There are many reasons to domesticate and raise animals today: some do it for food, others for companionship, and still others for show. Rabbits are one of those animals that can, depending on your needs, fill any of these rolls. Raising rabbits for any reason can be an extremely rewarding venture, but only if you take the time to properly educate yourself. You won’t get far raising rabbits without the necessary knowledge… you’ve taken a step in the right direction by reading this. Keep reading to learn the essentials of raising rabbits.
The domestication of wild hares has been going on for thousands of years. Today, the creature is far more passive than its more wild relatives, meaning that they make for excellent pets. If you are raising rabbits for companionship, there are some important things you need to keep in mind. First, rabbits are no cats, and they are not dogs – as previously stated, they are very passive and don’t often engage in play, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Don’t expect to play rough with a rabbit the way you might with a dog. This means that they are excellent pets for children (who learn to handle them with care) because they don’t nip or knock down their playmate. Second, rabbits can often be very nervous, especially if the environment in which they live is dynamic and noisy – enclosing your pet bunny in a cage with a blanket over it can greatly reduce its anxiety. Third, if you let your rabbit roam free around your home, be ready to clean up after it! Even a housebroken rabbit can have accidents if it is frightened. Fourth and finally, avoid letting your rabbit outside unless it is very closely supervised. Rabbits are the natural targets for many large birds of prey, so it is not uncommon to have your beloved pet to the talons of a hawk or eagle.
If you are raising rabbits for food or fur, you should still be aware of the needs of the animal. Keeping your livestock happy and healthy is the key to a strong yield – the quality of both meat and fur can be diminished if the animal spends most of its time under stress or underfed. Try housing your rabbits in a comfortable environment that will protect them from both the elements as well as any potential predators in your area. Rabbit meat can be very high in protein and, depending on the hare’s diet and activity level, very palatable as well.
Whatever reason you have for raising rabbits, always keep in mind that they are living creatures who experience the same emotions that you do, only on a smaller scale. Whether you opt to keep them as pets, breed them for profit, or use their meat and fur to sustain you, always treat them with the respect that is due all living creatures and treat them as humanely as possible.