Heaton Rabbitry

Frequently Asked Questions

Selecting a Californian Rabbit Meat Pen For Texas Show
Californina Meat Pen Rabbit In Texas Summer Heat
Rabbit Diseases and Health Problems
Tips on Raising a Califoriann Rabbit Meat Pen For Texas Shows
Order your Californian or New Zealand Rabbit Meat Pen For Texas Show From An Excellent Breeder
Type of Califorian Rabbit Meat Pen to Purchase From Texas Breeder
Award Photos
Contact Us
Californian Meat Pen Rabbit Health Issues In Texas
Our Policies
Showmanship and Judging
Breeding and Kindling Tips
Texas Rabbit Breeders Association Shows
Frequently Asked Questions


How does the summer heat effect your fall bunnies?
            If your breeder does not have a climate control barn they will have a had time having babbies.  With102 degrees state wide buck will go sterile.  They go sterile with 2 or 4 days above 85. 
A $50.00 deposit is required for each pen of rabbits.   The deposit will be applied to the amount due for the meat pen.  This is done in order to assure the student is serious about their order.
Send deposits to:  Joe Heaton
                              98-B Didlake
                               Huntsville, TX

Cash is preferred unless other arrangements have been made in advance. We will accept P O orders from Ag teachers and High Schools.


We breed according to the actual breed date.  If your show allows more than the 70 day old rabbit, please let us know.

How do I start my Rabbit meat pen project?
1.  Call the breeder in plenty of time to breed for you.  (it is difficult to find rabbits when you call after the breed date.)  We breed extra does for the shows we know about, so, call us even if it is after the breed date.
2.  Have your housing ready for the rabbits before you go to pick them up.  They will need a clean disinfected cage with 1/2 x 1 galvanized after weld for the bottom wire.  I prefer to have 4 holes either 18 x 24 or 24 x 24.  This allows you to be able to seperate the rabbits as they grow.  Make sure they are not hit by any direct sun and keep them away from drafts.  However, make sure that they are kept in a well ventilated place.
3.  Have feed already purchased and put in a rodent proof container.  It is best to call your breeder and ask them what  percentage and brand of feed they are feeding.  If you can not buy the feed in your area, ask the breeder if they will sell you a bag or two of their feed.
4.  The feeder should allow for clean free feed at all times.  You should always use a crock for the rabbits water and it should be filled with clean water several times a day.  Water bottles should not be used for a meat pen.  The water bottles does not allow for the rabbits to get enough water to grow off as quickly as with a crock.
5.  A rabbit carrier is preferred when you pick up your rabbits for the meat pen.  They should be put inside the vehickle on your way home.  It will be too much wind on them in the back of a truck.  Coastal hay should be put in the carrier as they travel home.
6.  Do not start feeding extras to the rabbits for several days after you get them home.  Give them some time to adjustto their new environment.
7.  Some conditioning extras that I suggest are rolled oats  (DO NOT USE WHOLE OATS! )  with wheat germ oil, molasses, and black oil sunflowe seeds.
8.  Do not limit their water.  They will loose condition very fast.
9.  Start weighing them at 6 weeks af age and adjust the extras that you are feeding them.  They will loose condition if you try to hold them at the end.  Keeping a chart of their weight gain can be very helpful.  The rabbit can gain up to  2 oz. a day the last week.

How many rabbits should I purchase for a meat pen project?
I recomennd that you purchase a pen of 5or 6.  This gives you a better chance to match 3 rabbits.  However, you can still raise a good pen with just 4.
How much should I feed my meat pen?
The rabbits should have fresh feed in front of them at all times.  You will have to pour out any feed that swells over night.  They will not eat it very well once it swells.  If you feed a conditioning feed, put it in a seperate dish.  Only feed the conditioning feed once a day, morning or evening.  I like the plastic cups that attach to the wire and can then be removed after the conditioning feed is eaten.
Do they all have to be bucks or does in my meat pen?
No.  Your pen has to be the same breed and variety but does not have to be the same sex.
Do I have to clean the bottom of their feet before the show?
No.  Leave the bottom of their feet alone.  However, you must keep the pelt clean.  It is much easier to keep them clean than try to clean the fur after they get stained.  If the bottom of their feet is getting dirty then they will get it on each others pelt.  Make sure that they can not get on any type of wood.  They will urinate on it and then step on it.
What do I do if the rabbits have fur missing?
You need to seperate them immediately.  One of the rabbits is probably plucking the others.  However, you will also need to check for fur mites.  You can do this by blowing into the fur and looking for little grey specs on the fur.  If you do have mites you can Ivomec the rabbits or call the vet.  When you seperate them make sure that ;you put something between the cages like plexi glass, pegboard, or metal.  They will lie against the cage and let the other rabbit pull the fur through the wire.
Diarrhea in Rabbits  according to the authors of Rabbit Productions, 8th edition is the most common between ages 4 weeks to 8 weeks of age.  These rabbits will die within 12 to 24 hours.  One reason they quoted, "Perhaps current methods of feeding high grain dites to rabbits on order to get maximum weight gain are partly responsible for the increased number of cases of enterotoxemia."
The Rabbit Production 8th edition McNitt, Patton Lukefehr, and Cheeke is a great reference book.

Please e-mail me your question.  But please remember that I have a life other than rabbits.  Yes, I really do.  I know that most people will not believe this statement.  On a real note, once in a while something does come up that takes me away. 
I am not a vet!
I am happy to offer you my experience but many times you will need to seek the advice of a vet.  Sometimes neither one of us may have the answer.