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close this bookBetter Farming Series 37 - Raising Rabbits 2: Feeding Rabbits; Raising Baby Rabbits; Further Improvement (FAO, 1988, 49 p.)
close this folderTaking care of your rabbits
View the documentThe pens
View the documentFood and water
View the documentThe rabbits

The pens

237. It is very important to keep your rabbit pens clean. Your rabbits may get sick if their pens become dirty.

238. If you built your pens like those shown in the last booklet, they will usually stay clean. However, sometimes the droppings may not fall out of the pen.


239. So, watch carefully to see that no rabbit droppings collect on the floor or in the corners of your pen. If they do, brush them out.

Brush out rabbit droppings

240. Clean the pens of your full- grown rabbits with soap and water at least twice each year and more often if they become dirty.

Clean the pens

241. When your baby rabbits are big enough and no longer need their nest boxes clean the boxes with soap and water and put them away for the next time.

242. When all of your young rabbits have been eaten or sold, clean their pens with soap and water before you put in more young rabbits.


If a rabbit begins to ruin its pen by chewing the wood of the walls or the floor give it a piece of wood to chew.

Give it a piece of food to chew

Food and water

243. It is very important to feed your rabbits twice a day and to keep their feeders and water containers clean. Your rabbits may get sick if their food or water is dirty.

244. When you give your rabbits new food, uneaten food from the last feeding may be left if the food is clean and the feeders and containers are clean.

245. But if the old food or the feeders are dirty, take away the old food and clean the feeders before you put in new food.
246. In addition, if the water or the water containers become dirty, empty out the water, clean the containers and put in new water.

Clean containers and put in new water

The rabbits

247. Watch your rabbits carefully to see that they are not sick. A rabbit may be sick or getting sick if it

· does not eat its food
· loses weight
· dirties the fur around its tail
· sits in strange positions or cannot move about easily
· has rough, dry fur.

248. If one of your rabbits becomes sick, take it out of its pen, wash the pen with soap and water and, when the pen is dry, put the rabbit back.

Sick rabbit

249. If a rabbit becomes very sick, take it out of its pen to keep the sickness from spreading to your other rabbits. This is especially important when there are many rabbits in the same pen.

250. If a sick rabbit dies, burn it at once to keep the sickness from spreading.

Burn the dead rabbit

251. Here are some other things that you should watch for, and what to do if your rabbits have them.

252. Sometimes rabbits have sore ears. This may be caused by very small mites under the skin inside the ear. If this happens to any of your rabbits, wash out their ears using a clean cloth and vegetable oil.

Wash out their ears

253. Sometimes rabbits have sore or runny eyes. This may be caused by flies, or they may have scratched their eyes. If this happens to any of your rabbits, wash out their eyes using a clean cloth and clean water.

Wash out their eyes

254. If any of your rabbits sneeze or rub their nose or have a runny nose, they may have a cold. Make sure that they are dry and protected from wind and rain. Make sure that their food is clean and free from dust.

Rabbit may have a cold

255. If any of your rabbits have sore or bleeding feet, it may be caused by a rough place or a wet, dirty floor in their pen. First, smooth out rough places and clean and dry the pen. Wash their feet in warm, soapy water and rinse and dry them well. Then, rub the bottoms of their feet with vegetable oil.

Wash their feet

256. Rabbits that live in pens often grow very long toe claws. If their claws become too long they may get caught in the pen floor and the rabbits may hurt their feet. If this happens trim the claws carefully. However, avoid the red centre of the claw.

Trim the claws carefully

257. If any of your rabbits become sick and you do not know what to do or you need help with a problem, your extension agent will be able to give you good advice.