ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rabbits 101

Updated on June 19, 2013
Source

This hub comes out of a personal bunny-interest of mine; curious about adopting one myself, I thought what better way to prepare myself as a future bunny owner than to write a hub about basic rabbit 101.

First thing I learned: they look great in shades.

Bunny tractor. But it's a bit of a slow march when one rabbit is mowing your lawn.
Bunny tractor. But it's a bit of a slow march when one rabbit is mowing your lawn. | Source

Rabbit Meat

While my future pet will not be for meat, rabbits are an easy to raise, low input, lean source of meat. While WWOOFing in France I was impressed with the number of rabbit farmers I met. Rabbit were hunted in old Europe, and provided an important source of nutrition for the early American settlers. Rabbits are an abundant pest problem, thus it only makes sense to me that rabbit (as well as deer) find a new place on our menus.

There are good nutritional reasons to eat rabbit. Rabbit meat is all white meat, making it the leanest meat of any livestock raised. It's cholesterol content is also very low. The low fat content however, means that in order to tenderize the meat it is often incorporated into stews with carrots, potatoes, and onions (Rabbit Stew hub coming soon!).

Rabbits are a very sustainable meat - that is they have a very small eco-footprint for the services (meat, fur, fertilizer, weeding) they provide:

  • Rabbits can easily be raised in urban areas they require so little space.
  • They are very efficient at producing meat. According to Slow Food USA, “Rabbit can produce six pounds of meat on the same amount of feed and water it takes a cow to produce just one pound.”
  • You can feed them your kitchen scraps, turning what would be waste into food.
  • Their poop can be used as fertilizer on your garden. Unlike chicken poop, rabbit feces can be applied directly to garden beds without needing to be composted first.
  • Rabbits can be put in "tractors" and used as a natural lawn mower (fertilizing as they go!).

Refrain from cute-speak.
Refrain from cute-speak. | Source
Rabbits 1 hour old. Not so cute and fluffy yet.
Rabbits 1 hour old. Not so cute and fluffy yet. | Source

Basic Rabbit Life Cycle

  • A rabbit's gestation period is one month, or 31 days. Just a few days after the doe (female rabbit) gives birth to her litter of kits (baby rabbits), she's ready to mate with a buck (male rabbit) again!
  • The mother's milk is extremely nutritious, and the kits double their size in just 6 days!
  • After 4-5 weeks the kits are ready to be weaned from the mother (this is when I will hope to claim a fuzz ball for myself!).
  • Pet rabbits can live for 7-15 years. Astonishing when you think that a wild rabbit usually only lives 2 years, a small fraction of that.

Bunny fecal matter. Uneaten cecal matter can be identified because it clumps together tightly like small grape clusters.
Bunny fecal matter. Uneaten cecal matter can be identified because it clumps together tightly like small grape clusters. | Source

Rabbit Nutrition

In my research on rabbit nutrition, I was delightfully shocked to learn about "night droppings." It was one of those moments where you just have to sit back and marvel at nature and the brilliant solutions it's crafted.

Rabbits will eagerly eat a lot of your vegetable kitchen scraps, in addition to alfalfa or other grain pellets. But rabbits also need large quantities of indigestible fiber in their diet, such as hay or grass. The fibers get sorted in the large intestinal tract so that they come out first as fecal pellets (poop) while pushing back into the digestive system the smaller fibers. These fall into the cecum, a pouch located between the small and large intestine that contains an ecosystem of beneficial bacteria. There it is fermented and turned into nutritious, digestable balls called cecotropes, or 'night droppings.' The rabbit then pushes these through the large intestinal tract a second time and licks them directly from its anus. Apparently a rabbit exudes pure bliss after licking these slimy chocolate-colored grapenuts out of its butt, and will - according to one bunny owner - adopt a 'cecotrophic smile.'

Cool video of a larger scale Rabbit Farm

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Tara, thanks for sharing this hub about rabbits. I would never eat one for meat, though. Voted up for interesting!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Night droppings. Oh. My. God.

      I will never look at rabbits the same way again. This was a FASCINATING overview, Tara! I've learned so much from it. I had no idea that rabbits were such a good source of sustainable, lean meat, and I also had no idea that their gestation period was so short! No wonder they can reproduce so quickly.

      Thanks for the awesome Hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)