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meat rabbit getting overweight  RSS feed

 
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My breeder doe that i selected according to the abilty to live on herbs, is getting way overweight. She is now at roughly 4kg( 9pounds ) she is slightly smaller than a standard meat breed.  if she sits down she is roughly 40 cm from head to tail( 16 inch ). I want to keep her healthy and fit since she's the cheapest rabbit i ever had. For now she lives on small amount of hay, some  leftover jerusalem artichoke leaves/flower and also sprouted wheat. When i run the numbers on feed she has eaten roughly 4.5 euro's worth of food in the last 18 months . all other food she got was weeds from my garden never ever does she get pellets.

Now to ask a newbie question, i can pick up a breeder male in roughly 3 weeks . it would be ideal to breed her( to get rid of some of her fat ) but since her "hutch" is around 8 degrees Celsius(46F) thats the minimum year round. I'm having doubts the litter will survive. What would you do??

and by the way "the hutch" is large enough for her and her litter until the age of at least 8 weeks( roughly 10m² )(108sq feet) for the 1 doe + maybe a litter
 
master pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
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She's probably getting too much protein, or else the sprouted wheat is too much for her. If keeping a meat rabbit long-term, it is necessary to restrict protein in the diet to slow growth. Otherwise, they can grow too large, too quickly for the long-term health of the rabbit and die.

We have a female Flemish Giant as a litter-trained pet. We have found a pellet with the right range of everything, minus any sugary binders, and we free feed that to her, along with as much timothy hay as she wants. Everything else is given in small doses as treats, up to two tablespoons per six pounds of weight. Ours is 13 lbs so far, so as long as we stick to thin slices of sweet potato and tiny pieces of fruit, we can't really get carried away.

We also give her about two cups of romaine leaves most days, mostly because it's the best available green for nutrient content without too much calcium or oxalic acid for regular consumption.

We will add seasonal weedy favourites to the romaine course, which she devours preferentially, sometimes leaving the romaine for later.

Because she is sated, she doesn't overfeed on anything unless it's sweet, which is why we dole it out sparingly.

What kind of meat rabbit is it?

-CK
 
jens cannie
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It is not really a breed , her father i captured in the woods roughly 9 years ago. He was very scared for the first few years. but still a decent size i guess he was mixed in with wild rabbits he looked exactly like a wild rabbit but had ears that fell over ...

The mother of the doe i currently have came from a meat rabbit breeder its basicly a "mutt". so its a bit of everything in there

thanks for the advice .
 
pollinator
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i'd like to follow this to learn, even though i'm not quite at the point to start my meat production (keeping 2 rabbits for fertilizer right now).

Mine seem to be about the same size as yours, I'm surprised at how big they are, and they seem to be about 8 months old. Female just started getting a dewlap. Mine also eat garden scraps and a minimum of pellets and hay when the weather is not conducive to grazing/scraps.
I live in a place that is hot, and from what I gathered the heat was the biggest problem for young'uns and breeding. You mention your max temp, what is the min?
 
jens cannie
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minimum temp is 46F, max is is more like 70-80F . I keep her in my basement for now. She's trained to poop in a box and i clean it out a few times a week. Fun fact i keep the door of my basement open most of the time and she never tries to get out , she will come out with her head only to take a peek. Kind of my first time to get attached to a meat animal. all her kits i will eat though.

Oh and Instead of hay im feeding straw now so to keep her from getting really fat.
 
Chris Kott
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Honestly, better to have her on the nutritionally appropriate hay, probably timothy, and leave off the wheat altogether.

Wheat is literally mature seeded hay of the species.

On another note, hay is supposed to make up a large part of their diet. By large, I mean that I have seen figures in the 60% - 80% range. That part is pretty non-negotiable, from what I understand.

It's the pelletised food that you're replacing with fartichoke parts and treats. Make sure she's filling up on good, quality hay, not straw, and she'll feel sated, and not eat only nutrient and calorie-dense foods.

-CK
 
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