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Rabbit Rhythm #043--You get to diagnose a rabbit's failure to eat, plus book update
December 05, 2013

Rabbit Rhythms of December

When Rabbits are Pests:
Rabbit Control is Essential
to the Survival of Earnscleugh Station, NZ

"If it were not for rabbiters, the Campbell family would not still be on Earnscleugh Station." So starts a tale about raising sheep and cattle on the south island of New Zealand.

At one point, the huge ranch was nothing but dirt, with nearly every bush and blade of grass eaten to the soil line by untold numbers of feral domestic rabbits. These rabbits had multiplied over many years from the few that had been released unadvisedly in the 1800’s.

Rabbiters are individuals that hunt feral rabbits for a living. At one point, the station employed 32 of them. Within 5 months, they eliminated 250,000 rabbits.

The ranch’s rabbit problems returned in the 1980’s, once the rabbits wised up to the various extermination methods.

"From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the future of the vast Central Otago high country property hung in the balance. Plagued by rabbits, they were in "serious strife" and it was an "absolute nightmare," the ranch’s owner, Alistair Campbell, explained to 300 people attending a recent field day at the ranch.

Earnscleugh Station ranch in NZ
Imagine 250,000+ rabbits covering these hills!
Photo Credit: Earnscleugh Station, NZ

Learn more about Earnscleugh Station and the essential role of rabbiters:

Today the ranch permanently employs several rabbiters whose job is not to eradicate but to control the feral rabbit population.

The native and exotic grasses have since returned and the ranch can once again sustainably support both cattle and sheep on terrain well-suited to livestock.

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Just a quick update:
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver is nearing the end of the editing process, and will soon enter "production. The ETA for publishing is mid-April, 2014. Yay!

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver is intended to completely familiarize the rabbit breeder and owner with all aspects of rabbit care, "from the cradle to the rainbow." And while it is also intended to help us understand and treat the majority of common rabbit diseases and conditions, it is not at all meant to replace your veterinarian. And indeed, you’ll need him or her for a variety of treatments.

I hope you will find the book as essential as I think it is. And indeed, I’m already resorting to the still-unpublished manuscript because all the info is right there!

Want to be one of the first to obtain a copy? Simply contact us and request us to put your name and email address on our waiting list.


We heard from Fae, a wildlife rehabber in Michigan, recently, and posted some of her comments at World of Raising Rabbits.

Pictured: Brighty, a 2-3 week old successfully rehabbed cottontail.

Additionally, this amazing person is also looking for a female domestic rabbit in an agouti color, one that looks like a cottontail. This doe will serve as a source for cecotropes, and possibly provide some surrogate mothering for young rescued cottontails.


Do you happen to live in or near Michigan and do you have such a rabbit available for sale? Let me know...

Healthy Rabbits

Time for a pop quiz!

What’s Wrong With This Rabbit?

  • 3-year-old female pet Netherland Dwarf rabbit
  • Stopped eating pellets 3 weeks ago.
  • Has recently stopped drinking.
  • This rabbit doesn’t like to eat hay
  • Giving grape Gatorade failed to coax the rabbit to eat, whereas the last time the rabbit went off her feed the Gatorade worked beautifully to perk the rabbit back up.

This is all the info I know about this rabbit. Can you help the rabbit owner "diagnose and treat" her rabbit??

Go to the Raising-Rabbits Facebook Fan page to share your best guess as to the rabbit’s problem and the solution(s)! (You'll soon find some excellent tips there as well, should you be having problems with rabbits not eating or drinking...)

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Your friends at wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas this December 2013.

Enjoy your rabbits!

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