Feeding Rabbits

Feeding. It is best to feed rabbits three, or even four times a-day, because when they are fed only twice during that time, a larger quantity of food must be given at each feeding, which is too often wasted. Babbits appear to relish their food best when given in small quantities, and you will soon learn how much to give at each time you feed, so as to avoid waste and yet for the rabbits to have enough. The does must be well kept, as we have just said, both before and after they have young ones, or it is useless to expect "their produce to be Vigorous and healthy. A doe with a litter will eat twice as much as at other times, and must be liberally supplied with green food, and carrots and parsnips, raw or, boiled, as well as with oats and hay. A few days both before and after kitting, every evening, we give to our does, a few table-spoonsful of gruel, made either with flour or oatmeal, and we find this a good practice, as the animal appears to sutler a good deal from thirst, about that period; care must be taken not to give this while it is hot, nor is it necessary to give much when there is an abundance of green meat A little cold water, or milk may be given instead of the gruel; we have never found it to hurt any of our rabbits.

Young rabbits when they first come out to feed must not be allowed to eat the greens, with which the doe is supplied; but they may nibble at carrots, and other roots, and at the little twigs we have mentioned, and gradually be accustomed to partake of a more moist diet.

Rabbit Breeding

Breeding. Rabbits begin to breed when about five or six months old, and will give seven or eight litters in the year, though it is better to allow them only to have live, as too frequent breeding is injurious. in thirty days after being with the buck, the doe produces her young. A few days before the time, some hay must be given to her, with which and the down she pulls from her fur, she will construct her bed. It is always a sign of the approaching birth of the young when she begins to bite down the hay, or carry it about in her mouth, and to tear the flue from her body. There are generally from four to ten young ones, sometimes more; but it is far better when the doe has so many, to keep only five or six of the finest, they will then grow up strong and healthy, and the doe will not be so much weakened as if all had been preserved. At the end of six weeks the young brood may be removed, and the doe and buck come together again. Great care is required during very severe weather, to prevent the young from dying with cold; and for this reason it is better to allow the doe to rest during the win er. The best breeding rabbits are said to be those produced in March.

Fattening. There is no need to resort to any other method in preparing rabbits for the table, than to give them as much oats, carrots, and green food as they choose to take; if fattened with com alone, the flesh is not so juicy and relishing, as when they are also allowed an unlimited quantity of vegetables. They are in the greatest perfection from about three to seven months old. and about a month's feeding as advised will make them thoroughly fat, provided they have not been half-starved previously. The New York poulterers exhibit tine specimens of fatted rabbits at Christmas, some we have seen weighing upwards of fifteen pounds; but it is not desirable to produce such over-fat animals, whether rabbits, or oxen, or sheep.

Rabbit Diseases

Diseases. Rabbits are generally very healthy, and hardy. When due attention is paid to their food, to ventilation and cleanliness, few animals are less subject to disease ; but, as in all other cases, tilth, foul air, aud damp, produce disease in rabbits. Looseness, which may be seen by the dung being too moist, must be remedied by dry food, such as crusts of bread, good corn, old hay, hard biscuit, or any food of a dry quality. The rot may be said to be incurable, at least we have found it so with young rabbits. The remedy must be looked for in dry hutches, fresh air, and substantial food. The liver complaint, Another disorder, is said also to be incurable; but as it does not prevent the rabbits from fattening, the best course is to prepare those attacked at once fur the table. Snuffles or colds may be cured by removing the rabbit from the damps and draughts, which have produced the disorder, to a drier and warmer place. It is much easier to prevent disease than to cure. Cleanliness, careful attention, dryness, and Tegular feeding in the manner we have directed, will, in general, ensure good health in the rabbits, and entirely prevent any of these diseases.

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Rabbit Profits

Rabbit Profits. Rabbits are really profitable. Three does and a buck will give you a rabbit to eat for every three days in the year, which is a very much larger quantity of food than any man will get by spending half his time in the pursuit of wild animals, to say nothing of the toil, the tearing of clothes, and the danger of pursuing the latter. When the amazing fecundity of the rabbit is taken info account, it will readily be seen that if the expense of food, and management can be kept low, a great profit may be obtained. It is said, that from a single pair of rabbits, the prodigious number of one million, two-hundred and seventy-four thousand, eight hundred and forty, may be produced in four years, supposing all the rabbits to live. We have shown how the least possible expense as to food may he attained, by pointing out the food which costs least, and vet is quite suitable for the animals ; and there appears to be no good reason, why, a person living in the country who has a shed and a garden should nut derive advantage from the keeping of rabbits, and when the care of them can be entrusted to a boy, the cost of management would of course be diminished. The value of the dung, either for sale, or for the garden is considetable, as it is a very valuable manure.

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