Saturday, February 26, 2011

Low House

*from rabbit geek notes Dec 31, 2004*

8 ft by 4 ft roof 50 inch high, Inside measure 90 inch by 40 inch, the cages rest on 2x4 boards that rest on a couple of slats on the sides.

The house is made with 4 sheets of 48 x 96 inch OSB. Cutout front door and side window. Back is solid. The panels are screwed at the corners.

Roof is covered with a piece of vinyl flooring wrapped around the sides and then stapled.

It was painted to make it weather resistant. A plastic tarp is pulled down at night and tied down for extreme weather. Shed is located under a large shade tree.

Have a good day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cold weather - SoCal Style

A friend in Southern California asked about expected low overnight temp of 30F degrees, which is low by So Cal standards.

My reply:
As long as the rabbits stay dry and out of the wind, 30 degrees will not be a problem for them. Some rabbitries are in locations where they get sub zero overnight, so 30 degrees is okay, although your rabbits are probably not used to it every day.

So the precautions you took are reasonable. Be sure there is some ventilation because rabbits need fresh air or they tend to get sick.

Be sure they have unfrozen water during the day. Not hot, lukewarm or cold is okay, just not frozen.

If you have the hay to use, go ahead and give them some extra for bedding or use pieces of corrugated cardboard boxes for them to sit on. Any hay or cardboard that gets soiled should be removed in the morning.

That should cover it!

Have a good day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breeds For Beginners

Rabbit Breeds for Beginners
(from rabbit geek notes 12/27/09)

Welcome to the group.

Are you planning to raise meat rabbits? Are you looking for strictly for show? I'm glad you are asking now because the first rabbit you buy will likely be with you for its whole life.

For meat pen rabbits, see my website with meat pen info

For "fancy" rabbits strictly for show this is my suggestion for new members or beginner:

Netherland Dwarf - Lots of competition, but because the dwarfs can compete for first place in dozens of colors and groups, there is a lot of chances to win a blue ribbon. Small rabbit, small cages, small feed bill.

Polish - Many of the same advantages, not as much competition.

The prices for ND and Polish rabbits are not terribly high. We've even found good rabbits in these breeds in the raffles. Our first showbunny was a Ruby Eyed White Netherland Dwarf we bought in a feed store. He often won first place as a REW Sr Buck.

Stick with solid color ND & Polish, not the broken pattern markings which can be a problem at times.

We had good luck with Dutch, but the marking requirements can be very frustrating for a beginner so avoid them the first year or two.

I would avoid Holland Lops. They are very popular, very cute but in show there is a limited number of colors to show in. At shows there are literally hundreds of rabbits competing for a small number of first place ribbons. Because of the popularity and the intense competition, the prices for Holland Lops is much higher than for other breeds.

It can be very frustrating for children to be told their rabbit won 10th place out of 27 rabbits.

I would also avoid Lionheads. While they are definitely a popular breed, as a showbunny they are not officially accepted in the ARBA Standard. So this means that from year to year, your rabbit may or may not be showable because of color or they may change the working standard and now your rabbit has too much wool on the flanks or not enough wool on the head. So beginners should avoid Lionheads. It also means that Best Of Breed Lionhead cannot compete for Best In Show in an ARBA show. That will not go over well when you have to tell the kid all the other kid's Best of Breed can go to the Best In Show table, but not theirs. *As of Feb 2014 Lionheads are an accepted ARBA breed for show! I would not consider them first choice for beginners but they are no longer on my avoid list.*

Himalayan - Another kid friendly breed is the Himalayan. Small and generally docile they are easy to handle. 4 different recognized colors give some flexibility for competition.

If you shop for rabbits at a rabbit show, before you buy, ask if you can take the rabbit around to get opinions on it. Sometimes you can catch a rabbit judge taking a break and ask if the rabbit has any disqualifications on it. Judges usually try to be helpful to beginners and will give you a good assessment.

Also, I don't expect people to sell me a rabbit guaranteed to win rabbit shows. I want one that will not be disqualified in show.

Rabbit should have a tattoo in the left ear and the tattoo should match the pedigree.

Get the pedigree at time of sale. Be sure the pedigree is SIGNED and has all the weights written in. There are hundreds of people who were told the pedigree would be mailed and it never was. No pedigree, no sale, walk away. If the seller really wanted to sell the rabbit, they should have brought the pedigree.

Having a pedigree is not required to show, but is required to register the rabbit with ARBA and to apply for Grand Champion for a winning rabbit. ARBA membership is also required to register a rabbit or apply for Grand Champion certificate.

Having a pedigree solves a lot of issues if you decide to breed the rabbit. Pedigree also makes it easier to sell or trade the rabbit if you decide to.

Above is my standard spiel on rabbits for beginners.

It's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Have a good day!

Rabbits and Chickens

Found this link to a picture of a Salatin Rabbit/Chicken house,
Rabbit cages are on the left of the picture

I believe there is netting above the rabbit cages that keeps the chickens from roosting over the rabbits.

This blog also has some pictures of rabbit harvesting.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cleaning Rusty Cages

*from rabbitgeek notes june 2006*
I use "cold galvanizing" spray paint for cleaning up rusty cages.

You can get this spray at Ace Hardware and other stores.

It leaves a coating of zinc on the metal to fight rust.

I use a propane torch first to burn off the fur/wool. Do not let the
wire turn red from heat as this will weaken the wire. Burn fur/wool
off before washing or will have clumps of wet fur on the wire that is
hard to burn off.

I wash the cages really well with a hose, a power washer works
good. Wet cage down then wait to soak for a few minutes then start
washing. Use a brass wire brush or barbecue cleaning brush to knock
off the rust and any dried on waste. Let dry.

Spray with the cold galvanizing spray. Be sure to cover bottom and
sides of the wire. Let dry overnight.

There will be a little residue that comes off at first but otherwise the
paint stays on wire for a year and will need some touch up.

If the wire is seriously corroded paint is not going to help, you need
to replace the wire.

NOTE: I'm told that chain link fence paint works well and costs less
when cleaning up a lot of cages. A $20 can of fence paint can do
over forty cages with a paint sprayer. Two $5 cans of cold galvanize
paint was enough to do two or three 3-hole stacking cages or 9 holes.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Year of the rabbit

Celebrate Year of the Rabbit!
Eat More Rabbit!
Chinese Lunar Calendar and Horoscope
03 Feb 2011 to 22 Jan 2012