Preventing Disease

These are ways to prevent disease and other health problems in the rabbitry. It would be good to read through them and practice them yourself.

1. Worm your rabbits. I use Piperazine/Wazine frequently to prevent little white worms that look like flecks of white in perfectly formed feces. Once you start using this, your rabbit gains excellent flesh condition and the white flecks go away. It makes a huge difference, as the worms rob the rabbit of much needed nutrition.

2. Keep things clean! This is just common sense. You don’t need to scrub and disinfect everything weekly (although if you feel you must; it doesn’t hurt anything to!) Basically the cleaner you can keep your rabbitry and cages the better!

3. Use the correct medications before small things turn into a problem. Use neosporin or an injection of penicillin to ward off disease from gashes, to vent disease, etc. I’ve seen extreme cases of vent disease clear up overnight from one injection of penicillin! The stuff is a invaluable to keep in your barn! (Or refrigerator of course.)

4. To keep babies alive, before coccidiosis infects them, use a water treatment like terramycin powder. This will keep them from getting the disease and will save your litters. Do it BEFORE signs show, as usually when the signs show up, it is too late.

5. If your barn has lots of flies, use some sort of fly killer spray that is safe for the rabbits. I purchased on from KW Cages that releases every hour a mist that takes care of my 12×12 barn. The sprayer cost me about $35 and refills are under $10 and last for the entire month. It works very well. Cutting down flies means less maggots, less bad smells, and far less chance of flystrike.

6. It’s important to note that if you don’t clip the nails regularly, even in a clean cage they could pull or damage the nail and get a nasty infection that leads to illness or nail/toe loss. Remember bacteria is everywhere and only needs to be introduced into the bloodstream.

Saving those babies in the winter:
If you live in a place that goes under 20 degrees I would recommend bringing the nest boxes in with young babies (especially in those cases where you have only 2-3 babies in a litter.) Smaller litters generate less heat than that of a litter of 6-8 babies, so they are more prone to freeze. To be on the safe side, bring them inside overnight (away from any cats or dogs.) When you feed in the morning, put the nestbox back in the cage. Usually the does will jump in immediately to check on the babies and feed them. If it’s warmer now (above 30 degrees) you should be safe leaving them in the barn until the evening. This has saved me countless litters.

Keeping cool in the summer:
I’ve probably already mentioned this, but it is recommended that you use frozen water bottles in the summer. One per each rabbit when about 90 degrees. The rabbits can lay against them to cool off and drink the cool water that forms on the outside of the bottle. If you have fans running it helps a lot as well.
Keep the barn clean with as much manure removed as possible. Manure generates more heat!

I’ve never used one but a lot of places sell setups to “mist” your rabbits in the heat. This sounds good, but a cheaper way to do it is to get a spray bottle and spray their ears and head with some water. This will help them cool down a lot and they do learn to appreciate it!