California rabbits are a beautiful and unpretentious breed. Growing them allows you to build a profitable business. Animals perfectly adapt to new living conditions. They can live both in the south and in the north. Rabbits are growing rapidly, give not only tasty meat, but also high-quality fur.
The birthplace of this type of rabbit is California in the USA. Initially, the animals were hybrids that were bred by crossing several breeds - New Zealand White, Soviet Chinchillas, Russian Ermine.
The main goal of the work was to obtain a unique species capable of rapid growth, and the owner of high quality fur. Scientists have deduced the California look, which gives tasty, high-quality and tender meat. In 1928, this species was recognized as independent, and animals were no longer considered hybrids.
In the 70s, the described breed was introduced into the territory of our country. Animals easily adapted to living in the middle zone of Russia. Today they are actively bred both on large farms for industrial purposes, and in small farms. Such actions have had a direct impact on the rapid spread of this species throughout the globe.
Today, Californians took second place among the popular meat species.
The main features by which the described breed can be determined are:
- body shape is cylindrical;
- outwardly it seems that the animal has not the largest forms;
- paws of medium length, slightly thick;
- dense and thick fur, stuffed;
- small neck;
- ears are not very long;
- small head, not heavy;
- red eyes;
- the coat is almost completely white, but the legs with nose and tail are dark brown in color.
It is rare to find animals of smoky blue or chocolate color. Breeders who do not have sufficient experience can confuse this species with rabbits of the breed Butterfly. In order not to confuse these two similar breeds, special attention is paid to the muzzle - the butterflies have dark eyes, a small spot on the nose, similar to a moth that spread its wings.
Spotting is not immediately apparent in young individuals. Often there are rabbits at a young age with a light or lilac-blue color, but over time, the characteristic features of the breed are more clearly manifested.
Buy young animals only from experienced breeders who are not fooled.
The California breed is considered industrial, but it is possible to keep such rabbits in private farms. Of course, animals can grow more slowly, but if they are not raised for meat, this indicator does not play a special role. Representatives of the breed described will be excellent pets.
Nature and behavior
Californians are calm and complaisant. Even being in an unfamiliar place, they remain calm and practically do not experience stress. However, animals are very active and inquisitive, therefore they cannot be called apathetic.
The character is mild, quickly attached to a person. Very playful, so often Californians become pets. They have high intelligence, but they have one feature - animals love to chew on everything. Therefore, you need to take care in advance that the animals do not spoil the furniture or expensive things in the apartment. During the walk around the apartment, you need to constantly monitor the rabbit.
Females become caring mothers, who themselves can take care of young animals. No additional human assistance is required. They can be planted and alien rabbits, which females begin to actively care if they are in the same cage.
Californians have excellent productivity, so the breed is often chosen by professional farmers. The weight of a mature individual is approximately 5.8-6 kg. Intensive growth occurs and already at the age of 5-6 months, animals can be sent for slaughter. The rabbit weighs about 50 g, but after 2 months it reaches a mass of 2 kg. The symbolic age is considered to be 7 months and is the finish, as active growth stops.
At a good level, the ratio of fat and meat, which makes this type more profitable for development. You can get about 80% quality meat and about 2% fat.
One female leads about 8-14 rabbits. They have a maternal instinct at a high level, also excellent milkness. All this contributes to the rapid growth of young animals. Throughout the year, one rabbit will result in no more than 35 rabbits.
There is an incidence index, according to which the productivity of the breed is assessed. For California rabbits, this figure is approximately 60%. This is the maximum for meat species.
To grow this breed requires minimal financial and temporary investment, but productivity is at the highest level.
Californian rabbit weight chart for months
Depending on the age of the rabbit, its weight will also change. Below is an example table of how the weight of an animal increases as it grows:
|Newborn baby rabbit|
Advantages and disadvantages
The described breed has a lot of advantages, which include:
- from 5 months the animals are ready for breeding;
- females are characterized by excellent milk and a good maternal instinct;
- minimum time is required for the rabbit to reach maximum weight;
- high fertility - one female per year can bring up to 35 rabbits;
- high resistance in genetic terms.
The main disadvantage of Californians is their sensitivity to diet and feed. Therefore, animals are not always suitable for home rearing.
In the video below you can see an overview of the breed of California rabbit:
How to choose rabbits?
Farmers, when buying rabbits, recommend taking into account the following nuances:
- take animals from small broods;
- conduct a thorough inspection of each individual;
- if the animal is healthy - it is well-fed, the fur shines, thick and clean;
- eyes are clean and clear;
- if you are going to take a pair of females, choose them from several nests;
- do not take individuals with a stomach that is greatly swollen and dull hair;
- clean nose, no visible discharge;
- inspect the ears - there should be no discharge or inflammation;
- the animal must behave actively and be in a good mood.
Healthy individuals show curiosity and friendliness, are not afraid of contact with a stranger. Animals should not be passive or too shy.
Signs of Purebredness
Purebred are considered individuals that have the following characteristics:
- eyes are red;
- a hump is visible on the nose;
- coat color - dark spots on a light background, located on the tips of paws, tail and ears, spots may also appear under the eyes over time;
- spots should be only black, brown shades are extremely rare.
Permissible deviations from the norm
Minor deviations are allowed:
- elongated head;
- physique is not harmonious;
- ears are set weakly and not very apart;
- not silky coat;
- pronounced chin.
Even with all of these data, rabbits are purebred and there is no doubt about the breed.
Growing and caring at home
Representatives of this species are so very popular due to their ability to quickly adapt to a new habitat. They are easily adaptable, begin to rapidly gain weight and develop. It is required to maintain the necessary minimum for a comfortable life of animals.
Housing Requirements for Maintenance
Rabbits feel comfortable in the cage. It is important that its height is sufficient, allowing an adult animal to stand on its hind legs and move quietly. Be sure to equip a compact shelter inside the cage, in which the animal can hide from people and get enough sleep.
There should always be access to drinking bowls and feeders, as Californians should not be restricted in drinking or in feed.
As a filler, you can use hay. Change the litter regularly, as it absorbs the odor and collects food residues. Place the cages with animals in the area where penumbra is present and there is no draft, but it is regularly ventilated. Try to avoid overheating or hypothermia of animals.
For females, be sure to equip the mother queen, in which they will give birth and nursing the young. After the animals get stronger, they are transferred to the cage. The mother-child not only protects from the cold, but also allows the female to feel quite comfortable and safe.
Feeding troughs and drinking bowls
Rabbits are very active, so simple drinking bowls with feeders are categorically not suitable, because they will constantly climb into them with their paws and put dirt into the feed. This can trigger an upset stomach or cause a dangerous infection.
Use special nipple drinkers, but you can also make them yourself from simple plastic bottles. From this article you will learn how to make a drinker yourself.
Stop the choice on hopper-type feeders. This type of feeders looks like a trough with a closed compartment. Outside, the aft compartment is fixed, and only the lower part remains inside the cage. Such feeders do not allow dirt to enter the feed and are very convenient to use.
Rabbits are very active, enjoy jumping, so they need regular walks in the fresh air. For the organization of walking, do the arrangement of the territory, enclosing it with a grid:
- Use a metal mesh (fraction not more than 5 cm).
- Bury the net in the ground at least 0.5 m in depth, as the animals have a habit of digging undermines.
- The net will provide the animals with reliable protection against predators, as well as other animals that can be carriers of infections.
- Cover the aviary with the net and on top.
- Cover the floor with boards or pour cement.
- No more than 5 adults and 25 rabbits should be per 20 square meters. m
- Make an aviary at least 1 m high.
- It is desirable that one of the walls be completely continuous, which will provide protection to the animals from the wind.
- Set up an aviary for walking on a small hill so that snow and rain cannot flood it.
- Rabbits need protection from the sun and bad weather, so build a small canopy on top, under which place feeding troughs with drinking bowls.
Free walking allows you to enhance the health of the animal. A more active weight gain begins, the rabbits take care of their offspring, since being in the aviary they have the same smell.
Taking into account how thoughtful and balanced the nutrition of animals will be, the degree of their productivity is determined. It has a direct effect on the activity and health status of animals. Remember, the menu of Californians varies depending on the time of year.
We recommend reading an article about when and how to feed rabbits .
Things to consider:
- Animals develop and grow very actively, so their body needs food that contains proteins in large quantities. Every day, give fishmeal, meat is also suitable, dairy products with proteins are mandatory.
- Classic types of food are also suitable - for example, branches, special compound feed, fresh herbs, various root crops with hay. Drinking bowls should be filled with fresh water. In the hot season, give more water, and warm in winter before giving animals.
- Taking into account the age of the animals, the frequency of feed feed changes. For adults, it is enough to give food 2-3 times a day. Rabbits that have recently been excommunicated from a rabbit, feed no less than 5-6 times. When and how to plant rabbits - read here .
- Californians are not capricious and eat almost everything. Periodically add clover, fresh dandelions, sainfoin and burdock. Plantain and tansy will do.
The quality and balance of the diet are important. Animals need to regularly receive a complex of vitamins and valuable trace elements.
- In winter, use silage as an alternative to green herbs. Californians are happy to eat cabbage with zucchini, carrots and pumpkin. For a more varied and healthy diet, add bananas with parsley. However, add such joys to the menu carefully and in small quantities, because they can provoke an allergic reaction or a serious gastrointestinal upset.
- The menu should contain oats, as well as barley, bran corn and beans. Rough types of food also bring benefits - for example, ash or aspen branches, maple and linden.
Care and hygiene
The care of the claws, ears, eyes, hair and skin of animals is important. Perform a thorough inspection of each individual approximately every 7-10 days. This approach will allow you to timely detect an existing problem and quickly fix it.
Basic care recommendations:
- Pay close attention to the condition of the coat. Pay attention so that the tassels do not form, but if they have already formed, carefully cut. Be careful not to injure the animal. Using a special brush, brush your hair regularly. Try to use brushes that are made from natural fibers. Perform this procedure approximately every 7-10 days.
- The skin should always be clean and perfectly smooth. Make sure that scabs and acne, damage or stains do not appear. Such symptoms indicate that a malfunction occurred in the body - for example, severe stress was transferred or hormonal imbalance is present.
- Keep an eye on your auricles, keeping them perfectly clean. Clean them periodically - at least once every 30 days and when contaminants appear.
- Every day, carefully examine the condition of the animal’s eyes. Eyes may begin to watery due to trapped mote or injury. If mucus or dry secretions appear, carefully remove them with a cotton pad moistened with warm water. If both eyes begin to watery or fester, it means that inflammation has begun and you need to immediately show the rabbit to the veterinarian, and then start treatment.
Features of the content of Californians for commercial purposes
Unpretentiousness and simplicity in leaving allows to keep Californians both in cells, and in holes. However, you need to know some of the subtleties and recommendations for arranging a home for rabbits, so that they get maximum comfort.
In the cells
Cages should be made of mesh or natural wood. Inside the cells where the females live, equip the uterine house, where she can grow offspring.
In cells with an area of 0.5 square meters. m can be no more than 5 individuals. Be sure to cover the bottom with litter (sawdust or straw), place drinking bowls with feeders so that they are always accessible to animals. If you give greens, add small amounts to the cage so that rabbits receive vitamins.
Without fail, a cell disinfection procedure should be carried out regularly. You can perform it in several ways:
- Physical methods - treat with a bactericidal lamp, burn with a blowtorch. You can simply dry the cells on warm days in the sun, which allows you to destroy worm eggs, harmful bacteria with viruses.
- Biological agents - Use enzymes to treat certain types of bacteria. Use this method as little as possible.
- Combined methods - use both chemical and physical methods at the same time.
- Chemical methods - use special chemicals.
In the pits
Pits can also be used to keep Californians. This allows you to create the most natural conditions for animals, especially in the case of industrial cultivation.
How to equip a pit?
You can make such a pit yourself, adhering to the following sequence of actions:
- dig a hole about 2x2x1 m in size;
- using slate, strengthen the walls;
- cover the floor with boards or mesh;
- cover the top of the pit with a roof and install a fence around.
The use of pits is quite popular, since it takes less time and energy to care for animals. Rabbits can independently dig holes, mate and breed offspring. Be sure to provide sufficient water and systematic nutrition.
Periodically clean the pit, regularly remove leftover food and hay. This is necessary in order to prevent the disease of animals and the deterioration of their appearance. During cleaning, remove animals from the pit and periodically ventilate it.
How to breed rabbits?
Already at 5 months of age, rabbits are ready to mate and give birth. The average life expectancy of breeding individuals is 9-11 years. Most importantly, to maintain high productivity, you need to monitor the nutrition and health of animals.
Selection Principles for Reproduction
For the offspring of both male and female, choose very carefully. Particular attention is required to physique, weight and motor activity of individuals. If the animal is too large or small, it is completely unsuitable for the continuation of the herd. Individuals must fully comply with the standard.
Okrol and care of young growth
On average, one female per year can produce offspring 4-5 times. Do not cross animals too often, as this will shorten their lifespan. At the age of 5 months, the female’s body is completely ready for mating and pregnancy. In females, hunting takes place every 8 days and takes 3-4 days.
The rabbit carries offspring 29-31 days, at a time it can lead 8-11 rabbits. In most cases, childbirth does not cause any particular difficulties; the female has enough milk to feed all offspring.
Feeding the young
The weight of the newborn rabbit is approximately 40 g, the mass is gaining rapidly and in 2 months already weighs almost 1.5 kg. By 5 months of age they weigh 3.5 kg, after which a decline in growth begins. Blind babies are born, eyes open about 10-12 days. At this time, their diet consists exclusively of breast milk. The rabbit can independently feed offspring up to 2 months.
Having reached 20 days after birth, babies begin to try adult food. With a month of age, you can gradually increase complementary foods. Plant young animals from the female not earlier than 45 days after birth. Add vitamin B to the water regularly, enrich the food with chamomile and hypericum. Thanks to this, the young body will quickly get used to a new diet.
Let's give in sour milk in small quantities, which helps a body that is not strong enough to digest a new type of food more easily. After reaching 2 months of age, add vegetables to the diet.
Do not overfeed rabbits, as overweight females cannot be used for further breeding.
- at 28 days - against myxomatosis;
- at 45 days - against viral hemorrhagic disease of rabbits;
- re-vaccination is performed every 90 days;
- in future vaccinations are given once every six months.
Vaccination products should be purchased exclusively in veterinary pharmacies. Carefully read the attached instructions for storage and use of the product.
When to slaughter meat?
At 5 months, animals can be sent for slaughter, since after this period weight gain decreases. On average, the weight of one rabbit is approximately 3.5 kg. At this age, meat has the best taste, in contrast to older individuals. Slaughter for meat can be started at 3 months.
The described breed is not only universal, but also the most comfortable among other meat species of domestic animals. No special conditions or knowledge are required to start your own rabbit breeding business. It is enough to purchase one male and several females and in six months you will have a full herd.
Where and how best to buy a California rabbit?
It is better to get representatives of the described breed from a professional farmer who grows precisely Californians. This approach will allow you to get an animal, with the growth, development and reproduction of which there will be no problems. Before buying, pay attention to how animals are kept, in what condition are young and adult animals.
Why do not rabbits grow on fattening?
The growth factors of Californians are directly affected by the following factors that can slow down weight gain:
- at the heart of the nutrition of young animals is hay in combination with combined feed;
- in the room where animals are kept, the temperature indicators are not normal;
- high-quality fattening is affected by the temperature of the water, which should be approximately + 18-20 degrees Celsius;
- for each individual, at least 300 ml of water is required, since without a sufficient amount of water it is impossible to achieve a good gain;
- a large number of vegetables are given to rabbits;
- low weight gain can be caused by the presence of latent infections.
Oleg, 45 years old, lawyer, Moscow.
Keeping Californians a pleasure. They tolerate cold well, kept in cells right on the street. Ideal breed if you plan to breed for meat. No special care or conditions are required. In the morning I give hay or fresh grass. In the afternoon I feed with carrots or cabbage, I also give peas with corn. I change the water at least three times a day so that it is always fresh.
Anna, 40 years old, teacher, Voronezh.
For me, this breed has become just perfect, because I do not have much time that I could devote to caring for them. Animals eat everything in a row, do not be capricious at all. In the summer, I try to give as much fresh greens as possible, green dandelions eat well.
California rabbits in all respects are a unique breed. After six months, the animals reach a good weight and can be sent for slaughter, if grown for meat. At a good level meat productivity. No special conditions of detention or special diet are required.