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Raising rabbits

Rabbits are easy to raise and so darn cute

I had four rabbits as a kid. Their names were Laverne, Shirley, Fonzie, and Richie. We had lots of fun raising them as pets. They were white with black noses, feet, ears, and pink eyes. I think they were they were the Californian breed.

Travis West is an Extension educator at Ohio State University. He says there are 49 recognized rabbit breeds in the United States, so choosing the right one for you depends on what you want to do with them, whether that be for meat, fur, or just a pet. Size matters, too.

"You can have breeds as small as 2 lbs., up to 22 lbs. The amount of space you have might also play into what size because the bigger the rabbit, the bigger the cages need to be," says West. "And the other thing that people might consider is how many bunnies they want to produce per year, or how many times they want them to have litters of bunnies. So the smaller the breed, typically the less number of young they have each time."

All rabbits regardless of size should live in a wire cage protected from the elements. A barn, garage, or shed are good places to keep them as long as the area is well-ventilated.

Rabbits require a lot of ventilation because of the ammonia content in their urine. You don’t want to raise them in an enclosed garage very long," says West. "The other thing that people need to consider is predators, things like coyotes, wolves. But typically the most common predator that causes issues with raising rabbits is the neighborhood dog that runs loose."

Rabbits will stay happy and healthy with water, and pellets that provide complete nutrition. And who doesn’t love to feed a bunny a carrot? It’s okay as an occasional snack, but it can throw off their diet. West says greens such as grass or lettuce will even give them diarrhea.

More helpful suggestions for raising rabbits

Not sure what kind of rabbit to get? Here's a listing of various rabbit breeds

Listing of rabbit breeders by state

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