Rabbit Farming – A General Overview

  • Breed Name: Rabbit
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Family: Leporidae
  • Order: Lagomorpha
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Type of Animal: Mammal
  • Lifespan:
    • 1 – 2 years (In the wild)
    • 8-12 years (as pet)
  • Mass:
    • Eastern cottontail: 1.2 kg
    • Tapeti: 990 g
  • Length:
    • Eastern cottontail: 37 cm
    • Tapeti: 36 cm
  • Commercial Use of Rabbits:
    • As livestock, rabbits are bred for their meat and fur. 200 million tons of rabbit meat produced annually
    • The Angora rabbit breed, was developed for its long, silky fur, which is hand-spun into yarn and is very costly item
    • Other domestic rabbit breeds have been developed primarily for the commercial fur trade, including the Rex, which has a short plush coat
    • Countries with the highest consumption per capita of rabbit meat:
      • Malta with 8.89 kilograms (19.6 lb)
      • Italy with 5.71 kilograms (12.6 lb)
      • Cyprus with 4.37 kilograms (9.6 lb)
      • Japan with 0.03 kilograms (0.066 lb)
      • The United States with 0.14 kilograms (0.31 lb)
    • The largest producers of rabbit meat in world are China, Russia, Italy, France, and Spain
  • Interesting Facts about Rabbits:
    • Some breeds of rabbits like Flemish giant rabbit, grow to be the world’s largest, reaching 2.5 feet in length and weighing up to 22 pounds
    • Rabbits eat their own poop and process it a second time
    • Rabbits have strong digestive system, and by redigesting waste, they’re able to absorb nutrients their bodies missed the first time around
    • Rabbits keep themselves clean throughout the day by licking their fur and paws
    • Their vision covers nearly 360 degrees, which allows them to see what’s coming from behind them, above them, and from the sides without turning their heads
    • Like human fingernails, a rabbit’s teeth will keep growing
    • Rabbits dig underground tunnel systems, called warrens, it connect special rooms reserved for things like nesting and sleeping
  • Housing:
    • Rabbits can also live outdoors in properly constructed shelters called hutches
    • Hutches provide protection from extreme weather
    • Hutches should be located in a fenced yard to protect from predators
    • Hutches should also accompany a larger pen for exercise
    • A more elaborate setup is an artificial warren
  • Feeding & Diet:
    • Rabbits are herbivores
    • They have a plant-based diet and do not eat meat
    • Their diets include grasses, clover and some cruciferous plants, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
    • They are opportunistic feeders and also eat fruits, seeds, roots, buds, and tree bark
  • Reproduction Facts About Rabbits:
    • A female rabbit, called a doe, can reach sexual maturity at 6 months of age
    • Baby of the doe is called a Kit and the litter of kits is called kindling
    • Usually litter consist of 7-13 kits
    • The gestation period of a doe varies between species but it ranges between 27 to 42:
      • Eastern cottontail: 27 days
      • Tapeti: 42 days
    • After the kindling is borne, the buck ( male rabbit), should be kept away from the litter so that the babies have a better chance of survival
    • The doe should be allowed to spend little time with her litter to increase their chance of survival
    • The doe feeds the litter usually in the evening and should only take five minutes at a time
  • Habitat: It include meadows, woods, forests, grasslands, deserts and wetlands
  • Rabbit Diseases:
    • Bordetella bronchiseptica
    • Escherichia coli
    • RHD (“rabbit hemorrhagic disease”, a form of calicivirus)
    • Myxomatosis
    • Tapeworms infection (such as Taenia serialis)
    • Domesticated rabbits with a diet lacking in high fiber sources, such as hay and grass, are susceptible to potentially lethal gastrointestinal stasis
    • Rabbits never get infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans
  • Lower Classifications / Representative Species of Rabbits: In the world, today are found around 305 species of rabbits. Famous breeds are:
    • Alaska rabbit
    • Amami rabbit
    • American Fuzzy Lop
    • American rabbit
    • Angora Rabbit
    • Annamite striped rabbit
    • Appalachian cottontail
    • Blanc de Popielno
    • Brown Chestnut of Lorraine
    • Brush rabbit
    • Bunyoro rabbit
    • Cashmere Lop
    • Checkered Giant rabbit
    • Deilenaar
    • Desert cottontail
    • Dice’s cottontail
    • Eastern cottontail
    • Fee de Marbourg
    • Flemish Giant rabbit
    • Florida White rabbit
    • Holland Lop
    • Jersey Wooly
    • Manzano Mountain cottontail
    • Marsh rabbit
    • Mexican cottontail
    • Mini Lop
    • Mini Satin Rabbit
    • Mountain cottontail
    • Netherland Dwarf rabbit
    • New England cottontail
    • Omilteme cottontail
    • Oryctolagus
    • Panon rabbit
    • Polish rabbit
    • Pygmy rabbit
    • Rex rabbit
    • Riverine rabbit
    • Robust cottontail
    • San José brush rabbit
    • Satin
    • Sumatran striped rabbit
    • Swamp rabbit
    • Tapeti
    • Tres Marias rabbit
    • Venezuelan lowland rabbit
    • Volcano rabbit

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