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Hare Breeding Pens (The Ups and Downs)

by Rick Giermata

          There are many hidden problems when raising rabbits. First you have to properly sex them. I tag the bucks right ear, and the does left. It makes it quite easy to tell who is who. Even if a tag should fall out, there will be a noticeable tear in the ear. Now what has worked best in our pen is placing one buck with five or six does.

          The pen has four quads that measure 25' x 25'. Inside each quad is a feeding house for pellets and corn, one 5gal. waterer, and 40 or so cut pine trees laid over the tops of teepees made from pallets. It is very important to clean the quads weekly to prevent the many diseases that are contracted through the stool. Waterers also must be sterilized with a light bleach solution.

          Now, with the Hare it is very important to net out the young at about 4 weeks old, and move them to a quad of their own. If this isn't done, not only can a quad become over crowded quickly, but you will find many dead from being trampled by the adults. I would advise you to release your young at two months into the wild. If you wait any longer they will lessen their chances of survival. Cottontail can stay captive longer.

          At the end of the breeding season, take your tagged breeders and keep them separately in cages. Fox pens have worked great for me. Put them in your barn, sheds, garages, or you could build a sort of lean-to. Its important to keep them out of the wind. They cage well. I feed them corn, apple branches, pine branches, and pellets. You must water them daily, this is most important. By caging them you don't have to worry about deep snow in the pen, or predators climbing in for a snack.

          When spring arrives, back to the outside pens they go to once again produce young for our local woods! I also advise top netting and a good hot wire around the bottom of your pens. You can sometimes get pheasant netting for free from your local bird farm, they seem to replace often. A good solar fencer can be purchased from a farm store for about $100.00. These will make your experience's a lot better when starting out. Also, if you can purchase medicated pellets in your area, they are well worth the extra pennies to your feed bill!

          Take the time and research the subject before you get into any type of breeding program. And remember that mother natures curve balls are not always listed in books. Talk to people that successfully raise rabbits, and go take a look at their operations. It will benefit you in the long run!

          Till next time, good hounds and good hunting!

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).