New Zealand rabbit breed: characteristics, features of breeding at home
New Zealand rabbits have been popular with breeders for many years due to their early maturity and good meat productivity. Manufacturers of fur products like to buy their beautiful fur coats. If you want to become the owner of these animals, you can familiarize yourself with how to properly maintain this breed.
The New Zealand red breed was obtained in the United States by crossing the Belgian hare, Flanders and Silver rabbits with a half-wild rabbit, allegedly imported from New Zealand. The result was presented at an exhibition in 1910. Several years of work on crossing albinos from this breed with white Flanders led to the production of the New Zealand white rabbit breed in 1916.
White and red New Zealand rabbits are separate breeds, besides them the black color is also known. All of them belong to the meat-and-meat direction.
White New Zealand Rabbit
New Zealand white rabbit has the following characteristics:
- The coat is soft, smooth, velvety, painted white, other shades are not allowed. The undercoat is slightly silver.
- The head is medium in size, the ears are symmetrically set, 10–11 cm long, covered with wool, the tips are rounded.
- The nose is a little twisted.
- Males have chubby cheeks.
- The eyes are pink.
- The neck is almost invisible.
- The physique is strong, muscular, the length of the male is about 49 cm, the females are 47 cm. The chest and lower back are well developed, and the female has a small under-chest.
- Paws are powerful, short, claws are white or pale pink, wool is on the soles.
- Live weight - up to 5 kg.
- The offspring is 9–10 rabbits; rabbits do not have problems with milk feeding. Rabbits quickly gain weight.
- The character is friendly.
New Zealand Red Rabbit
New Zealand red rabbit is characterized as follows:
- The coat is medium-long, not too coarse, shiny, velvety, uniformly painted in brick red, dark red or bright red color, including on the sides and ears. There should be no places painted white; the color may be a tone lighter on the stomach, around the eyes, under the jaw and tail.
- The undercoat is uniformly colored, slightly lighter than the main color.
- Ears of medium length, strong, well covered with wool, length - 10.5-12.5 cm.
- The head is powerful, short, the forehead is wide, the neck is short, barely distinguishable.
- Brown eyes.
- The body is medium in size, has an oblong shape, rounded in the tail, chest and lower back wide.
- Paws are powerful, short, claws of dark color.
- Live weight is 3.5–5 kg, precocious.
- A good maternal instinct, the offspring is 8-10 rabbits.
- Suitable for keeping in personal household plots, in various climatic conditions, for beginners, as pets.
- Life expectancy is up to 10 years.
A healthy rabbit that meets the requirements of the standard should be kept in appropriate conditions, which we will discuss later.
The New Zealand breed is kept in cells that are subject to the following requirements:
- Size 120x60x60 cm, with a compartment for the nest.
- The bottom is reinforced so that it does not fall under the weight of the animal, it is possible to mesh, the litter of hay is optional.
- Closed keeping in rooms without drafts, with good ventilation, at a temperature of 15–17 ° С (not higher than 25 ° С) is recommended.
- Lighting should not be too bright, otherwise the rabbits will become restless and begin to lose weight, therefore, the cells standing on the street are obscured, and the room is equipped with a 40 W bulb.
- High humidity will damage beautiful fur coats of animals and lead to colds, so you need to focus on the level of 60-70%.
- In the cells it is necessary to install feeders and drinking bowls.
Important! If you keep New Zealand rabbits in the heat, they can get heat stroke, lose weight, and the mating instinct will disappear in males.
The requirements for feeders and drinkers are as follows:
- The absence of sharp protrusions, which can be injured.
- Enough roominess.
- They must be installed in such a way as not to create difficulties for animals when feeding or drinking, and also not to give them the opportunity to climb inside or to rake feed.
- Securely secure so that it does not fall.
- The shape and material should allow them to be easily cleaned, not allowed to crack them and not to emit toxic substances.
The diet of rabbits can include:
- Dried greens - wormwood, yarrow, dill, chicory, parsley, alfalfa, dandelion, peas, wiki, sainfoin, corn, greens, wheat grass, nettle, carrot and beet tops, horseradish, colza, rhubarb, celery, thistles.
- Cake and meal - soybean, flaxseed, sunflower, hemp.
- Vegetables - carrots, beets, pumpkin, potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, zucchini.
- Peels from watermelon and melon.
- Branches - birch, linden, aspen, maple, poplar, hornbeam, willow, dogwood, ash, elm, willow, pear, apple, acacia, oak, alder.
- Needles of pine, spruce, juniper.
- Special compound feed or grain (oats, corn, barley, wheat).
- Vitamin Supplements - fish oil, bone meal and ash, chalk, yeast, salt (lick), sprouted grain.
- Pharmacy vitamin and mineral complexes.
Rabbits are fed 2 times a day, lactating females and babies up to 2.5 months - 4 times a day. Animals do not eat food right away, eat in small portions at intervals.
Rabbits are contraindicated:
- excess cabbage, rutabaga, beets, turnips, birch branches;
- branches of elderberry, throat, bird cherry, buckthorn, ledum, wolfberry, cherry, apricot, peach, sweet cherry, plum;
- lily of the valley;
- marsh marigold;
- rotten and wet green food;
- pickles and pickles;
- smoked meats;
- dirty greens or vegetables;
- lactating females - parsley, wormwood;
- collected near the highway or industrial feed enterprises.
Care and hygiene
In order to preserve the beauty of the fur coat of animals, it is regularly combed, trunks are cut, rabbits are bathed and allowed to dry in warmth.
In cells it is necessary to clean:
- Daily - Dispose of leftover food, bowel movements and dirt from the litter.
- Weekly - change the litter, wash and disinfect cells, feeders, drinking bowls, equipment. For washing use household soap, for disinfection - a solution of vinegar, bleach, "Betadine".
Important! So that the rabbit does not get nervous, returning to the cage where its smell is absent, you can not clean a small area (each time different).
If you want to breed New Zealand rabbits, you need to know how to:
- select the best items;
- look after a pregnant female and young animals;
- feed the young;
- vaccinate animals.
Principles of selection of individuals for breeding
For reproduction are not allowed:
- Rabbits with ears longer than 13 cm.
- With hanging ears.
- With a double chin.
- With rarely growing hair.
- Too thick (more than 5.5 kg).
- Close relatives.
- With an inappropriate breed color, spots of a different color.
- Not reaching puberty.
- Those with many siblings with defects.
- Older than 2-3 years.
- Rabbits who several times could not bear offspring.
- Those who eat their rabbits.
- Rabbits out of the hunt period.
Did you know? The largest known number of rabbits per 1 offspring is 24.
Okrol and care of young growth
The first mating in New Zealand rabbits can be carried out at 4 months, provided that the female gained at least 2.5 kg of weight; males have a suitable age of 5-6 months. For this, the female is transferred into the cage to the male. If the first mating occurs too late, the animals can gain weight, which negatively affects the possibility of becoming pregnant and the quality of the offspring. In winter, mating is carried out between 12 and 15 hours, in summer - in the morning or evening hours.Pregnancy in New Zealand rabbits lasts 28–35 days, usually passes without problems if you do not disturb the animal. Although October and November are considered unsuitable months for mating, rabbits born in winter have better health. Do not mate during molting. A favorable time is considered to be a mating after a previous bing.
The rabbit is planted twice with the interval of a few days. If the second time she shows aggression, then the mating was successful. If not, after a few days they plant it again.
Baby rabbits feeding
New Zealand rabbits usually do not have problems with lactation, they have a lot of milk. If rabbits are raised for slaughter in 70–75 days, then they are not excommunicated from the mother, if not, at 45 days of age they are transferred to another cage. In the case of the next pregnancy, the rabbits offspring are precipitated at 28 days of age.
Did you know? Feeding rabbits in a female takes only 5 minutes a day.
As a food, babies are given:
- cereal grain;
- special feed;
- boiled potatoes;
- bone meal;
To rid animals of dangerous diseases, they must be vaccinated:
- At 4 weeks of age - from myxomatosis.
- At 1.5 months - from a viral hemorrhagic disease.
Based on the foregoing, white and red New Zealand rabbits will not cause you much trouble if you decide to acquire them in your household. On the contrary, they will delight you with delicious dietary meat and a beautiful silky fur coat. But first, the animals need to create the conditions in which they grow up healthy.