All You Need To Know About Extensive Rabbit Management

Rabbits Are gentle, calm, lovely and mild creatures!

  • Rabbits are very prolific animals and can be breed all year round, when well-managed.
  • It has been recorded of Does, to have kindle up to 23 young at a time.  The average size is eight.
  • Generally, rabbits usually have 4 to 5 litters in a year.  With proper management, rabbits can be kindled intensively.
  • The young rabbits are ready for market at around 4 to 5 pounds of weight and with proper care and feeding, they will be 8 weeks old or less during this stage of their development.
  • Rabbits are also known to have an efficient feed conversion ratio, which is the exact amount of feed consumed per pound of gain.
  • A doe, is known to produce up to 10 times its own weight, or even more, in an offspring per annum.
  • It is also very important to know that Rabbit meat is one of the most nutritious meats available here on earth.  It is  very modest and high in protein, with very very low fat and cholesterol contents, with the least number of calories per pound. It is known to have 8 percent bone.

You can find out about rabbit breeds in Nigeria here

Common Health Problems and Illnesses Associated With Rabbits

  1. Diarrhea: This disease is on an average, common with rabbits and is referred to as bloat, scours, mucoid enteritis or diarrhea. It accounts for a very high percentage of death in young rabbits. Greatest occurrence is when the baby rabbits are within 5 to 9 weeks, just before or after weaning.
  • Symptoms are listlessness, lack of appetite and below normal temperature of 102 to 103 degrees. The animal grits its teeth; shows intense thirst and may be bloated. Constipation or severe diarrhea can result in weight loss of 20 to 25 percent in 1 or 2 days. The digestive system is usually full of a watery substance and there is usually an excretion of a clear, jelly-like substance.
  1. Coccidiosis: One of the most common diseases of rabbits. Animals that recover from this disease frequently become carriers of this disease. Any rabbit showing signs of the disease should be removed from the herd.
  • There are two forms: liver and intestinal. So-called nasal coccidiosis is the result of rabbits contaminating the mucous membranes of their nose while practicing coprophagy (eating their feces). Coprophagy is normal in rabbits and many other species as a way of recycling nutrients, especially B vitamins.
  • Symptoms: Young rabbits are most susceptible. Rabbits exhibit diarrhea, poor appetite, rough hair coats and slow growth. Small white spots are found on the liver and intestines may be thickened and pale.
  • Treatment: Corrid in drinking water at 0.04 percent continuously for 2 weeks is recommended for the liver type of coccidiosis.
  1. Tapeworm Infestation: Rabbits are intermediate hosts for two tapeworms of the dog. The rabbit is also an intermediate host for tapeworm in the cat. Dogs and cats should not be allowed near the rabbits’ feed, water and bedding as they transmit tapeworm eggs in their feces. Dogs and cats should not eat the intestines of rabbits because they may become infected and continue the cycle of infestation.
  2. Ketosis: Lactating does appear dull and listless and may have diarrhea. It is the result of excessive fat and too little exercise. There is no satisfactory cure but it can be prevented by proper feeding or restricting feed, if necessary, to prevent excessive fattening.
  3. Slobbers: Excessive saliva is produced by young animals. It is caused by feeding too many greens.
  4. Sore Hocks: Sores appear on the hocks and rabbits sit humped and appear listless. It is due to an infection and inflammation of the foot pad.
  • Treatment: Soak hocks in warm, soapy water and apply zinc oxide salve. Place the animal on clean bedding.
  1. Sore Eyes (Weepy Eyes): Infected animals have a watery, milky discharge around the eyes due to a vitamin A deficiency, infection or injury.
  • Treatment: Bathe eyes in warm boric acid solution and use an antibiotic ointment.
  1. Ear Mange: Scabs or crusts form in the ear and the animal shakes its head and scratches its ear. To prevent, keep hutches clean and avoid introducing new stock carrying mites.

       9.  Vent Disease (Rabbit Syphilis): Infected animals have rawness around the vent which may be swollen and covered with scabs. The organism is spread in breeding. Isolate infected animals, remove  scabs and apply antibiotic ointment daily.