Californian Rabbits

Cookie & Twinkie

We just adopted two Californian Rabbit does. (Thank you to Julie and her daughter!) That means female. Yes, rabbits are sexed by the terms Doe and buck the same as deer or goats. Valued by their large blocky body they are favored by meat processors. Does get up to 12 lbs and have a high dress out rate. Which means you get a lot of meat for the animal. Just cause they weigh 12lbs doesn’t mean you get 12lbs of meat. More like 6 to 7 lbs. Which is still awesome for the fast growth and feed conversion for the animal. And wow does it taste good. Anything you can make with chicken you can make with rabbit meat. When we lived out in Huckabay we had a rabbit barn and have 20-30 rabbits. Most of our protein came from rabbit meat and eggs. And all of us have missed it.

I have put off having rabbits again until I had a rabbit barn again since they are so sensitive to heat. But I figure that if I keep just a couple we can keep them on the front or back porch. Back porch in winter. Front porch in summer. These two will lead the cushy lifestyle of breeders. Although more like pets at the moment since we don’t have a buck. My breeders we handle often and spoil even more often. We even name them. The culls or ones we will eat we do not handle other than to sex them or basic care and we do not name them. It may seem cruel at first but I treat my animals with the upmost respect while they are here and I thank them for their service in feeding my family. I know sounds kinda weird maybe but its one of the few things I do hold in tradition from my father’s native american culture.

I do keep my rabbits in cages because it keeps them safe rather than keep them on the ground in colonies where they can be hurt, by other animals, colony infighting, too often breeding, disease and parasites. The problem I have had in the past was ear mites and overheating. Overheating is a serious problem for rabbits!!! We had misters, shade fabric and fans on our past rabbit barn and still lost a few to overheating. They also drink an unimaginable amount of water. In the heat of the summer they could easily go through two 2 liter bottles of water PER rabbit. I would love to one day have a rabbit water system that is automatic and that has a heat cable so the fittings don’t freeze but until then will keep things low tech and enjoy spending some one on one time with my two bunnies.

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