The fifth edition of this best-selling handbook features the same detailed approach that has made it the trusted source for raising healthy, productive rabbits — plus a total redesign with color photos and graphics. Whether you’re interested in raising rabbits for show, meat, fur, or as pets, this comprehensive guide offers expert advice on breed selection, housing, feeding, humane handling, and more. In addition, author Bob Bennett includes the most up-to-date information on preventive health care, treating diseases, marketing, and showing.
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About the Author
Bob Bennett is the author of six books on rabbit raising, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits and Rabbit Housing, as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles. He has served as the editor of Rabbits magazine, has been a contributing editor to Countryside magazine, and is the founder of Domestic Rabbits and a past director of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. An Air Force veteran, Bennett has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Vermont, where he has raised rabbits for more than 50 years.
Table of ContentsPreface: For the Love of Rabbits
Part I: Getting Started
1 Why Start?
First of All, Good Eating • Rabbits Serve Science • The Fancier’s Role • Would You Believe 12 Million Rabbits? • Here’s Where You Come In • Progress in Raising Rabbits
2 The Right Rabbit
A 40-Million-Year-Old Species? • American Domestics: Probably Not Belgian Hares • Choose Your Market • The Enticing Economics of a Small Breeding-Stock Rabbitry • Choose the Right Rabbit • Coat Types
3 Obtaining the Right Foundation Stock
Crossbreds Are the Least Valuable • A Pedigreed Rabbit Has Papers • Registration • What Does It All Mean? • The Best Rabbit Raisers • How to Find a Raiser • What to Expect When You Buy • How to Build Your Herd • What You Can Expect to Pay for Purebreds • Purchasing by Mail Order • Bringing Your Rabbits Home
4 A Gallery of Breeds
Part II: Housing, Feeding, and Breeding
5 Housing and Equipment
You Are in Charge • Why the All-Wire Hutch? • How to Make a Wire Hutch • Creature Comforts: Situating the Hutch • Building a Dream Barn • Rabbit Sheds • Other Rabbit-Shed Options • The Economics of Sheds • Other Equipment and Considerations
6 Feeding Rabbits Right
Pellets Make the Ideal Feed • Feed Supplements • General Feeding Guidelines • My Preferred Lifetime Feeding Regimen • What Else Should You Know?
7 Breeding and Producing Rabbits
Mating Your First Pair • Is She Pregnant? • Time for the Nest Box • The New Litter • Breeding the Doe Again • Weaning and Housing the Litter • The Problems of Weather • Keeping Breeding Records • Ear Identification • Choosing Future Breeders • Methods of Breeding • Reminders That Bear Restating
Part III: Marketing and Miscellany
8 To the Best Market: Selling Rabbits
The Meat Market • Slaughtering and Butchering • The Laboratory Market • Breeding Stock • The Ironclad Guarantee • Let’s Set a Price • Good Records Make Future Sales • What Else to Sell? • Some Sales Advice from Rabbit Raisers • Trends in the Rabbit Business • Reviewing Some of the Best Ideas
9 Rabbits and the Home Garden
Make Manure Go a Long Way: Compost! • What the Garden Can Do for Rabbits
10 Preventing Problems
Breeding Tips • Disease Prevention • Is Medical Treatment Available for Rabbits? • Sanitation • Complaints from Neighbors or Relatives
11 On to the Rabbit Shows!
Locating and Entering Shows • Judging by Class • Selecting Show Stock • Make the Rabbit Shows Work for You
12 Rabbit Associations and the Future of the Industry
National Organizations • Regional Groups • ARBA Benefits • Into the Future • Increasing the Demand for Meat • A Promotional Campaign • A Show of Support • The Rabbit’s Potential
13 Cooking Rabbit
Chicken Is Cheaper • Comparing Rabbits and Chicken • Preparing for Cooking • The Recipes
Reading about Rabbits
Metric Conversion Charts