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Rabbit Facts - North Dakota State University

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Rabbit Facts
Richland County 4-HLivestock Incentive Program
Select the Right Rabbit
Rabbits are classified according to size:Small:3-4 lbs. at maturityMedium:9-12 lbs. at maturityLarge:14-16 lbs. at maturity
Did You Know?
Rabbits have four toes on their front feet and five toes on their back feet!
Basic Equipment Needed
Water containerThree basic kinds availableCeramic or vinyl crock (water dish)Bottle tube watererAutomatic watererChoose one that doesn’t tip over easily and is easy to clean
Basic Equipment Needed
CageA wire cage works best and is easier to clean.Make sure it is the proper size for your rabbit.Small breeds:24” X 24” X 16” cageMedium breeds:30” X 30” X 18” cageLarge breeds:48” X 30” X 18” cage
Cage Location
Cage should be elevated off the ground 2-3 feet.If located outside, provide protection from hot sun and rain.Rabbits can tolerate cold temperatures better than hot temperatures.
Cage Location
During hot weather. a frozen jug of water can be placed in the cage to cool the rabbits.Be sure there is good air circulation around the cage.Place the cages where rain will not enter the cages and get the rabbits wet.
Feed and Feeding
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits cannot live on lettuce and carrots alone!A rabbit should reach its mature weight in about eight weeks.A rabbit eats best and gains weight easiest when temperature is maintained at 60-65F.A commercial rabbit feed is best to provide a well balanced ration for your rabbit.
Amount of Food
Most commercial pellets are round and about ¼ inch long.Small breeds:2-3 ounces of pellets per dayMedium breeds:3 1/2 – 4 ounces per dayLarge breeds:4-8 ounces per dayAdjust if needed to meet the needs of your rabbit
Feeding Schedule
A regular schedule is important – try to feed at the same time each day.Do not leave uneaten pellets and dirty feed in the cage. Clean them out regularly.
Water
Provide clean fresh water at all times.A rabbit that needs more water will eat less food and grow slower.
Food Storage
Store feed in a tight container with a lid.Do not store feed for longer than 3-4 weeks.
Cleaning Equipment
Clean the feeding and watering equipment daily.Let the equipment dry in the sun.Use a vacuum or stiff brush to remove loose fur from cages.Diseases can come from using old cages discarded by former rabbit owners – disinfect with a bleach solution before using.
Did You Know?
Rabbits are easily trained to use a litter box just like a cat!
Rabbit Grooming
Use a damp rag or moisten your hands.Stroke the fur from tail to head several times.Do not stroke back and forth as this causes the fur to break.Gently stroke from head to tail when you are finished to smooth fur down.
Grooming Tips
Baths are not recommended.Rabbit fur takes a long time to dry.If fur is dirty spot clean using a cloth and warm water.Stains may be removed from white fur by rubbing corn starch into the stain.
Toenail Trimming
Use clippers that cut when the handles are squeezed.Toenails have a vein that can be seen when held up to a light.Clip the end of the nail without clipping the vein.If you clip the vein hold a cotton ball against the nail to stop the bleeding.
Care of External Organs
EarsShould be highly mobile and turn in the direction of each new sound.Clean when necessary by wiping gently with baby oil – a cotton swab may be used.EyesShould be bright and attentive.Dull eyes are a sign of poor health.Discharging eyes are a certain sign the rabbit is sick.
Care of External Organs
NoseA healthy rabbit’s nose should always be dry.A runny nose is a sign of disease.Respiratory infections can also be caused by cold drafts and dampness.
Care of External Organs
NailsA rabbit’s nails continuously grow.If they are not clipped, the toes may be deformed.Be careful not to cut the nails back too far.FeetInspect the soles of the feet for signs of injury or accumulation of dirt between the toes.
Enjoy Your Rabbit
Check the showmanship guidelines posted onthe website.Exhibit your rabbit at 4-H Achievement Days July 10 at theBaggBonanza Farm.
Worksheet
Complete the worksheet posted on the website with this presentation and mail or e-mail them back to the Richland County Extension Office by May 10!Thank You!
Questions?
Call me at 642-7793.E-mail me atdale.siebert@ndsu.edu.Dale Siebert, Richland County NDSU ExtensionExtension Agent, Cropping SystemsDLS/cj

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Rabbit Facts - North Dakota State University