THE food value of rabbit flesh is very considerable. If plenty of greenstuff is available – from garden, allotment, field, wood, hedge-row – and such waste as potato peelings, prunings and clippings from trees and bushes, all that need be purchased for the summer feeding of rabbits is hay; neither bran, meal nor oats is really essential. In winter they need such roots as undersized or spoiled potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beet, swedes, turnips, mangolds, plus a little hay.
Hutches are very easily contrived, and breeding is simple. A doe in good condition is capable of producing three litters in a year, each litter numbering five or six, and young rabbits are generally fit for the table round about sixteen weeks old. Not until after her fourth year, as a rule, does a doe show any falling off in her breeding capacity. Rabbits are, therefore, extremely profitable livestock.
A Plan for Rabbits.
Hutches can stand outdoors or in an open shed. Protection from the weather consists in excluding rain and draughts. A roomy hutch can be made to stand on four legs in the fowl run if no other space is available, without robbing the birds of any of their own accommodation.
A number of hutches all of similar size can be stacked against a fence or wall, provided the floor of each is thick enough to prevent moisture soaking through to the hutch below. The top hutch of the tier needs a backward-sloping roof, covered with tarred felt or linoleum, the roof to project 3 in. or 4 in. at the front and at both sides.
Exact size of hutches may perhaps be governed by wooden boxes available for conversion, or by the amount of timber that can be secured. The larger they, are the more convenient,’ both for the owner and the rabbits.
A useful size for a breeding hutch is 41 ft. long by 2 ft. high and 2 ft. from back to front. Youngsters to be separated from the need doe when they are four to five weeks old. They need plenty of exercise then, and hutches about 18 in. long by 12 in. by 12 in. should be regarded as the minimum size. Extra hutches can be made as the stock increases in number.
Outdoors they should face south if possible, shade from hot sun in summer being provided by the wooden front of the sleeping compartment.
In fine, dry weather several young rabbits could run together in a wire-covered wooden framework 5 ft. or 6 ft. long, 3 ft. or so wide and 18 in. deep, placed on a lawn or other piece of ground, with a closed-in communal sleeping apartment at one end.
So that every corner of a hutch can be got at quickly and easily, for cleaning purposes, the front should be made to open completely; about two-thirds of the front consisting of a hinged framework covered with 1-in. mesh wire netting, the other third being a hinged wooden door behind which is the sleeping compartment. The latter is separated from the open run by a strip of wood leaving an opening wide enough for the rabbit to pass through comfortably.
Hinges should be not at the top but at one side or at the bottom. If at the bottom, the door must be able to swing down completely, otherwise cleaning-out operations are apt to become complicated.
Hutches to stand in tiers must be very secure on their bases, or a high wind may topple them all over. The bottom one should be raised about 6 in. off the ground and the top one given a backward-sloping roof of ample proportions.
A Communal Run. A dry-weather run to accommodate several young rabbits, as previously referred to, should have a bottom of wide-mesh wire instead of a wooden floor. This allows the rabbits to nibble the grass, if on a lawn, and it prevents them burrowing if on bare soil.
One-half of the top should be made to lift up, and there should be an outside door to the sleeping chamber. A run of this description should be shifted each day; and in wet or cold weatiier the rabbits using it should be put back into ordinary hutches.
It might be possible to enclose a small area of ground with 4-ft. wire netting for use by rabbits during the day – with, of course, an open top if there is no danger from cats. The wire should be supported on strong stakes, and the lower 6 in. of it should be buried in the ground to prevent the occupants burrowing out. It must be remembered that rabbits are very destructive of trees, shrubs and other plants, so any enclosed area should be free of anything of this nature on which value is set. Bedding, Cleaning Out.
Sleeping chambers should be floored with bracken, dry leaves, lawn mowings, straw, sawdust, or dry soil, to absorb moisture and also form a snug bed for the rabbits.
The wire-fronted portion of the hutch can be sprinkled with dry soil or sawdust.
Cleaning out is a twice-weekly job. If it is neglected there will be odours, and the health of the rabbits may be affected. Particular attention has to be paid to that corner to which each rabbit goes; that corner can quickly become sodden and insanitary.
Floors should be scraped, if necessary, and fresh litter supplied frequently. The manure and soiled litter should not be wasted. With the exception of sawdust litter, which should be burned, the material can be scattered around vegetables or other plants as a rich top-dressing, or it can be dug into the ground. Another excellent plan is to dig a pit and use this as a depository for the manure and litter, each layer as it is added being covered with a sprinkling of soil. The accumulation can then be dug in, in bulk, when ground is being prepared for crops or other plants.
Sawdust Utter should be piled in a heap to become dry, when it can be burned. The ashes should be saved dry and under cover, for use as a rich soil dressing when required.
The fundamental necessities realized – apart from feeding, dealt with in later paragraphs – consideration can be given to the question of suitable breeds.
These are the Flesh Producers.
The astonishing rate at which rabbits breed allows of an extremely modest start in the production of rabbit meat for the table. Two good does, or even one, may suffice for a beginning. The purchase of a buck is not likely to be necessary. For a trifling sum the does could be mated with a buck at the establishment where the does are purchased; or a similar arrangement could be come to with a rabbit-keeping neighbour who really knows what he is about.
Breeds noted for their fur cost more to purchase than ordinary table breeds. Among the most popular of the latter are the steely-grey Flemish Giant, the reddish-brown Belgian Hare (the two largest), and the variously marked English and Dutch. A popular cross is the Belgian Hare X Flemish Giant.
Choice of rabbits at purchasing time will probably be governed by cost. A rabbit should not be purchased for breeding just because it may be cheap, though good nondescripts can be a very profitable proposition. With the latter class one does not pay for a name.
The Animals to Buy.
A visit to a local rabbit breeder’s place, preferably in company with a knowledgeable friend, is usually productive of useful results. Conditions in which the animals are kept should be noted, these having an important bearing on the health of the stock. Inquiry should also be made as to what exactly is being given as feed. It might be necessary for the purchaser to adapt the feeding programme to his own special circumstances, and knowledge of the current food items will enable an adjustment to be made without too drastic a change to begin with.
Personal inspection before purchasing is a commonsense safeguard. Animals should not only be looked over for signs of such troubles as are mentioned later under ‘The Rabbit Doctor’ ; they should be handled.
The way to handle a rabbit is to grasp it by the loose skin at the top of the shoulders. It can then be lifted, the disengaged hand supporting the animal’s hindquarters. If grabbed by the ears or the ribs it will struggle violently, and probably scratch violently. A rabbit loose on the ground should be cornered, then with a quick movement pressed to the earth with the right hand across the back of its neck. A rabbit that has become used to its owner will allow itself to be picked up without any fuss if it is not frightened by noise or unnecessary awkward movements.
Rabbits purchased at a distance, without previous inspection, should be obtained only on approval.
Menu – What, When, How.
Rabbits eat a lot. But the amount of free food that may be obtained from garden, allotment, field, railway embankment and so on is very considerable.
From spring to late autumn the food may consist of weeds – chick-weed, groundsel, shepherd’s purse, dandelion, bindweed, cow parsley, plantain, coltsfoot, sow thistle; lawn mowings and cut grass generally; thinnings from the vegetable plot; outer waste leaves of lettuce, cabbage and all other greens, and the thick stumps of these split down the centre; empty pea pods and pea tops or haulm, carrot and radish and turnip tops, sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke leaves and stems; prunings from fruit trees and bushes; clippings from a hawthorn hedge, leaves of the lime tree, oak, elm, willow, poplar. There will be waste from the kitchen, including potato peelings boiled up with potatoes too small for table use.
Hay is about the only item of food that may need to be purchased; and a supply of this for winter use might be contrived by cutting long rough grass from wayside banks and railway embankments in summer, sun-drying it and storing under cover. Bracken (wild fern) can be used for bedding in summer and also cut and dried for the winter; for the latter purpose fallen leaves can also be gathered and kept dry in a shed.
For winter feeding, small, mis- shapen or otherwise unwanted roots of carrot, parsnip, beet, turnip, mangold, swede, boiled potatoes (throw-outs) and peelings, whatever waste leaves of greens may be available, and acorns. The latter should be gathered ripe – from the ground – and stored in the dry for five or six weeks, then given at the rate of three per rabbit per day. Hay will be needed. Plants Not to be Given.
A few plants are definitely on the forbidden list. These include uncooked potatoes and peelings, potato-tops, rhubarb leaves and stems, laurel leaves and stems, privet, yew, laburnum, rhododendron, dahlia, geranium, chrysanthemum, foxglove, deadly and woody nightshade, poppy heads and leaves, henbane, sorrel, buttercup, and hemlock.
It is important that the difference between hemlock, which is deadly to rabbits, and cow parsnip, which is a valuable rabbit food, should be realized. Hemlock has a dark green, smooth, round stem with purple spots and blotches; cow parsnip (also known as cow parsley and hog weed) has no such markings and its stem is thick, rough, grooved and hairy.
How Much Food.
Adult rabbits should be fed twice a day, at fixed hours. The feeding of the breeding does and very young rabbits is dealt with in later paragraphs. Just how much to give at the morning and evening feeds has to be discovered by watching the animals at meals. Appetites vary.
It has been reckoned that rabbits require, for a day’s meals, a bulk of food which works out at about 2 ounces to every pound of the rabbit’s live weight. On this estimation a 6-lb. rabbit would thrive on 5 ounces of green food or roots and 1 ounce of hay for breakfast, and the same for supper.
The practical method of feeding is to give at each meal just as much as the rabbit will clear up and enjoy in a few minutes. If anything remains it should then be removed; stale or tainted food gives rise to stomach disorders.
Stomach disorders can arise also from a monotonous diet – too much of one kind of greenstuff over too long a period. The greenstuff has to be varied as much as possible. On a good mixture rabbits put on more flesh in shorter time and escape digestive upsets.
Variety can be increased by giving cooked potatoes or potato peelings, or chopped mangolds or swede, mixed with bran, if the latter can be obtained. But if bran is hard to come by it would be better to feed it only to the breeding does and the youngest rabbits. Grown-ups might have it as a small addition to one of the two daily meals, or in place of part of one of these.
A precaution called for in winter concerns frosted greenstuff and roots. Food in that condition is dangerous. Foodstuffs should be taken indoors when frost is about and kept where they will not freeze; if already frozen they should be placed near a fire for the whole of a night so tiiat they are thoroughly thawed by the morning.
How to Give Food.
Greenstuff and hay may be placed in one corner of the floor – if the latter is clean, as it should be, and any scraps removed when the rabbit has taken its fill. A cleaner plan is to place this food in a rack made of wide-mesh wire netting; the mesh should be not smaller dian 1in. or 2 in..
Wire to make this rack can be about 10 in. wide and 18 in. or 2 ft. long. The two ends are brought together and secured, and the bottom folded inwards. The rack is then ready to hang up inside the hutch, on one of the walls or on the wire of the door. The rabbit has no difficulty in getting at the contents, which cannot be soiled. It would not be pracuca-ble as a permanent fixture in a small hutch; in this case die rack is removed at the end of the meal.
For cooked potato an earthenware trough is required, or a homemade shallow wooden box; an earthenware trough has the advantage that it is more easily cleansed, a wooden box requiring much scraping and scouring with boiling water to keep it sweet. Whatever it is made of, this utensil must be fairly heavy; in any case the rabbit will do its best to upset it. The same applies to the water container – fresh water being a necessity. This vessel is better hung on the wire of the hutch front, if that can be contrived.
In hard weather pieces of root left over from a feed will soon freeze, and it is important that these should be removed. At such times a warm mash of potato and bran is greatly appreciated; and as a change from halved or quartered roots these may be chopped up fairly small and mixed with bran.
A piece of old dry sacking, carpet, linoleum or anything of like nature hung over part of the front of a hutch at night, and by day during driving rain or snow or cutting winds, will keep the interior dry and snug. The reverse of that condition is not conducive to flesh production.
Raising a Litter.
Breeding is the pivot on which the scheme of rabbits for the table swings. The first litter will provide the rabbit keeper with a buck, or bucks, to father more litters. Rapid increase of stock is, of course, to be desired; but not at the expense of the health of the breeding does and of the baby rabbits.
When Mate Rabbits.
A mistake commonly made is to allow does to be mated before they are old enough. This results not in a vigorous, well-fleshed litter, but in weaklings difficult to rear, or which perish. If they manage to reach table age they will be undersized, and the real profit will have gone out of them.
Does reach maturity in from six to eight months, this depending on the breed. Breeding is not confined to any particular season of the year, though spring and summer are most favourable. Winter litters, with luck, are possible; autumn is the trickiest time, that being the general moulting season.
Bucks are mature at about nine months old, and those intended for breeding should be selected for their vigour and firm flesh.
It can be taken that a doe is in season – this occurs at intervals of about three weeks – when she is more restless than usual, when she stamps with her hind feet and carries bits of straw or other Utter in her mouth. If she is to be mated it should be done promptly then.
How to Mate Rabbits.
It is unwise to take the buck to the doe. She should be placed gently in the buck’s hutch, and watched. The mating satisfactory, she should be returned to her own hutch and left in peace. This means no unnecessary disturbance.
If the mating does not take place – there may be a quarrel, or neither may take any notice of the other – the doe should be removed and not returned to the buck’s hutch for two or three days. In such cases a two-compartment mating hutch is very useful; a sliding, wire-covered partition separates doe and buck. When it is seen, after a day or so, that the two are on more favourable terms, the partition is withdrawn. As soon as mating has taken place buck and doe are returned to their own quarters, or one is allowed to stay in possession.
After the Seventh Day.
Re-mating is sometimes necessary after the end of the first week and up to the end of the third week; if the doe is not in kindle the fact will be apparent between these times, for signs that she is again in season will be repeated.
The Nest. This the doe will make herself, in the sleeping compartment, of hay and lined with fur from her own body. She will resent any assistance. All she requires is plenty of food and fresh water. About thirty days elapse, after mating, before the litter arrives.
There must be no haste to inspect the new arrivals, who will be entirely without fur, deaf and blind. After the third day, a cautious cleaning of the hutch may be carried out and any dead removed. If such there are they are not likely to be in the nest; the doe will have cast them out. Neither nest nor litter should be touched if this can possibly be avoided.
If any handling must be done the hands should first be rubbed in the hutch sawdust or in dry soil. At such times a doe may strongly object to the human smell and show her resentment by leaving her litter to look after itself, which, of course, it is quite unable to do.
When to Wean.
Baby rabbits begin to open their eyes round about the ninth day, but as a rule they do not leave the nest for at least a fortnight; after which they must be allowed another four or five weeks before being parted from the doe. A winter litter should not be taken away until the end of the eighth week.
A safe guide is their behaviour at feeding time. When they nibble heartily at the varied items presented they are in fit condition to leave the doe.
The twice-a-day feeding scheme for older rabbits – that is, those not required for breeding but which will go to the table when large enough – is not adequate in the case of a doe with a litter (or in kindle). As well as morning and evening feeds there should be one at midday. Boiled potato and peelings mixed with a little bran, or with clover hay chopped finely, make an excellent breakfast. If bran is not possible, the warm potato mash can be given without it; and the omission of the clover hay chaff, if unobtainable, will make no great difference. Morning and evening feeds will consist of greenstuff or juicy roots and hay.
At this time fresh clover, in moderation, is greatly enjoyed. It is worth every effort to vary the green food as much as possible, for whilst the doe is full fed and contented the baby rabbits will be growing briskly. Lack of growth at this critical period cannot be made up for afterwards.
Soon enough the youngsters will join the doe at the feeding trough, the greenstuff and hay rack, and at the water vessel, and combined and increasing appetites will have to be reckoned with. Three-times-a-day feeding of the youngsters should continue for a time after separation.
Moving the Litter.
Preparation of quarters for the litter ought not to be left to the last minute. If no large hutch is available to take them all, one should be made well in advance of the time for their removal. The alternative is smaller hutches each to house two of the young ones.
Hutches that have previously been in use should be scrubbed out with hot soapy water, allowed to dry, and then limewashcd before being reoccupied. Cleanliness needs to be combined with sunlight and sufficient exercise.
Rabbits cramped in crowded quarters, or confined solitarily where there is scarcely space to lie down and stretch out full length, as they love to do, will not put on much flesh – and what they have is more than likely to be flabby and lacking in taste. The next best thing to a wire-enclosed space for fine-weather exercise is a moveable wood and wire run placed in the sun on the lawn or on other short grass.
Litters of approximately the same age can be combined. It does not matter how many run together, given the necessary space. But they must be sorted out by the end of the third month. If bucks and does are left together after that age there may be undesirable (because too young) mating; the two sexes must be separated at three months old. Sex can be determined about a fortnight after birth.
Three Litters a Year.
Over a period of twelve months a doe in good condition should rear three litters. It is not necessary to wait until a litter has been weaned before mating her again, though the youngsters should be about four weeks old before another mating is allowed; they can have another fourteen days or so with her after the mating.
After the fourth year of breeding a doe may be regarded as past her best; there will be a foiling off of results. Another, and younger one, should then take her place. If there is any appreciable deterioration before that period it might be advisable to send her to the table.
When Fit for Table.
The smaller, more compact breeds, such as the English, should be fit for the table at about four months old. Beyond that age they put on little extra weight, so it is scarcely economical to keep them after about the sixteenth week. Another couple of months can be allowed for the naturally bulkier breeds such as the Flemish Giant and Belgian Hare and crosses between these two.
No extra effort to fatten rabbits for the home table is necessary. They should be fed at each meal until they are satisfied, right from the beginning. In their early days the doe will do the feeding, and if she is properly fed the babies will thrive with her.
The number of bucks that need be kept for breeding need not exceed one for every 10 or 12 does.
How to Kill. The rabbit marked down for killing should be given no food during the twelve hours previous to the blow that will stun it. It should be lifted with the left hand by the hind legs and given one smart blow just behind the ears with the edge of the open right hand or with a thick stick. The blade of a knife – a pocket knife is handiest – is then jabbed into the side of the neck just at the base of the head, and the carcase held up or hung up until bleeding ceases.
If the pelt (skin) is to be saved for any purpose the fur must be kept free of blood.
How to Skin.
The carcase suspended from a hook by a string around the neck, the skin is cut through down the centre of the underside, from chest down to stomach, and the entrails removed, leaving kidneys, liver and lungs.
After the cars have been cut off and the eyeballs removed it is placed flat on a board and the feet chopped off at the first leg-joint. The cut is then continued from the stomach to the root of the tail. While it is still on its back, removal of the skin is begun by pressing the left hind leg bone hard on to the board and turning back over it the skin on that side. Given a sharp pull, the skin will then slip off that joint. This is repeated with the right hind leg.
The carcase is then turned over and pressed down with the left hand whilst with the right hand the skin is pulled upwards. It comes away easily as far as the shoulders. The front legs are then dealt with in the same manner as the rear ones, and the skin pulled completely off.
Before cooking, either whole or jointed, the carcase should be placed in salty water – a teaspoon-ful of salt to a pint of water – for twenty minutes.
Disposal of Skins.
If a purchaser can be found for the skins the price he may offer will depend on colour, texture, condition and so on, of the fur. Pelts of the recognized fur breeds naturally fetch higher prices, and these are highest during winter – November to February – skins then generally being in their best condition.
Whether skins are for sale or for home use they should be removed as soon as possible after killing, whilst there is still warmth in the carcase. Buyers prefer them to be dried naturally; tins is done by hanging the skins up where air will play upon them and dry them hard and stiff.
Skins for Home Use.
It is possible to preserve rabbit skins for home use by dressing the inner side with strong alum water. The skin is extended, without undue stretching, fur side downwards on a piece of board large enough to leave a margin of an inch or two all round, and securing it there with tacks at the outer edges ( 439)-
It is then scraped perfectly clean with the upright edge of a knife, carefully, so that fur is not exposed through the inner skin at any point. When no vestige of fat or flesh remains it is dabbed all over with water containing as much alum as will dissolve in it. This dressing is repeated daily for seven or eight days. The solution should be kept from the fur.
The skin, removed from the board, is then hung up in a current of air – in a warm room during rainy weather or winter – until it is as hard and stiff as a board. To render it soft and pliable again it is rubbed with a piece of flat-sided pumice stone at frequent intervals.
An alternative method of preservation consists in covering the tacked-down and scraped skin with finely powdered alum and salt and saltpetre, mixed in the proportion of two parts each of alum and salt and one part of saltpetre. When this mixture has absorbed its load of moisture and grease it is scraped off, and if necessary another dressing is applied. When it is perfectly clean and hard and dry pliability is restored to the skin by vigorous rubbing between the hands.
The Rabbit Doctor.
Prompt isolation of a rabbit suspected to be unwell may save a lot of trouble. It should be placed in a separate hutch, dry and out of draughts. If the trouble can be diagnosed a decision has then to be come to as to whether it would be better to kill the animal rather than attempt to cure it. Separating it from others is the most important thing to begin with; if it happens to be suffering from a contagious complaint there will be far less risk of this being passed on.
After handling a rabbit suffering from any skin disease, such as mange, the hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and hot water. The hutch and feeding utensils that have been used by any ailing rabbit should be scrubbed out with hot water containing soap, soda and some strong disinfectant.
Some of the troubles are dealt with in following paragraphs.
Cold in the Head.
Symptoms are as for the human cold – inflamed and runny eyes, runny nose, sneezing; and the complaint may pass very swiftly from rabbit to rabbit. A damp hutch, or one in a draughty position, will bring on a cold. The patient should be removed at once to dry, warm, sunny quarters, and if possible offered a drink or two of warm milk. Plenty of freshly gathered, succulent greenstuff will be helpful.
A cold may develop into slobbers, the animal slobbering at the mouth. This is difficult to cure, and the alternative to keeping the patient in strict quarantine is to kill it.
A swollen stomach, obviously causing some pain, may point to colic. This can be brought on by too much wet green food, or too much green food of one kind instead of a variety. A tcaspoonful of castor oil should be given before the first feed of the day, the rabbit’s jaws being held apart and its head back while an assistant administers the medicine. There must be no fumbling here; a rabbit can bite, and cause a nasty wound. If this should happen the bite should be washed at once and dressed with one of the well-known skin ointments.
An alternative method is to mix the castor oil with a little bran or meal and offer this in a saucer. If the rabbit is hungry, and eager for its breakfast, it will probably take it.
The body will appear to be blown up and the rabbit will be reluctant to eat. A too-small hutch, resulting in lack of exercise, or insufficient fresh greenstuff, or not enough drinking water, will cause constipation. The remedy is as given under colic.
With this affliction a rabbit falls away in weight and is obviously out of condition. There may be a yellowish discharge from the ears. These should be opened with the fingers and examined; if it is ear canker there will be scurf and dried wax visible. While an assistant holds the patient securely, a small quantity of salad oil should be poured into the ear. This will soften the matter at the bottom of the ear and enable most of it to be removed with a piece of soft cloth or cotton-wool twisted around the end of a pencil.
The interior of the ear should then be dressed with carbolic ointment. Treatment to be repeated daily for a week, or longer if necessary. Until cured, the rabbit must be isolated.
External parasites – lice and fleas – flourish in dark, damp, smelly conditions. A rabbit that remains thin in spite of good meals, has a dull eye, and mopes, is probably suffering from the attentions of small pests. At the base of die fur on the forehead and around the ears they may be quite numerous.
The sufferer should be treated to a good dusting with flowers of sulphur, or other well-known insect powder, this being rubbed on to the skin: the rabbit being held with one hand while the other hand parts the fur and an assistant does the dusting and rubbing-in. The powder must be kept from the patient’s eyes. The rabbit should then be shifted to a perfectly clean hutch in full light, sunshine if possible, and the dressing repeated every day until the trouble is ended.
Any cracks, crevices or corners of the hutch in which parasites might take shelter should be filled with the insect powder.
Diarrhoea is easily brought on by an excess of wet or stale green food. In a bad case the rabbit will lose weight and be in very poor condition. The remedy is to withhold all green food and give stale crusts, oats, and some hay, until the droppings become normal again. Fresh green feed may then be resumed, in small quantities at first.
The most serious of these is mange. As widi all skin troubles every possible precaution must be taken against its spreading. A microscopic parasite is responsible for the loss of fur and the small crusts or scabs, whitish or yellowish in colour, which appear on the skin. Only head and legs are affected, not die body, and first indicadons of mange appear, as a rule, on the rabbit’s lips or nose.
Remedy consists in dabbing the scabs with warm soapy water; they will come away when thus softened. The places should then be smeared with sulphur ointment. Until the skin is quite clean again treatment should be continued twice a day.
Ringworm is similar in appearance, but the scabs are yellowish in colour. The places should be moistened as for mange, then dressed with iodine liniment.
Rough, flaky skin on various parts of the head, widiout loss of fur, may indicate scurf. Some loss of fur, with rough and flaky skin that can be felt if not seen, indicates eczema. Carbolic ointment should be rubbed in, daily or twice a day, until a cure is effected.
In all these cases particular attention must be paid to the cleanliness of the hutch, and it must not be forgotten that the complaints can be carried by means of the attendant’s hands to clean and healthy rabbits.
A tremendous appetite and skinny appearance can be taken as indicative of worms, which can sometimes be seen in the droppings. A very small quantity of areca nut – not more than six grains – should be given before the rabbit has its breakfast. The areca nut can be mixed with bran and a drop or two of milk, offered in a saucer. Half an hour later a teaspoonful of castor oil should be given. Breakfast can follow later. The trouble is contagious, and all droppings should be burned.
Disposal of Casualties.
A rabbit that dies, or has to be killed because of a complaint, should be buried deeply or burned.