Routines, Tools and Equipment for Raising Rabbits

Expert advice on which tools and equipment for raising rabbits is absolutely vital to your success, plus some rabbit handling advice.

  • An arm protector can be made out of a heavy boot sock.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • A wire brush is an indispensable tool in the rabbitry; also useful are a brush with nylon bristles and a slicker brush.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • A pail or bucket can be used to securely store feed.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • Other handy items for the rabbitry include a propane torch to burn hair from hutches and an aluminum photo reflector to provide heat under nest boxes when temperatures plummet.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • The all-wire nest box can come in handy when weighing your rabbits.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • A plastic garbage bag can become a necessity when butchering, as a depository for offal; and skinning hooks are an excellent way to hang the bag.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • Use a plier-type tattoo tool to identify your stock with numbers and letters.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • A folding cart that can easily fit in your vehicle helps when you are transporting rabbits to a showroom for judging.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • A motion-activated light can be useful for safety and protection.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • If you need to feed your rabbits during darkness, a lighted cap like this one will leave your hands free to do your work.
    Illustration by Steve Sanford
  • Rabbit Housing by Bob Bennett
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

Your rabbits are in their hutches. Those hutches are under cover. Now is a good time to assess what you need, and what you might simply want, to keep everything running smoothly.

We’ve covered basic housing options and the typical rabbit feed and watering options already. But what about all those extra tools that make running a rabbitry go smoother – the things you’d never think about until you were helping a buddy cull a few rabbits and you had one of those where-did-you-get-that-thing moments? And where should you draw the line between essential and nonessential?

Read on, and we’ve got you covered with some devices that may or may not be fundamental to your rabbit keeping operation, drawing on decades of rabbit-keeping experience and expertise. And then once you have everything you need, it’s a good idea to establish a regular routine for your animals.

The necessities

Let’s start with you — with what to wear — and then proceed to what your rabbits need.

Long-sleeved top. After handling rabbits, you realize that while they have a reputation for being soft and cuddly, they are also noted for scratching and shedding. When handling them, long sleeves are a must. Wooly sweaters are not a good idea, as rabbits’ nails can get caught in them, and shedding hair sticks to them. A twill or nylon shop coat, full canvas apron over a sturdy shirt or blouse, or sweatshirt make a good outfit for the rabbitry. I have a favorite thigh-length denim jacket.

Rose gloves or boot sock. When carefully looking over young stock at weaning time, deciding what to keep and what to cull, you realize what sharp nails they have. And they tend to aim for the insides of your wrists and forearms.

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