On Raising Rabbits
December 6, 2011
Comments by Nancy
LaRoche on Chapter 13 “Raising Rabbits”
Nancy LaRoche is the co-Manager of the Colorado House Rabbit
Nancy LaRoche is the co-Manager of the Colorado House Rabbit Society
First I must state that I adore rabbits for their personalities, intelligence, compassion for other rabbits and smaller creatures, their affection for those to whom they bond, and the pleasure they have given me over the years, living in my home as house-rabbits. Obviously, then, I cannot condone exploiting them by taking their lives to provide a meal of flesh. But both they and we benefit when we use their wonderful fertilizer or their wool.
Given, however, that there are people who will raise and kill them for meat, it is my personal opinion that while they are alive, they should be given the very best quality of life possible to provide them. Of all animals, those whose lives we take, deserve to live happily and comfortably until we force the ultimate sacrifice on them.
There are only a few things to say concerning the chapter on which I am commenting. For the most part, the author “has it right.”
On p. 157, under “How to Purchase,” second paragraph,
the author states, “Rabbits are nocturnal, so a little bit of daytime
sleepiness is to be expected…”
· On p. 157, under “How to Purchase,” second paragraph, the author states, “Rabbits are nocturnal, so a little bit of daytime sleepiness is to be expected…”
On p 158,
under “Housing,” the author states that “Good rabbit housing needs
to provide…” among other things… “Adequate space” and later
states, “A cage that is 36x36 inches and 18 inches high will do well
for a doe and her babies.” Later
she mentions runs, and rabbit running freely in homes.
On p. 160,
under “Raising Rabbits Without Land,” the author writes about
keeping rabbits out of heat, and out of the elements, but says nothing
of protecting them from very low temperatures.
With a wooden box with only a single, small entry hole (or a hole
with a “baffle” a few inches behind it, to deflect wind), and
stuffed with straw or hay, a rabbit can survive low temperatures, but
not comfortably. It’s much
better for them to be housed in a heated shed or in the house.
quite a bit wrong with the section titled “Food and Water,” starting
on p. 160.
On p. 165,
under “Small Steps,” the
author states, “Try to handle the kits as little as possible.
If the doe smells something foreign on the babies, she may reject
the litter.” We have had
many litters born to does who have come to our rescue close to the time
they are going to give birth. We
introduce ourselves to the does, elicit their trust, and when the babies
are born, pick each one up every day and examine them.
Does don’t reject babies handled by trusted humans!
information given under “Raising Kits,” is off, based on my
experience. This may be
because our does and kits are fed better than those she’s accustomed
to. In any case, almost all
of the kits we’ve seen open their eyes at 10 days, and begin exploring
a couple of days after that. They
will nibble on the vegetables the mother is given, as well as on her
pellets and hay. (We give
pregnant and lactating does alfalfa hay and alfalfa-based pellets).
Their kits continue to eat the same diet as their mothers until
they are old enough to be converted to the adult rabbit diet.
The does are taken off of the “young rabbit” diet after
they’ve weaned their kits. Of
course, we don’t breed our rabbits, so they remain for the rest of
their lives on the adult diet.