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Rabbitprogram Essentials


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  • 1. Rabbit Essentials Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 2. Topics to Discuss
    • The following topics will be discussed:
    • General Information
    • Selection
    • Validation
    • Facilities and Equipment
    • Feeding
    • Health
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 3. General Information
    • Rabbits typically shown as meat pens and fryers
    • Consult rules to see if meat pens can be purchased from breeder or must be raised by individual.
    • If ordering rabbits purchase four in case one gets sick or dies.
    • Contact breeder at least four to five months before the show.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 4. Selection
    • Commercial breeds work better for meat pens.
    • Medium in length with depth equaling width, showing roundness of body and firmness of flesh.
    • Most common used:
      • Champagne d’ Argent
      • Satin
      • Palomino
      • New Zealand (most popular)
      • Californian (most popular)
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 5. Selection cont.
    • Pens must be same breed, but do not need to be same sex
    • Must be mirror images of each other in appearance and weight
    • Weight is one of the most important things to consider
    • Must be balanced.
    • Most shows have 5lb. per rabbit weight limit
    • Most shows have age limits for meat pen (60 – 90 days)
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 6. Validation
    • No state validation for rabbit projects
    • See county rules for validation dates
    • If showing meat pens at Houston there is a validation date and exhibitors must own parents of pen.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 7. Facilities and Equipment
    • Hutches must be protected from the elements.
    • Each rabbit requires its own hutch
    • Meat pens require two to four cages
      • Allows you to more closely monitor feeding
    • Meat pen sized rabbits needs a 24 in. X 24 in. wire mesh cage.
    • Commercial breeders need 24 in. X 30 in. wire mesh cage.
    • Does and bucks need 24 in. X 24 in. wire mesh cages
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 8. Facilities and Equipment
    • Sides should be made out of 2 in. X 1 in. wire mesh and the bottoms should be made of ½ X 1 in. wire mesh.
    • All hutches should be under roof
    • Side walls will be needed in most rabbitries
    • Not as important to keep rabbits warm as it is to keep them dry and out of wind
    • Must keep them well ventilated and clean
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 9. Facilities and Equipment
    • Use j-feeders to feed rabbits
    • For watering can use heavy crock bowls, water bottles, or an automatic watering system.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 10. Feeding
    • Many feeds to choose from
    • Recommended to use a 16% protein feed.
    • Works well for all stages of development.
    • When feeding meat pens start out by feeding as much as they can eat and adjust their feed as they get close to the show.
    • Chart weight gain
    • Can use steamed rolled oats or steamed rolled barley as filler when adjusting feed
    • Also do a good job of hardening muscle on rabbits.
    • Most important thing to remember when feeding rabbits is have fresh water
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 11. Health
    • Most important thing to keep rabbits healthy is provide clean environment with plenty of food and water.
    • No vaccinations needed
    • Consult local veterinarian if health problem does come up.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 12. Conclusions
    • All aspects of the selection process should be understood.
    • Proper facilities should be available.
    • Proper diets and nutritional information about feeding rabbits should be identified.
    • Vaccinations are not necessary when raising rabbits.
    • Identify what breeds are used in raising rabbits.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development