Rabbit housing (hutches and cages) and equipment differ from country to country. Factors governing their design include climate, availability and cost of raw materials, scale and system of production and the expertise of the rabbit keeper.
There are, however, some basic requirements which all hutches and equipment should satisfy and any new or existing hutches and equipment should be assessed against these requirements.
Rabbit Housing Requirements
Any rabbit hutch should provide adequate space and protection for the rabbit and also convenience to the rabbit keeper.
Since the rabbit is going to be in the hutch for life there is need to provide enough space to minimize restriction of movement.
For the rabbit to be able to stretch itself and carry out its normal activities then horizontal and vertical space are all important.
Space is also critical for good ventilation and temperature regulation within the hutch. These are necessary to maintain good health and prevent diseases.
Floor space recommendations vary from 3.5 to 10 sq ft/rabbit to allow territory establishment. Others recommend 3.5 hop lengths per rabbit as a general rule.
Regardless, group-housed rabbits should be provided escape and hiding places and should be frequently monitored.
For the farmer to be successful, it is necessary to provide adequate protection to his rabbits.
This protection is against injury within the hutch, from direct sunlight, rain, direct and indirect wind, sudden noises, predators like dogs, cats, rats, snakes, safari ants and human thieves.
3. Convenience to the rabbit keeper
For a successful operation on the rabbit farm, the house should be designed in such a way to assist the keeper to carry out routine practices like observation, examination, handling, feeding, mating the rabbits, cleaning and disinfection. Also there should be room for expansion when the number multiplies.
In conclusion, skills needed for a successful rabbit operation therefore include Observation, examination, record keeping, hutch design, building and siting, food identification, selection, production and storage, and good management.
Observation is a skill that comes with practice but can be developed with the help of questions to be used each time you visit the rabbit unit.
Rabbit examination is required after a new rabbit is being bought or rabbits are being checked prior to selection for breeding.
Weighing is done to check on their growth and their general condition. Nail trimming, rabbits nails need to be trim from time to time.
Identification: This is a way and means of recognizing ones animals (rabbits) and differentiating between one’s animals (rabbits) from another farmer’s own and differentiating between individual animals (rabbits).
There are several methods employed to achieve this. Writing in the ear, Labels, Ear-notching
Record keeping and analysis: It is necessary to keep records as the number increases. Two types of records are required. Financial records and Animal records.
Read Also: The Different Breeds of Rabbits