Regardless of the size of the farm (farm or homestead), special cages are built for rabbits. It is precisely because of this that feed is being properly consumed, breeding is being successfully carried out, and it is much easier for farm owners to monitor animal health and conduct preventive measures in a timely manner.
This article will describe the main features and methods of keeping rabbits. You will also find photos and drawings of cages for growing livestock in summer and winter.
Keeping rabbits at home
Care and maintenance of rabbits plays a very important role in the development of animals and obtaining high-quality meat and fur. Observing certain rules of keeping, you can not only raise productive animals, but also prevent the development of diseases.
Humidity and lighting
The paws and ears of animals are very sensitive to frostbite, but high temperatures negatively affect the health of animals. In rabbitry, you need to maintain a stable temperature at 12-18 degrees.
Note: Adults can withstand severe cold or heat, but only for several days. If extreme temperatures last longer, animals will fall ill and die.
In addition, the room should have an optimal level of humidity, since with excessive dryness or humidity in animals, diseases develop and productivity decreases. Drafts are also dangerous, therefore, all gaps in the premises should be closed.
In the summer, the room should have natural light, but if the weather is too hot, the cells need to be dimmed, and special canopies should be equipped on open ranges. In winter, natural lighting must be supplemented with artificial.
Hygiene and nutrition
These animals are very demanding on hygienic conditions of keeping and feeding. The room must be well ventilated, and the interior is regularly cleaned of manure, wool and feed residues. This condition plays a particularly important role in keeping rabbits at home indoors.
Note: To comply with hygiene requirements, the cells are cleaned twice a week, and drinkers and feeders daily.
Equally important is the observance of hygiene requirements when feeding and drinking livestock. Water should be clean and should be changed daily. Fresh grass, which is given to animals as feed, is pre-washed under running water, and then slightly wilted. Any feed should be laid out only in the feeders, as food will be contaminated on the floor. Before issuing a fresh portion of feed, the remnants of food are removed from the container.
When feeding, preference should be given to juicy seasonal feeds, and in winter to supplement the diet with root crops, high-quality hay and special compound feeds.
Prevention of injuries and diseases
Rabbits are very easily injured, so the cells must be made so that there are no sharp corners. In addition, with the simultaneous maintenance of several individuals in cramped cells between animals, fights arise. To avoid this, only individuals of the same age should be placed at the same time. New animals cannot be planted later.
When buying new animals, they must be quarantined for a month, avoiding contact with the rest of the livestock. In addition, at the first signs of malaise, the animal is isolated from the rest until the exact cause of the disease is determined and treatment is completed. Cells are disinfected several times a year by special means or a blowtorch. Disinfection is also carried out during the transplantation of new individuals or after the treatment of diseases.
Ways to keep rabbits
There are several ways to keep rabbits in the homestead. Animals can reside in cages or in an aviary. They can also be kept in pits and free range. Rodents independently dig holes in pits, and meat quality improves. But with this method of keeping, the quality of the fur deteriorates, so it is not suitable for breeding animals to obtain fur.
Rabbit cages for beginners
There are several types of rabbit cages:
- In warm climates, they can be installed outdoors (for example, in the yard);
- In cold regions, structures are installed indoors;
- There is also a combined type of upkeep: in summer the animals are outdoors, and in winter indoors.
Each type has some nuances. So, if the cells are in the yard, you should not allow drafts to be nearby. In addition, rabbits do not tolerate high and low humidity.
Figure 1. Cell location
Humidity is considered to be the most optimal, not higher than 75%, although even with humidity below 50%, animals will feel bad. Also, cells should not be allowed to be in wetlands, where fogs often occur.
Examples of the location of cells in an open area are shown in Figure 1. If they are placed in a barn or any other room, care should also be taken to ensure that the room always has clean and sufficiently moist air. Other indoor cell placement requirements include (figure 2):
- They can be placed in several tiers in two rows, with facades to each other;
- Between the rows you need to leave a passage;
- The ends must be covered with shields so that there are no drafts inside;
- Electric lighting is carried out in the cells, since the average length of daylight to ensure high productivity and normal development of the livestock should be about 10 hours a day;
- When choosing a cell type, one needs to focus not only on climatic conditions, but also on the breed and size of the animals.
Figure 2. Drawing and photo of cells
For example, for adult animals of down and meat-skinned breeds, one- or two-section cages can be equipped. The optimal length ranges from 110 to 130 centimeters, respectively, but if there are enough building materials, the length can be increased to one and a half meters.
When equipping cages for group keeping of young animals, it is important to calculate the number of animals that will be in it. Based on this quantity and calculate the length and width.
Note: Approximately 0.7 square meters of space should be per adult, and in case of group content this indicator is 0.1 square meters. meters (for cells with a mesh floor) and 0.3 square meters. meter (with wooden floor).
Young individuals intended for breeding and sale can also be kept in ordinary cages for adults. In this case, the number of animals should be as follows:
It is worth noting that the females are kept together only until the beginning of the period of succession, and then they are seated. Males can be kept in groups only up to three months of age. However, in winter, they are also grouped, and in the summer they are separated.
Group content significantly reduces the quality of the skins in males. Therefore, if the farm does not have enough space for individual maintenance, only males intended for skins are planted in individual cells. An important role is given to mating animals. How to get it right. watch in the video.
Drinking bowls for rabbits
In the front of each cell, you need to install built-in feeders for root crops and concentrates, as well as drinking bowls. This design greatly facilitates the care of animals. On top of the feeder, a metal crab is made with transverse partitions so that the suckling cubs do not climb into the feeder. You should also protect the drinker.
For the delivery of grain and granules, it is advisable to install bunker self-feeders, in which the feed supply is replenished once a day (Figure 3). You can also find out the detailed device of the hopper feeder from the video.
Note: Some rabbit breeders advise laying the amount of feed calculated for several days at once. However, this is not recommended, since in this case the animal’s diet is disturbed and feed consumption increases.
If there are no built-in drinkers, you can use plug-in drinkers. However, they must be of a stable design so that animals cannot overturn them, as well as being easy to wash. For example, cans or clay cups fixed to the floor or wall (hook, nail or any other method) can be used for these purposes.
Figure 3. Feeding troughs (from left to right): bunker (drawing and photo), hay and fenced feeder for young animals
For young animals, which are kept in the summer on the walks, you need to equip a nursery with a gable hinged lid. The distance between the rods should be approximately 3 centimeters. For the issuance of concentrated feed on the ranges, equip a trough in the form of a trough with partitions and a group drinking bowl of the same design.
Do-it-yourself drinking bowls for rabbits can be done automatically, using a tank and a float for this. Thanks to the float in the drinking bowl, a stable water level is constantly maintained. Often drinking bowls are made independently from improvised materials: plastic bottles or cans (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Examples of home-made drinkers
From other equipment, the owner of the household will also need a small cart for transporting feed, as well as equipment for cleaning and cleaning: a rake, a shovel, a broom, a scraper, a bucket and a scoop. Disinfectant solutions and products (for example, lysol or creolin) are stored in separate containers. They need to be immersed in the entire inventory after each treatment of cages, feeders or drinkers.
DIY rabbit cages
During the construction of cells, attention should be paid to ease of maintenance, hygiene, as well as simplicity of designs and low cost of building materials. Most attention should be paid to gender:
- In a warm and temperate climate, the floors of the aft compartment are made of wooden battens (oak, maple). You can also use plastics, stamped metal and metal mesh.
- In the nesting compartment or in the nest, the floors must be solid wood.
- In cooler climates, floors are double or double.
These rules apply to the arrangement of floors in portable cells. If the farm prefers to keep livestock on solid test floors, you need to make a slope of 5 centimeters to the rear. To equip a double floor, you can use a grid on top of which a removable test floor is laid. It is this design that is considered the most hygienic, since the removable floor can be easily cleaned from dirt and droppings.
Note: Animals should not be allowed to be kept on the net floor for a long time, since in this case they develop subdermatitis.
In homestead households, two-section cells are considered the most popular, but for a large number of livestock, a shedovy system of keeping is more suitable. Sheds can be of arbitrary length, depending on the number of individuals. In addition, the sheds can be single or double tier. If the cells in the shed are placed in two tiers, a simple mechanism (a suspension road) is installed between them, with which one person can serve a large number of adults and young animals at once.
Figure 5. Shedo content
In addition, a metal frame and mesh are used for construction. In most cases, such cells are designed to keep livestock indoors, but in the summer they can be taken out to fresh air. Also, separate uterine or portable cages, which are made of plywood or wood, should be equipped on the farm. If you install a heater in them, okrol can be obtained not only in spring or summer, but also in winter. Do-it-yourself recommendations for building rabbit cages are provided in the video.
Great cages with partitions are considered an excellent option for keeping young animals on the skin. First, they are divided by partitions in half, and in each compartment there are six individuals of the same age, weight and development. As it grows, the cage is divided by ten partitions into 12 parts so that each rabbit is separate until the time of slaughter (Figure 5).
Note: The content in such cells has a number of advantages. Firstly, the skins are not damaged, their quality improves as a whole. Secondly, it becomes possible to send to the slaughter of individual individuals after molting is completed.
You can make cells yourself, using the drawings shown in Figure 6.
Keeping rabbits outdoors in winter – heating and feeding
If the farm has domestic rabbits, care and keeping animals in winter should be special. They are prone to colds and frostbite, so their cells are insulated for the winter. The floor is covered with boards and a thick layer of litter, and all the cracks are covered. In this case, leave holes for ventilation and sunlight.
Note: With proper insulation, the cells can not be transferred to the room, and kept right on the street. But if in winter the temperature drops below .30, it is still better to transfer them to the barn.
Experienced rabbit breeders are advised to make the floor in cages from the mesh, so that the manure and the rest of the feed fall into a special tray, from where it is easier to clean. In winter, the livestock must be closely monitored, and if the animals show signs of frostbite, they are transferred to a warm room.
Figure 6. Drawings of sheds for keeping rabbits
Equally important is the diet of animals. In the summer, they feed mainly on green and succulent feeds, and in winter, the basis of the diet is hay, feed and cereals. Hay should be of high quality, without fungus or mold, as this can provoke illness. The composition of the winter diet must necessarily include vitamins and mineral supplements (for example, chopped needles or tree branches). You can also give them boiled potatoes, bran and stale bread.