Helpful Rabbitry Tips and Ideas
Here are a few pictures from Crossroads Rabbitry you might enjoy. We are constantly trying new tricks and ideas to make our days easier. You might want to give a few of these a try!
We have perforated pvc panels specially made for our nest boxes. We found a local plastic and plexiglass company that saves its pvc scrap pieces for us. It’s from these scraps that we are able to make these wonderful panels. They seem to work better than cardboard and masonite to combat dampness. They also help keep nests cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The 3/8″ holes help assist the kits with traction and also allow urine to pass through. These panels also help to prevent splaying and leg injuries to the kits. Keeping the nest dry helps save a lot of babies. They are 1/8″ thick so they are very lightweight and also completely waterproof. Any thickness would work, but a thinner panel works best. They can be stacked, stored and easily sanitized.
Information cards and card holders are a must for keeping up with your bucks and does production history. This will also help you determine which rabbits to hold back for future breeder stock or the ones that may need replacing. We design our cards for our own personal needs on a excel spread sheet and then have them printed.
Magnetic Cards on a bucks feeder help us keep up with how many times or days the buck has been used consecutively. When a buck is used we close its feeder lid so we know it has been used. We then place the magnetic card on the front of the feeder. We have approximately 200 bucks so this helps with the confusion. We also design our buck cards to provide notes on the bucks production. Notes like very slow, lazy, biter or won’t try may be written.
Plastic cans are great for handling, counting and transferring kits. You can keep them sitting on the top of your cages as they are lightweight and waterproof. Cans with finger grips like this Folgers coffee can seem to work very well. They can also be easily stored, sanitized and stacked.
We’ve all used mineral oil or high priced specialty oils to combat ear mites. We’ve found that WD-40 works better than all of them and is much cheaper when you buy a gallon at Home Depot. It just takes a small amount rubbed into the rabbits ears and doesn’t hurt them at all. Most cheap sprayers don’t last long when you use mineral or ear mite oils but WD-40 makes a special sprayer and it only cost a couple of bucks. It lasts much longer that your cheap dollar tree sprayers and can be purchased online.
When dealing with rabbits, Tea Tree Oil works wonders for fur or skin problems. Fur mites are rare but if they are found, 100% Tea Tree Oil helps get rid of them. Just use 1-2 ounces of the oil mixed with 1 gallon water. Spray on the affected area trying not to get the oil in the rabbits eyes. Be sure to wash your hands. You should notice a difference in just a few days.
Here at Crossroads Rabbitry, we have our feed special made to insure the perfect amount and type of nutrients desired. We have our feed delivered weekly to insure its freshness. We also buy by the bulk to save money.
In some of our buildings we use 300 gallon plastic water tanks. This is so the rabbits only have to be watered once a day.
If you have workers, it’s good to have a sign explaining daily duties. This insures that nothing is forgotten.
Our cages are hung from the ceiling using chain wrapped around 3/4″ emt conduit which helps keep the cages straight and more stable. 3/4″ emt conduit seems to work much better than 1/2″. Your cages should be braced off, either from the ceiling or the ground. Your rabbits will do much better if the cages are not swaying or moving. Our cages are built in 50′ runs and our doors open downward.
We always keep extra 48” fans available for parts and replacements.
Like fans; we also keep plenty of pvc material to make pee guards and nest inserts.
Roll up poultry curtains help block out the sun, rain and wind. They also allow the desired amount of ventilation needed.
We have to use a lot, and I mean a lot; several hundred, of transport cages on hand as we transport rabbits to processors, growers, universities and research facilities etc. each week.
It’s a good idea to have a drain on every row of cages for future plumbing problems. This helps a lot when repairs are needed. Also, make sure every row also has a shut off valve.
An air forced kerosene heater helps keep the babies warm in the winter plus prevents any pipes from freezing. These are a must on those really cold days. This heater can be set to come on as low as 40 degrees. In our opinion, manual controlled thermostats seem to work better and last much longer than electronic ones.
We sometimes use laminate strips that are woven through the cages wire. Kits sometimes continue to hold on to its mothers teat when she exits the nest box. Being blind, the kit is unable to return to its nest. The kit knows only to crawl and will slip through the wire and then fall to the ground. These strips help prevent this and are much cheaper than baby saver wire.
Don’t Laugh. We’ve tried em’ all. This is the best feed cart ever. It is lightweight , can fold up and will roll over gravel, dirt and concrete. A good jogging stroller will easily hold 50lbs. of feed. They are expensive new but can be found in thrift or goodwill stores for around $25. A 3 wheel jogging stroller works the best.
Just like the fans, pvc panels and pee guards; we also keep extra water tanks available for our buildings.
We use a colored clothes pin system to tell us certain things like; Blue = it’s time to replace the doe, Red = the doe didn’t breed easily, Green = cage needs cleaning, a nest box is needed etc. You get the idea. It helps a great deal if you have numerous cages.
We’re in the process of clearing land to add onto one of our existing buildings and add even more does.
We’re putting a second roof over the first to add more protection from the sun and create dead air space between the two roofs. Hopefully this will cool our buildings down even more. We have also planted Empress Trees for future shade.
Chicken Houses are great buildings for rabbitries. One of our 500′ houses, if set up correctly, holds 1000 to 1500 cages.
Our nest boxes are cut into the does cage. This helps with not having to store boxes and also to prevent using any wood. They are very easily sanitized.
Calf Mana or a generic brand like Milk Plus is used to help with a does milk production.
We planted Elongata Paulownia, also known as Empress trees, for future shade. These trees are suppose to be the fastest growing tree in the world. So far, we have not been disappointed. This tree grew 10′ in three months and has enormous size leaves. They get to 100 feet tall. They should provide great shade next summer.
This was our first building when we started. We learned a lot from these 120 does before we decided to expand.
Keeping your transport cages out of the sun will make them last much longer. It keeps them from becoming brittle.
Bracing off your cages from the ceiling, not only makes your cages more secure, but also makes it easier to clean-out beneath them. We try to have nothing, especially any wood, underneath our cages. Sometimes this cannot be done to the lack of structure support but your cages should be supported regardless of how you do it. If you use support from the ground try to use metal posts or treated lumber.
Like our feed, we buy hay in bulk. We use a lot of hay to feed our rabbits and for their nest boxes. We prefer a Bermuda type grass hay when we can find it. Try to always find a fresh hay with no sticks or briers in it. They seem to make better nests with a fine or thin type of hay versus wheat straw. Using this type of hay, we also have less injuries to the kits eyes.
We are constantly having to burn hair off our cages. A refillable propane tank and torch are used.
Rabbits shed their hair every three months. Rabbits also groom themselves and will ingest all of the loose hair. Providing weekly hay or putting plain meat tenderizer in the rabbit’s drinking water every day during molting will help dissolve the ingested hair. Just a small amount sprinkled on its feed will also help. Adding pineapple or papaya to the rabbits diet can also help with digestion.
Vetericyn is amazing for infections and wounds. You can even spray it right into a rabbits eyes.
Sore hocks is an infected ulceration of the foot pad. It is often caused by prolonged pressure of the rabbit’s feet against the cage floor. It usually affects the bottom of the hind feet and hocks. Ointments, such as Neosporin or Preparation H help.
Even though we don’t have that much of a fly problem since we keep the ground dry, we still purchase 40lb. pails of Quiskstrike Fly Bait. It works best if you sprinkle it on the dry areas in your building. It works in seconds.
Like fly bait, we purchase Jaguar Bait Chunx in large buckets to prevent any mice problems.
It even works for snuffles IF caught early on.
We use a lot of different laminated cards that we personally make. These cards are slid into the front of our 11 1/2″ feeders and help us know whats inside that particular cage. It comes in handy when you’re dealing with thousands of rabbits. All you need is heavy stock paper and a cheap laminating machine.
We personally don’t uses a lot of chest rub on our does but it does work great. We use sterilized gloves so we never have to really worry about what scent is on our hands; dirt, grime, lotion, cologne etc. Many times a doe will reject fostered kits, not because the newborn kits smell different, but because of the unknown or irritating smell left from your hands. Either keep your hands clean and free of odors or place a small amount of cheap chest rub on her nose before you place the fostered kits into her nest. It takes very little.
Digital scales work much better than a traditional set of scales. It really helps with speed when you’re dealing with thousands of rabbits.
We made a swivel push cart to help when we weigh our rabbits each week. We also made a basket out of some scrap wire and attached it to the scales. We’re all about finding the easiest and quickest way to do things.
We transport a lot of rabbits to universities in separate boxes. To reduce our costs, we made a press that punches 6 holes in each side of the box for ventilation. This is much cheaper than buying the boxes already made. “Any way to save a buck!”
WE’VE GOT DOZENS AND DOZENS OF MORE LITTLE TRICKS AND IDEAS THAT YOU MAY HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TO TRY.
PLEASE NOTE: In order for us to provide healthy and disease free New Zealand White rabbits, we maintain a CLOSED RABBITRY. Potential buyers will, however, be able to view enough of the building’s interior to observe the rabbits and the conditions they live under. We’re sorry, but no outside rabbits, dogs or cats may be brought onto the property. Thank you for understanding.
THANK YOU for visiting the Crossroads Rabbitry web site; home of Quality New Zealand White Rabbits.
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