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Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits, 4th Edition Paperback – October 29, 2009
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From the Back Cover
Everyone who owns and cares for rabbits will benefit from Bob Bennett's practical guidance and comprehensive care instructions. Solid advice on breed selection, year-round care and feeding, and safe housing and sanitation help every owner -- from the commercial producer to the dedicated fancier -- raise happy, healthy rabbits.
This revised and updated fourth edition includes:
* Breed photographs
* Building plans for safe, comfortable housing
* Coverage of disease prevention and treatment
* Humane handling techniques
* Guidelines for showing
* Marketing and sales tips
About the Author
Bob Bennett is the author of six books on rabbit raising, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits and Rabbit Housing, as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles. He has served as the editor of Rabbits magazine, has been a contributing editor to Countryside magazine, and is the founder of Domestic Rabbits and a past director of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. An Air Force veteran, Bennett has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Vermont, where he has raised rabbits for more than 50 years.
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Top customer reviews
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I don't fit into either camp. I think it is your choice as to whether you raise rabbits as livestock, keep them as pets, or both. I do both. The reason for my giving this book a very low rating is that I think BOTH livestock and pets deserve humane treatment, and this book does not advocate humane treatment. He advocates intensive farming (though not as intensive as some farms), confining them in small cages. He says not to worry about them - they will be fine in those cages. Well, like other animals, rabbits cannot speak English and cannot cry. The fact that they do not tell you they want out of the cage doesn't mean they don't. It also doesn't mean they cannot suffer extreme, mind-numbing boredom.
The author boasts his successes in litter size, weight, and what have you, using that to defend his farming practices. But how productive an animal is does not necessarily correlate with whether or not it is happy.
I suspect the author has never kept rabbits any other way, and has never observed their normal behaviors. We moved to the country about 10 years ago, bought a few Storey guides, and gradually accumulated some small livestock. We initially kept the rabbits in typical cages, as suggested by the author. They did, well, almost nothing, all day long. They slept, ate, drank, peed, and pooped. But that's not because they can't do anything else. On the contrary, it is because they did not have the opportunity to do anything else.
Such tight confinement just didn't seem right to us, so against the advice of this book, we eventually moved the rabbits into a barn where they could roam around, and with an outdoor enclosure, where they had much more space. We saw them hop, play, dig holes, and explore any new object we gave them. They actually had individual personalities! Once we saw that, we realized how intelligent and behaviorally complicated they really are, and decided that even that was not enough space.
So, now we have them free ranging over a large fenced in field with our chickens, where they can go streaking across the yard, graze a wide variety of grasses and weeds, enjoy the fallen apples, dust bathe in the dirt, dig holes, play with each other (and even with our cats!).
In contrast to what the author says, you don't need to worry about their so-called delicate digestive systems if you let them roam and graze as we do. When given the opportunity, rabbits are pretty much self-regulating, feeding on a little of this and a little of that. If you confine them to small cages, all they can eat is what you give them, so if you give them lots of apple, for example, and little else, they will eat too much apple and get sick. That particular problem that he warns you about is really created by his intensive methods.
Before we ever kept livestock, I never gave much thought to how farm animals are kept. But now I see they are not mere things, they are living creatures with complicated behaviors and the capacity for boredom and suffering. We feel terrible about that first year when we had the animals in the standard cages. Never again, not at my farm, no matter what the Storey guide says.
If what you want is to raise rabbits with little effort, large profit, and little regard for the animal's natural behaviors, then this book is for you. But I think it's time we humans to move beyond that and treat the animals who provide our food and clothing fairly and humanely. Look for books and websites that will tell you how to do that. This book does not.