California rabbits: a description of the breed, breeding and keeping at home
Breeds of rabbits that gain weight on meat and have an excellent skin (and at the same time are unpretentious) are in demand among rabbit breeders. This is exactly the breed of California rabbits. The article informs about its features and productive qualities, how best to keep and breed such rabbits in a private compound.
This breed was obtained through the efforts of a resident of the American state of California, George West in the 20s of the twentieth century. In the breeding of California rabbits, individuals of such breeds took part: Soviet chinchilla, White New Zealand and Russian Ermine.
As a result of their crossing, early rabbits with excellent meat qualities and high-quality fur were obtained. Over time, rabbit breeders considered the advantages of the Californian breed, and now it is well in demand, bred in many countries.
The first thing they pay attention to when they look at California rabbits is dark points, which create a contrast to the main color - white. The breed took this color from the Russian Ermine, one of the ancestral breeds.External features are reflected in the table:
|Color||White, only nose, ears, paws and tail are dark colored|
|Torso||Cylindrical, slightly extended to the back|
|Eyes||Of red color|
|Ears||Small, erect, 10.5–11.5 cm, rounded at the ends|
|Paws||Strong and short, thick and well pubescent|
|Tail||Short, set close to the body|
|Claws||Black or brown|
California rabbits are classified as meat and grown as broilers, as they are actively gaining weight. They use not only meat, but also the skin.
Although the females of this breed mature at the age of 3 months, males are recommended to be postponed until the 5th month of life, so that the body grows stronger and prepares for pregnancy.
How much the animal lives will depend on the purpose of the breeding. The pet lives about 10 years. A tribal male is measured for a period of 5 years. Animals are slaughtered for meat after a few months.
Nature and behavior
Representatives of the Californian breed are usually calm and have an easygoing disposition. They remain relaxed in unfamiliar places and do not experience much stress. They are not apathetic individuals - they show curiosity and liveliness.
They are soft and attached to the owners, without creating problems for them. Some lovers turn them on as pets and, along with playfulness and friendliness, note the intelligence of the Californians.
Important! In an apartment, the owners of such a pet as a California rabbit should take into account that he loves to gnaw everything. When he freely walks around the living space, he must be watched so that he does not bite the furniture, cables.
The rabbits of the Californian breed are very caring “mothers,” who themselves can engage in their offspring, without additional help. Moreover, they can raise alien rabbits if they are placed in its cage.
Californian rabbits are characterized by rapid growths and already at the age of 7 months reach their maximum weight (up to 5 kg). Slaughter yield is 60%, and the yield of pure meat from slaughter in this fine-boned breed reaches 85%. The taste is high: the meat is soft and soft, almost without fat (it is only 2.5%).
The density index is in the range of 60–64%, and this is a high indicator.Some owners call such hard-knitted rabbits “meat rolls”.
Advantages and disadvantages
Almost all breeds of rabbits require increased attention, and most rabbit breeders know firsthand if they do not follow the rules of keeping or feeding.
Representatives of the California breed are not so often sick and more unpretentious than individuals of other breeds. It is this feature that attracts interest in this breed most of all.
- In addition to unpretentiousness, the following qualities include the advantages of this breed:
- early precocity;
- economical feed intake;
- low cost of meat;
- good maternal qualities in rabbits;
- the presence of a popular white color of high-quality fur;
- calm and friendly character.
- This breed does not have obvious shortcomings, but the minuses of the "Californians" can be very conditionally attributed:
- small maximum mass;
- not the biggest offspring.
How to choose a Californian breed of rabbits
It is better to buy animals per tribe in the nursery - there are more chances to buy individuals that meet all standards. When buying rabbits, one must take into account that pedigree features (dark points) are formed by 1.5–2 months and depend on the season (rabbits are born white or ashy).In hot weather, the color brightens, and in the cold period it becomes darker.
Signs of Purebredness
The main signs of purebred California rabbits are as follows:
- Red eyes;
- the nose has a pronounced hump;
- color. On a light background, contrasting dark spots are located on the nose, tail, ears and at the ends of the legs. Over time, spots may appear under the eyes;
- the color of the spots is allowed only black, less often brown.
Permissible deviations from the norm
The following deviations from the norm of the Californian breed are acceptable:
- elongated neck and head;
- not quite harmonious physique;
- ears are poorly set and not too set apart;
- the coat is not so silky;
- pronounced chin;
- claw color.
Did you know? To rejection «Californians» the exhibitions show strong weight deviations, not red eyes, hanging ears that are too long, poor fur and the appearance of extra spots.
Growing and caring at home
California rabbits were bred for industrial breeding, but they showed excellent results in private farmsteads. Their maintenance does not require anything special.
Housing Requirements for Maintenance
"Californians" are well accustomed to the conditions of existence in the cell. For them, the size of the cells is selected based on the following standards - 0.3 square meters. m per individual and 0.4 square meters. m - for rabbits with rabbits. The height of the cage should be sufficient so that an adult rabbit can stand up.
The pallet is sprinkled with sawdust flooring. Settle nearby animals of the same age - this makes it easier to care for them.
With cellular content, a mother liquor must be provided. In it, the female gives birth and nurses the babies. When the rabbits get stronger, they will move into the cage. The mother liquor protects well from the cold in winter and allows the rabbit to feel safe. It is a box of solid material.
Sizes according to the standard of the mother liquor are as follows:
- length - 0.6 m;
- height - 0.3 m;
- width - 0.35 m.
You can buy a ready-made cage with a built-in mother liquor, but it will be inconvenient to clean it, because after each birthing, disinfection is needed. Better to get a removable design.
When keeping rabbits, the following conditions should be observed:
- optimal temperature + 12- + 18 ° C. Paws and ears are very susceptible to frost. Severe frost can cause frostbite on these parts. Extreme heat is also unacceptable to them;
- in the cold period, you need to take care of the lighting in the cells. To do this, use artificial, with the help of lamps. In the summer, animals get enough light, and in the heat cells need to be shaded, avoiding direct sunlight;
- optimal humidity - about 60–70%, not more; recommend ventilation.
Did you know? Bunnies have amazing fecundity. This is due to the fact that in a female rabbit, the uterus is bifurcated, therefore, it can simultaneously bear two litters from different male rabbits conceived at different time intervals.
The largest okrol was 24 individuals, which was recorded in 1978 and 1999.
Feeding troughs and drinking bowls
Rabbits are quite active, so feeding troughs and drinking bowls in the form of bowls and basins are completely unsuitable for them, since they will climb their paws there, and dirt will constantly get into such dishes. All this can cause infection and gastrointestinal upsets.
For drinking, it is better to buy specialized nipple drinkers or make them yourself from plastic bottles. Feeding troughs are better to choose bunker type. Such a feeder is a trough and a closed compartment.
The aft compartment is fixed outside, and only the lower part is located inside the containment room. These feeders are well protected from dirt and comfortable.
Feeders and shelves are placed so that all animals of different ages can easily reach water and food.
Rabbits lead an active lifestyle and love to jump, breathe fresh air. Therefore, farmers often equip them with a fenced net for them. To equip the walk, a metal mesh netting with a fraction of not more than 5 cm is used.
It needs to be buried to a depth of 0.6–1 m, as rabbits love to dig and can escape. In addition, the net is well protected from predators. For the same reason, an aviary should also be covered with a metal mesh on top.
The floor can be laid out from boards or poured with cement. With free walking, rabbits have better health. They are gaining weight more actively, and the rabbits take good care of all the babies, as in the aviary they have the same smell.
On 20 square meters. 5 cubs of rabbits and 20–30 rabbits or 25 young animals can be kept in an aviary. The enclosure should be at least 1 m high. It is better that one of the walking walls is solid, this will create protection from the wind. Walking needs to be equipped on a slightly elevated place so that rain and thawed snow do not fill it.
Did you know? Rabbits are great at jumping. Officially registered jump 3 meters long
To protect from the weather and the hot rays of the sun, a canopy is made from above, under which feeders and drinking bowls are installed.
Californian rabbits are unpretentious in their nutrition; almost any rabbit food is suitable for them.
Their main diet includes:
- green feed. These are herbs (clover, dandelion, burdock, plantain, etc.). They are given fresh or dry;
- succulent feed. Include vegetables and melons (cabbage, carrots, squash, pumpkin);
- roughage: straw, hay, young branches of shrubs and trees;
- concentrated feed (legumes and crops: bran, barley, corn, oats, peas, soy).
The general condition of the animal, rabbit feces (smell and color) and the appearance of the coat (it is shiny and without bald patches) indicate the balance of the feed.
Rabbits can be fed with fruits and some vegetables - bananas, broccoli, apples, pieces of melon. They are given very little so as not to cause allergic reactions and intestinal disorders.
After jigging from a rabbit mom, babies are fed at least 5 times a day. Gradually, the number of feedings is reduced to 3 times a day, as for adults. It should be ensured that there is always enough fresh water in the drinkers.
In the summer, especially in the heat, the amount of fluid consumed should be increased. In winter, it is better to give warm water. To do this, it is warmed up a little or the drinkers are heated.It is also necessary to include recommended vitamins for rabbits in the diet, containing all the elements necessary for them, especially in winter. Since this breed is grown for meat, it is worthwhile to include as additives protein - meat and fish meal, dairy products and other sources of protein.
Now about the bans.
- poisonous herbs and plants;
- dried vegetables in large quantities;
- new potatoes;
- red cabbage;
- Exotic fruits;
- pastries and cookies.
Care and hygiene
In the cells, cleaning should be carried out daily, and the litter should be replaced as necessary. Disinfection of cells and equipment is carried out every 10-14 days. For these purposes, boiling water or 1% formalin solution is used.
Pit cleaning is also daily, but less common, as part of the stool goes into the ground. It is necessary to regularly wash and clean the feeders and drinking bowls. Especially often it is necessary to change the water and clean the drinking bowls, feeders on a walk, since in the open air the likelihood of getting dirt and infection increases significantly.It is important to carry out the following hygiene:
- examination of the eyes and ears. Rinse if necessary. Discharge from the eyes is carefully removed with a damp cloth. Inflammatory processes are eliminated with the help of drops. Ears must be clean, if necessary, use a weak solution of boric acid to clean them;
- to control the skin. There should be no spots, rashes, bald spots, peeling; trim the claws (this is done carefully so as not to affect the pulp).
It should be noted that in hot weather the ears may turn white in rabbits. This is due to the peculiarity of pigmentation of the coat. An enzyme that stains certain areas in black does not work well in hot weather.
Therefore, instead of black, white hair grows in the area of the ears instead of black. With a decrease in temperature and the onset of cold weather, the reverse process occurs - the coat darkens.
How to breed rabbits
The California breed is very popular and is considered the most common. It can be bred inbreeds (but it is important to choose the right pair).
Selection Principles for Reproduction
Breeding California rabbits form families. For this, individuals are selected so that they are not related to each other in kinship. The ratio of males to females goes in a ratio of 1: 5 (10). Animals must be examined for their health.At the slightest sign of any disease, individuals are rejected. They do not allow rabbits or young females from such “mothers” to mate sick or sick with early mastitis rabbits or young females.
Please note that rabbits are fully compliant. From the spots that are located on the nose, tail, ears and at the end of the paws, we can conclude that the breed is clean. In purebred "Californian" spots are clearly visible. The color is often black, but brown is acceptable.
Important! If the color of the spots is red, blue, yellow, then this means that individuals are not purebred. In this case, even if rabbits are left with only suitable spots for breeding, there is no guarantee that the offspring will meet breed standards.
For farmers who breed such rabbits for themselves and for the sale of meat, this phenomenon is a small problem, but when breeding young animals for a tribe, this is unacceptable.
Okrol and care of young growth
For each rabbit, an average of about 4–5 rounds per year is sufficient. Too often, rabbits cannot be mated, as this shortens their life. For breeding, 5-month-old young females and 6-month-old male rabbits can be selected. At what age can they happen?
Puberty occurs before 5 months, but upon reaching this age (six months) the body is ready for mating and pregnancy. For mating, any time of the year is allowed. Hunting in females occurs every 8–9 days and lasts 3-5 days.The case in rabbits is easy, no problem.The carrying of babies in the rabbit lasts 29–31 days. At one time, the female gives birth to 7-12 rabbits. Childbirth is usually not difficult; the rabbit has enough milk for feeding.
The number of rabbits during feeding is controlled by the female. If one female gave birth to 12 babies, and the other 6, then you can put rabbits from one individual to another.
Did you know? In the cold period, mating is best done from 11 to 16 hours. In the summer - from the morning and evening.
Born rabbits can be completely white and darker - ashen. This parameter depends on the ambient temperature. The pigment, which dyes the hair in a dark color, is produced only with the help of a certain enzyme - tyrosinase.
At high temperatures, such an enzyme is poorly developed, white wool is growing instead of black, but in winter the color of the points blackens.
There are two subspecies of this breed - Moscow and Saxon. Outwardly, they are very similar, but the threshold for tyrosinase irritation is different for them. For the Saxons, this threshold is + 21 ° С, and they are painted quickly, while for the Moscow subspecies this indicator is slightly more than 0 ° С, therefore spots appear later.
Another reason why the "Californian" had dark rabbits was the violation of the rules of pedigree mating. Daddy rabbits is not a "Californian", but a rabbit of dark breeds.
Feeding the young
When rabbits are born, they weigh only 45 g. Babies gain weight very quickly. At 2 months they weigh 1.5–1.8 kg, at 3 months they reach 2.5 kg, and at 5 they weigh 3.5. Then the growth rate and weight gain drops sharply.
Important! Rabbits are better not to overfeed. Overweight females are not suitable for subsequent breeding.
Rabbits are born blind, and their eyes open only for 10-14 days. During this period, they eat only mother's milk. The rabbit feeds itself up to almost 2 months. By 16–20 days, babies try to try food for adults. Usually this is dry food with hay. From 1-2 months of life, complementary foods are increased.
It is worth noting babies to leave their mother no later than 45 days. In order for the body of the kids to quickly get used to other nutrition, vitamin B is added to the drinker, and chamomile, St. John's wort is added to the feed. It is good to give yogurt during this period for better digestion of new food. Vegetables are included in the diet after two months (but not all).
The right vaccinations for rabbits should be done on time:
- the first vaccination in 28 days (from myxomatosis);
- at 45 days (from viral hemorrhagic disease of rabbits - HBVC).
Important! Buy drugs should only be in veterinary pharmacies. It is good to study the instructions for use and storage of the medication. In case of improper storage, especially if the storage temperature is not observed, the drug may become unusable and even to be dangerous.
Re-vaccinated after 90 days, and after - once every 6 months.
California rabbits to start in rabbit breeding: video
When to slaughter California rabbits for meat
It is optimal to send them to slaughter as early as 5 months, since during this period weight gain is no longer so intense. On average, it is 3.5 kg. Taste at this age is better than that of older rabbits, and the cost of 1 kg of meat is minimal. Slaughter rabbits for meat is possible from 3 months.
The California breed is an old and proven breed of meat. Great early maturity and low cost of meat, the ability to use good quality skins brought her great popularity. And these rabbits perfectly tolerate bondage and are ideal for rearing young animals for slaughter.