.  This doesn’t hurt them as something in their bodies allows this fur to be easily released for this exact purpose.

Sometimes does use the nest box as a bathroom in the days before giving birth.  This is annoying.  But this is the benefit of the cardboard bottom – we can change it out daily so that when the time comes she has a clean box.

When a doe is getting close to giving birth we check on her often.  Especially first-time mothers.  We do it quietly so as not to disturb them.  We usually try to plan to be home the day a doe is due (and for sure a first time doe) and we go out to the barn quietly every 30 minutes or so.  If she is pulling fur and seems to be in labor we will go every 10 minutes.  We do not mess with her at all.  We let her do her thing.  The reason we check on her so often is to prevent kits on the wire.

Almost every first-time kindling doe we have had (except two), and even some non-first timers, have given birth to at least one baby on the wire before she figured out what was going on and got into the nest.  That baby is unable to get into the nest and the mother is unable to put her in the nest.  It is not like a dog that can pick up the baby and put it where it goes.  Kits on the wire will freeze to death within 10 minutes to 1 hour of being born depending on the temperature of the cage.  The mother won’t cuddle it or try to save it at all.  This is why it is important to check so often, especially with first-timers.  If/when a kit is found on the wire we pull it out and check it over.  If it is alive we warm it up quickly by putting it against our body heat.  Once it is warmed sufficiently (and once there are more kits either in the box or having been warmed by us) we tuck it/them carefully into the nest with the others and cover them all with the fur.

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Newborn kits in the nest.

Sometimes a doe does not build her nest, does not pull fur, and gives birth to all the kits on the wire.  We have found in these situations that if we catch it soon enough and save the kits, build the nest for her, put them in the nest, and cover them with her fur, she will nurse them and take over mothering them.  That has always been the case for us, but I know a lot of people whose rabbits will just reject them entirely.  So they must be watched carefully to be sure they aren’t rejecting the kits.  Which brings me to the next step in this process, checking to be sure the doe is feeding the kits.

Once she has given birth and all the kits are tucked away nicely in the box we do a quick count and remove any stillborns.  We try to do this with as little distress to the mother as possible.  Then we leave them alone to settle until the likely time the mom will feed them.

Does only feed their kits twice a day.  They do nothing with them the rest of the time.  They hop in the box sometime in the evening (we have found that with ours that happens usually between 7pm and 10 pm) and feed them, then cover them back up.  They then feed them again in the morning (for us that usually happens between 6am-10am) and cover them up again.  That is the full extent of the mother’s time with the kits in the nest box.

So we check on the kits after what should be their first feeding to see if they have what we call “frog bellies.”  If a kit has been fed it is obvious as it will have a big, round tummy.  For the first few days we check the kits morning and night for frog bellies to be sure the doe has accepted them and is feeding them.  When we are checking we don’t even usually take the nest box out of the cage (though we have done that with no problems).  We pull it to the door and do our check right there with the kits in the box and mama watching.  We have never had issues with the does being upset by our checks or being aggressive with us.  But I have heard that it is possible.

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Not an ideal picture to see frog belly, but you can see in front of the back legs of this 2-day-old kit that the belly is sticking out a bit on each side. If you turned it over you would see a nice round tummy. That is what you want to see.

Sometimes you will find that one of the kits does not have a frog belly but all the rest do.  We will discuss what we do in this case, as well as go into how we manage the litter from birth until weaning in the next post in this series.

Managing Rabbits Round 2: Buying and Breeding

This is the second post in our re-posting of our popular Managing Rabbits Series.  In the first post we covered Housing and Feeding, which you can read by clicking here.  To see the original posting of Managing Rabbits: Buying and Breeding from 2013 click here.  There are slight changes to this post, but most of it is the same as the original.

Buying and Breeding

Now that we have discussed how we house and feed our rabbits at Willow Creek Farm, we will move on to buying breeding stock and breeding them.

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Young Palomino Buck

When buying meat rabbits strictly for raising meat purposes it is not necessary to get show-quality rabbits.  HOWEVER, when breeding animals it is always important to start with good, healthy stock or it could cause problems with your offspring.  We never breed animals with obvious defects, such as their tail being way over to one side or droopy.  While this probably wouldn’t affect our meat production, we don’t want to encourage bad genetic traits in our rabbits.

When we are looking at rabbits we hope to buy we always look at the health of the whole herd, not just the one we might buy.  We look for any signs of discharge from eyes or noses.  We look for shiny coats, clear eyes, obvious signs of healthy happy animals.  We look at the living conditions the rabbits are in…are they clean?  Have access to clean food and water?  Have enough light?  Are there a good number per cage, or are they overcrowded?  Is the air fresh or heavy with ammonia?  We have no problem walking away from a sale if the rabbits aren’t being raised right.  There are plenty of rabbits available for sale and thus there is no reason to compromise on the health of the rabbit.

When buying new stock and bringing it home to our already existing herd we always quarantine the new rabbits for 4-6 weeks.  That means they live in a cage in a separate building from where our rabbitry is.  It also means we don’t feed, water, or handle the new rabbit and then go directly to the existing herd.  We do the existing herd first, and then the new one – or we wash up between the two if we handle the new rabbit first.  This is definitely extra work but it is oh-so-important.  I have heard of people who lost their entire herd (almost 100 rabbits) to an illness brought in by one new bunny.  Quarantine is necessary and important!

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Champagne D’ Argent Doe

When we first decided to raise meat rabbits we went to the county fair and approached some 4H-ers in the rabbit area and started asking questions.  We quickly found two girls, who showed their meat rabbits in 4H and had some young ones for sale.  They had both Champagne D’ Argents and Palominos.

Because we raise our rabbits solely for meat and not show we almost always cross-breed them.  This causes first generation hybrid vigor and our offspring grow faster and get bigger than either parent would.  So we started with 2 Palomino does and 1 Champagne buck.  That was years ago and our breeding stock has changed over time.  Another breed we found and fell in love with along the way was Red New Zealands, again purchased from a 4H kid.  Our current breeding stock includes a Flemish Giant/White New Zealand buck, two Rex/Silver Fox does, and a Palomino doe.  All our breeding at this point is (obviously) cross breeding for hybrid vigor.

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Red New Zealand Doe with cross-bred kits (buck was Champagne)

You would think that breeding rabbits went right along with the sayings about it and it would be simple and no big deal, but it’s not as simple as it seems it should be, and it takes first-timer rabbits (and people) a bit to get the hang of it.  Once the rabbit has had a couple of successful breedings it becomes much easier and they know just what to do and get to it quickly and with no problems.

The first thing to be sure of is that both the doe (female rabbit) and the buck (male rabbit) are fully mature.  This happens between 5 and 6 months of age in most breeds.  If they are 5 months old and you put them together and things aren’t going as planned it might be that the buck isn’t ready yet.  And if the buck does his job but the doe doesn’t get pregnant then it might be that the doe isn’t ready yet.  It is good to wait until 6 months to be sure.  Some people wait longer, but we have found with our does that when we have waited longer for a doe to have her first litter she ends up being less productive through her life and doesn’t get pregnant as easily.  So we do our first breeding no later than 6 months of age.

The next thing to remember is that you ALWAYS put the doe into the buck’s cage – never the opposite.  This has to do with territorial things and can lead to a big fight.  If it is the first time a certain doe and buck are being bred with each other we like to have a squirt bottle of water with us and ready in case a fight breaks out – you can squirt them and it usually stops the fight long enough to grab the doe and get her out of there.  But most fights are just spats and we have only needed the bottle once or twice because of major fights.  Once the doe and buck are on their second or more breeding together this has been totally unnecessary as they know one another and seem to do fine.

Once you put the doe in the buck’s cage there will be quite a bit of running around (usually).  They will do circles around the cage, or the doe will circle and the buck will sit in the middle spinning to try to keep up with her (which always makes me crack up laughing).  Then the doe will eventually settle and lay out a bit and the buck with mount her.  Now here is the strange part, that we had trouble with in the beginning – knowing whether the buck has finished his job or not.  We had read that he will “fall” off or “pop” off of her back.  Our first try ever the buck just kind of got off the doe and then the doe didn’t end up getting pregnant.  The second time we ever bred rabbits we saw what they meant in the books we read.  He will literally “pop” off of the doe (in a metal wire cage it is a loud noise as his back feet slap the wire hard) and sometimes he will fall over and just lay there like he is dead (but breathing, obviously).  Funny, I know, but true.  So if that doesn’t happen, then he didn’t finish his job and you need to let them keep going (unless he is young and then it might be that he can’t yet).  Once he has finished his job we take the doe out and put her back in her cage.

There are many opinions about how often to breed or how long to leave them together.  Some people leave them together for hours or even overnight.  We have never done that.  We have found the best results in size of litter and consistent pregnancies by breeding them once, putting her back in her cage, and then breeding them again 6-12 hours later and putting her back in her cage.  Another thing we do to help increase pregnancy rates and litter size is to give all our rabbits apple cider vinegar in their water.  We do 1 tsp per half-gallon.  From what I understand this help with the ph of their bodies and that helps with pregnancy.

Over the years we have had a consistent average of 8 kits per litter from all our different pairings and breeds.  We have, obviously, had litters with just 4, but have also had litters of 13, and overall when we look back on our records and do the calculations we have continuously averaged 8 kits per litter.

We have never tried to palpate our does to determine pregnancy at 14 days.  I’ve been told it is difficult to tell for sure and that re-breeding them if you think they aren’t pregnant is risky because if they are pregnant and you just missed it, it can cause major problems.  We might try it at some point, but for us we aren’t in a huge rush for them to reproduce because we are not a large-scale production business.  So for us, waiting the extra two weeks to see if they give birth or not is no big deal.

The gestations we have had for Champagnes, Palominos, and Red New Zealands and any crosses of them is 31-33 days (from what I understand different breeds can differ slightly from that).  Once we have them bred the waiting begins to see if the doe is going to kindle (give birth).  And that is what I will talk about in my next managing rabbits post.

Managing Rabbits Round 2: Housing and Feeding

This is a repost of our Managing Rabbits Series from 2013.  The original post can be found by clicking here.

The first consideration when starting with meat rabbits is housing and feeding.  It is important to have adequate housing and food ready for them before they are purchased.

We prefer to use the 36 inch cages, especially for our does, so that there is plenty of space for the mother and the kits to live comfortably until weaning.  The closer we get to weaning (especially with large litters) the tighter the living space gets.  I can’t imagine using smaller cages for the does with litters, it would be too crowded.  All of our cages are Bass brand cages.7

Our breeding doe cages also have extra wiring on them to prevent kits from falling out.  We used hardware cloth and wired them 3 inches up from the bottom all the way around.  Sometimes a doe will hop out of the nest after nursing with a baby still attached to her nipple.  That baby will then scoot its way all around the cage and can easily fall through the regular sized wiring on the rabbit cage.

Our first set-up involved stacking three of these cages with metal trays under each that slid out.

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While that was a very functional set-up there was one major thing that didn’t work for us.  The metal trays are 36×30 to accommodate the cage.  When you add in the shavings, pee, and poop – that becomes a very heavy and very awkward tray to pull out, balance, and clean.  It was a job that I could barely do, and the kids definitely couldn’t do it.  So it became my husband’s responsibility because he was the only one who could manage the trays.

We built our new rabbitry back in 2013 and love it.  The older kids, my husband, or I can all clean it no problem.  Here is the new set-up:

102_9319We used the same cages and mounted them on the wall with slanted metal shelves under them and a gutter in the front.  You can read more specifics here.

As far as housing goes, rabbits are very tolerant of cold temperatures as long as they have a way to get out of the wind.  Our rabbitry is inside the barn, which has gotten very cold at times (-10F).  We have given them wooden house boxes inside their cages in which to snuggle in when the temperatures are cold, but they have all rejected them (even when it was extremely cold) and prefer just a piece of wood on the floor of their cage.  When it gets cold we give them extra hay on and around their wooden slab to help keep them warm.  This is not to say that someone shouldn’t provide a housing box for their bunnies in cold weather, especially if their hutches are outside.  I’m just sharing what we have found with our rabbits.

Rabbits are not tolerant of heat as they are with cold.  They overheat easily and it can negatively affect their reproductive abilities and their health.  Because of the location of our rabbitry it rarely gets much over 80-85.  But we still utilize cooling bottles when it gets hot to help the rabbits stay in their optimum health and performance.  A cooling bottle is just a disposable plastic water bottle that we fill 3/4 full of water and freeze.  We place one in each cage for them to lay next to.  On really hot days we give them one in the morning, then switch it out with a new one mid afternoon once the first one is thawed.

Feeding and Watering

We use J-Feeders with mesh bottoms for our rabbit’s pellets, and large water bottles.  You can see them in the above pictures.  Does with litters and growing rabbits receive unlimited pellets.  Does without litters (including pregnant does until the last week of pregnancy), and bucks get approximately 1 cup of pellets per day.  We are constantly checking our rabbits’ size and we adjust the amount of pellets accordingly.  Bucks tend to get fat lying around all day and breeding occasionally and an overweight buck will not be very fertile.  And does can go either way – getting too overweight (which affects their fertility as well) or getting underweight due to over-breeding.  We are careful to keep track of our rabbits’ condition and feed them accordingly.  We also give does that seem to be struggling to keep weight on a break from breeding until they are in optimum condition.  We use breeding ration or show ration pellets depending on the situation.

Additionally, we feed our rabbits hay.  This is a very controversial topic in the rabbit world.  There are those who believe you will literally kill your rabbit if you feed it hay and there are those that believe that rabbits should have unlimited access to hay.  We are discussing grass hay here – NOT alfalfa.  We have always given our rabbits daily hay.  I wouldn’t say it is unlimited, but we don’t measure it either.  We give them a big handful, and if it is a cage full of kits that are old enough to eat hay it ends up being more based on how many kits there are.  We have never had any rabbits die from this, and we have had excellent health and reproduction in our rabbits.  We believe that this is a good (and more natural) way to feed our rabbits.  They really enjoy their hay and go right to work on it as soon as we put it in their cage each day.

As with any feed change, if we buy an adult rabbit that hasn’t had hay we introduce it slowly and carefully they adjust fine.

We make sure our rabbits have constant access to fresh water.  Even when it is freezing – we rotate the bottles and thaw them.  Does with large litters get a second water bottle on their cage once the babies are a few weeks old.  One water bottle can’t keep up with a large litter once they start drinking water.  And the weaning cages also get two water bottles.  For our breeding animals we add 1tsp apple cider vinegar per half-gallon of water.  We originally read about this and tried it out and then did without it and we have found through our small-scale experimenting that this increases our litter size.  I believe it has to do with neutralizing the ph of their reproductive tract and thus making it a more hospitable environment.

That is how we handle housing and feeding our rabbits at Willow Creek Farm.  If you have any questions or want more specifics on any of this please leave a comment and I will answer.