As a General Rule – Good Record-Keeping is foundational for rabbit husbandry. Rabbits are prolific breeders, Max litter 23 kits, an average of 8 kits per litter, Does will have 4-5 Liters per year. Kits are ready for the butcher at 8 weeks old average weight of 4-5lbs depending on breed. Rabbit meat is lean, organic, and low in cholesterol..
Rabbitry Management Record Keeping
As a General Rule some of the basic steps to record-keeping for a rabbitry are:
1. Assigning each animal with its own unique identifying number, preferably tattooed on one of the rear feet;
2. Keeping accurate birth and death records;
3. Recording weights as well as any unusual observations such as visible tumors at least once per month;
4. Observing all animals daily, looking for signs of disease or injury, and noting these observations in writing on a sheet that is kept handy near the cage;
5. Maintaining an accurate inventory list and updating it periodically (at least every two weeks).
Keeping Good Rabbit Records
Rabbitry Management – The importance of good record keeping can’t be stressed enough. In order to monitor the health and growth of your rabbits, as well as progress in raising a litter from start to finish you’ll need accurate records. The first step is knowing what information needs to go into those records.
There are four primary areas that should have their own folders or notebooks: Health/Illness, Feeding/Nutrition, Breeding, and Litters.
Your health records should include the date of every visit to your veterinarian (whether for routine visits or illness-related ones), any treatments administered at home (including medications used), and vaccination history. This is also where you would record anything out of the ordinary in terms of behavior
- Litter Growth Log – Litter size is typically the first thing to keep track of. We like to work on a litter-by-litter basis, rather than individual kits. This means that we simply count up all the offspring from one doe’s litter and enter them as one litter total in our records.
- We weigh each kit shortly after birth, record their weights, and then weigh them again at weaning. We like to keep track of how much each doe is producing in terms of litter size (total kits born) as well as individual kit weight (for future reference).
- We also record the approximate date that all litters are due. This allows us to make better use out of our time because we can start planning for kidding around the same time that our does are due.
- Buck Records – We also keep records for our bucks. The number of kits produced by each buck is recorded in the same fashion as with our does, so that we can keep track of which bucks are most successful.
- We also record when each doe was bred to a specific buck, and then again when she kindles her litter. This allows us to plan future breedings accordingly – if one of our does isn’t getting bred enough, we know which bucks she’s not meeting.
- We also record any health problems that are diagnosed in an individual does or bucks, along with the treatment given. This helps us keep track of issues that arise and what treatments were most effective. We also make notes when a buck is no longer able to breed because he becomes injured or ill.
- Doe Records – Our records also include a list of all does that have been bred, along with the date. This allows us to keep track of which does we still need to breed and how long it’s been since she was last bred.
- We make a note when any doe passes away, as well as her cause of death (if known). Keeping complete and accurate records like this allows us to learn which rabbits are more susceptible to specific types of health problems.
- Kits / Doe Records – We keep records for our kits as well. Our first priority is to record each kit’s birth date and weight. This allows us to estimate the age of any unweaned bunny we find on the farm, which can be helpful in checking up on new moms who might not yet have their litter out with them during a barn check!
- Breeding Charts –
- One of the most important things to keep track of is when does are due. We create a breeding chart for each breed, which includes an estimated date that all future litters from our does should be born by. These charts can be found in each doe’s record (in their own folder).
- We also note how many times each doe is bred per year. While some breeds are more prolific than others, our does usually average one litter every four months.
- We can then use this information to estimate how old each kit was when they were born, which provides an interesting insight into the growth rates of different litters (and even individual kits). For example, if we notice that one litter has kits that are much larger than the rest at a given age, we know they’re getting more food than their siblings.
- We also record how many does each buck is bred to per year, so that he gets time off between breeding seasons (and doesn’t over-breed any of our girls!). We then use this information to estimate how old each kit was when they were sired, which helps us keep track of growth rates and differences in litter sizes (it’s common for some litters to be smaller or larger than others, even if the does are bred at the same time).
- We also record whether we plan on keeping any kits from a given litter, as well as the intended doe (or buck) they’ll be bred to. This allows us to estimate how quickly we should plan on breeding each doe again, in order to keep them cycling at a consistent rate.
- Tatoo Number Records –
- We also keep records of each bunny’s tattoo number, which is embedded in their ear. This allows us to quickly lookup information about any individual rabbit, including when they were born and who they are related to (if anyone). It also helps us track what kits belong with each doe – if we ever find an unweaned kit out in the barn, we can quickly look up which doe she’s related to and who her mom is!
- Breeding Records –
- We use our breeding records for more than just tracking litter. Our buck does are all color-coded with red collars, while any buck kits wear green ones. This allows us to quickly see which does is related to each other.
- We also note when any breeding occurs, including the date, doe’s name (and tatoo number), buck’s name, and breed, along with his color-coded collar. This makes it easy for us to keep track of how often bucks get bred in a given year – if we notice that a buck is getting bred more or less often than usual, it can raise some red flags.
- Some of our does are also color-coded with pink collars. This indicates which doe’s breed first at the beginning of each breeding season – this way, we never accidentally breed any bunny twice in one year! During the breeding season, we always ensure that each doe gets the pink collar treatment if she is bred more than once in a given year.
- We also track how many times does are rebred. We usually allow our rabbits to breed every four months, so it’s important for us to keep records of which does have already been bred during any specific breeding season. This is especially important when it comes to our does who are rebred – we always ensure that they get the pink collar treatment once more before any potential second litters from them go up for sale!
- Sold – We also track which kits have been sold. While some of these records can be found in previous folders, we’ve created a new one just for keeping track of our outgoing rabbits.
- We also keep records of who has been named. While most of these are listed in the rabbitry’s master list, it never hurts to have a backup copy! We’ve created new folders for each breed so that we can quickly check which names have already been used for other breeds – it can be really confusing when we want to name two rabbits with the same breed and color together!
- This way, we never accidentally use a given name twice – it allows us to keep track of which names are used for each breed. It also makes it easier for us to find new names in any given category (we like using lots of colors and breeds for this reason!)
- Illness/Wounds – We also keep records of any wounds. While we try to monitor the kits’ health ourselves, it’s good to know when a given wound is found so that we can take care of it ASAP. Our rabbits are all housed in different hutches at night, which makes monitoring them during the day more difficult.
- We also keep records of any illnesses. These are the most important to track, as our rabbits can easily get sick if they’re not monitored closely. Unfortunately, this means that we have to be very careful about which kits or does are housed together – it’s too risky for us to mix and match them!
- ARBA Registration Records
- We also keep records of each bunny’s ARBA registration number. This allows us to keep track of which rabbits we’ve sold and who they belong to. If we find a rabbit that doesn’t have an owner, we can check our records for the last known owner (assuming there is one) as well as any previous owners! We’re all about keeping track of our rabbits.
- We also keep records of each rabbit’s official ARBA name. While this might sound like something that doesn’t matter (and it can easily be replaced with their registration number), having an actual name for every single one is actually very important! We like to build up relationships with the bunnies in our rabbitry, and having an official name is one of the best ways to do this!
- Show / Competition Records – We also keep records of any show or competition results. While we don’t enter our rabbits into shows all that often, it’s good to know if they’ve ever won anything! Our recent rabbitry management software has allowed us to download these results directly into Excel, which makes keeping track of them much easier.
- Pedigree Records – We also keep records of each rabbit’s pedigree. These are actually very important, as many potential buyers like to know exactly where their rabbits come from. It gives them a good idea about how well the bunnies will do in shows, and helps us ensure that we’re breeding healthy stock together!
- Expenses – We also keep records of any expenses we’ve had. This includes everything from food to veterinary bills – keeping track of all our rabbitry’ expenses helps us make sure that we’re not spending too much money on them! It’s important for us as a business, and it makes the rabbits more valuable in terms of how healthy they are.
- Income – We also keep records of any income. While we don’t sell our rabbits all that often, it’s helpful to know how much they’re worth in case a potential buyer comes along! We’ve had some really good prices for them at times, which is awesome. It makes us feel like running a rabbitry was the right choice!
- Extra Sources of Income – Pets/Meat/Fur/Manure –
- We also keep records of any extra sources of income that we get! This is something that’s really important for us – it allows us to be more self-sustainable and less reliant on outside help. This means the rabbits are worth even more in terms of how healthy they are, too! We love having lots of different kinds of
- Bottom Line – Keeping track of everything in our rabbitry has been a big job, but it’s definitely worth the effort! Keeping track of who belongs to whom and what they’ve done is much easier now that we have Zoo Easy Software
Rabbitry Task Needed Done
Thes need is done on a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule
Daily Rabbit Management
- Replenish Food and Water – check for empty or Frozen water
- Check general health signs of each rabbit
- Spend time handling each rabbit
- Check on the Condition of any litters
- Spot Clean Cages
Weekly Rabbit Management
- Handling Rabbits check condition of paws, feces, teeth,ears, and eyes
- Make ant repairs needed to cages
- Clean all cages / sanitize
- Check Hutch Cards
- Check all Feed Supplies for the next week
Monthly Rabbit Management
- Check Thoroughly your complete operation
- Check Litters, all nesting Boxes, move rabbits if needed to more cages
- Any Butchering needed to be scheduled
- Any Grooming needs to be done
- Any Shearing needed ( Angoras )
- Trim Nails and Teeth
- Update all Rabbit Records
Rabbit Hutch Cards – Include
|Rabbit Hutch Card||Information|
|Rabbit Hutch Card|
|Number of Kits Born|
|Number of Kits Weaned|
keeping track of everything in our rabbitry is a big job, but it’s definitely worth the effort! Keeping track of who belongs to whom and what they’ve done is much easier now that we have Zoo Easy Software