The Place Where Animal Lovers
Come Together - Spring 2009
Featured Story |
What it Takes to Raise winners
“When looking for a
feed, we look for all the right nutrients it takes to raise and breed
winning livestock, and the growth rate and overall conditioning is what we
get when we purchase Purina® feeds,” says Jana Camp from the small town of
Laotto, Indiana. Jana, her husband Doug and their 5 boys Derek, Jacob, Nick,
Joshua and Jordan share their small farm with 7 rabbits, about 20 chickens,
a dog and a few cats! In addition, they also raise pigs and beef cattle in
the summer months for showing in the fall of the year. Sons Jacob (17) and
Joshua (14) have inherited their mother’s love of animals and enjoy showing
them through their local 4-H club, of which Jana herself was a member for 10
years. “We have been very fortunate to have received a lot of awards with
our animals over the years, about 30 or so trophies total!” she says..
> click to read more!
Spring is in the Air!
With the warm spring breezes and the long awaited appearance
of spring flowers come thoughts of what else but….bunnies! Many factors come
into play when breeding and raising rabbits. Here are some tips to help you
establish a successful breeding program whether you are breeding rabbits for
the first time for a single litter or are a veteran breeder.
weight are two primary factors to consider when determining breeding
readiness in rabbits. The average age for first time breeding in does is 5
months. Does should be healthy and of the ideal weight for her breed.
Bucks usually are mature enough for breeding at 6 months of age. Smaller
breeds will usually become sexually mature earlier than larger breeds.
Breeding problems are most commonly due to bucks and does that are either
underweight or overweight. When underweight, rabbits may be physically
unable to breed successfully. Overweight rabbits on the other hand may not
be interested in mating, and if they do mate, often have more difficulty
that is ready to be bred will exhibit a deep-red vulva. The doe should
then be taken to the buck’s cage for breeding, which usually takes 5
minutes or less. The doe will normally ovulate 8-10 hours after breeding.
Does can be palpated 10-14 days after breeding to determine if pregnant.
If not pregnant, the doe can be rebred.
normal gestation period for rabbits is 31 days. It is important to monitor
the doe’s weight during this time so that she does not put on excess
weight. Overweight does can have problems at kindling and problems
rebreeding. A medium-sized doe normally eats 3-5 oz per day. During
gestation, this can be increased to 3-6 oz per day, adjusting the amount
to maintain the desired weight.
nest box should be put in the cage at 28 days of gestation after cleaning
and disinfecting the cage floor. Fill the box 2/3 full with bedding
material such as straw, shavings, or hay and put in the cage to allow the
doe time to build her nest. In warm weather, material that can be burrowed
in should not be used.
kindling time, keep cage in a quiet area to reduce stress on the doe.
Avoid handling nervous does and keep strangers and other animals away from
cages. Once the doe kindles, keep a record of births and remove any
mortalities from the nest. In big litters, extra kits (more than 8) can be
fostered to other litters if available. Do this by first rubbing them with
fur from the foster mother’s nest so she will accept and care for the kit
as her own.
after kindling, does should be fed less than their normal amount the first
day (only 2-4 oz for a medium sized doe) to prevent caked udders while
milk is coming in. This can be increased by ½ -1oz daily until she is
eating free-choice by the end of the first week.
lactation, the doe has a much higher energy requirement in order to
maintain good milk production. A doe that has problems producing enough
milk may neglect nursing her kits or may even kill them. The amount she
eats will depend on the size of her litter and her success at milk
production. It is not unusual for does with large litters to eat up to
16-24 oz per day. Always remember to increase or reduce the amount fed
gradually to prevent diarrhea.
boxes can be removed from the cages between 21-25 days of age, when all
the bunnies have left it.
reduce milk production and prevent caked udders at weaning, feed should be
removed for 24 hours and then gradually increased over the next few days.
Newly weaned bunnies can be fed free-choice up to 3 months of age.
Breeding and raising rabbits can be an enjoyable and
rewarding experience. We hope that these tips will start you out on the
right foot when breeding your rabbit and make you aware of important factors
for a successful breeding program. So hop to it, let’s get started!
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Get to Know
Rabbit Complete Blend
and balanced to meet all the nutritional requirements for growth,
maintenance and reproduction
- Easy to feed pellets
reduce waste and save you money
Highly palatable formula encourages proper intake for your
peace of mind
16% protein, high fiber diet designed for all types of
Extra screening process reduces fines to minimize waste
- Contains high levels of long stem fiber for normal digestive health
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They started raising rabbits about 5 years ago and breed
both Netherland Dwarfs and Dwarf Hotots which they show at the DeKalb County
Fall Fair. The rabbits are all fed Purina Mills® Rabbit Chow®, and they are very
pleased with the results they get. “Our rabbits all gain well, have good
conditioning and the small compact pelleted feed helps their teeth,” claims
Jana. She also adds that “we noticed a big difference in their urine and pellets
while feeding Purina® Rabbit Chow®, it doesn’t smell as bad as it did with other
products we used in the past.” They discovered Purina® Rabbit Chow® though their
local Purina Mills Feed Dealer, Ag Plus Inc., in Churubusco, IN where they were
already buying livestock feed for their other animals.
Some of the rabbits that they raise are sold, and they
always recommend that the new owners continue to feed Purina® Rabbit Chow®. “We
tell them to feed it because it works best for our rabbits,” says Jana. In hopes
that they will continue to feed it, they send each rabbit to its new home with a
small bag of Purina® Rabbit Chow® along with instructions on how to care for
their new pet.
Jana continues to buy Purina® Rabbit products because she
says “there are some things that you just can’t do without, and we have found
that Purina® Rabbit feed is the very best feed for our animals!” You can bet
there will be many more trophies added to their collection in the future as they
continue to feed Purina® products to their prize-winning animals.
> back to top
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