To cull or not to cull…that is the question…

There is more than one definition for the word cull.  I will talk about them here.

Euthanasia as a form of culling…
I live in the United States where euthanasia as a form of culling is not considered a bad thing, especially when you have a sick rabbit or one with bad teeth.  If you are raising show rabbits, you want to have the strongest and healthiest rabbits that you possibly can.  If you treat a sick rabbit and are successful and breed that rabbit, you are passing along unhealthy genes or at least the propensity to have offspring that are more susceptible to getting sick.  I personally would rather euthanize a sick rabbit than to spend the time and money to get it well.  People who continually give antibiotics for things such as pasturella are only masking the symptoms, the disease is still there!  It has been proven that pasturella in rabbits is not curable!  If you have a rabbit that is sneezing and it has white or yellowish discharge coming from it’s nose, it does not necessarily mean it is pasturella.  Only a culture will tell you if it is or is not.  But I will cull any rabbit from my barn that has those symptoms.  Fortunately, I have not had this happen very much.

Sickly babies… I do not do any heroics in trying to save them.  I have done that in the past and 99% of the time, they die anyway.   I know it sounds cruel but I will put that baby down. It’s going to die anyway so why let it suffer until it does.  Rabbits do not make any sound when in pain, but look into that rabbits eyes, feel it’s body, you know it is in pain.  The humane thing to do is to euthanize it.  The same thing goes with peanuts…if you see a peanut in the litter as soon as it is born, do not let it suffer.  A peanut cannot eat.  It has no way of digesting food.  It suffers miserably until it dies.  The most humane way to deal with a peanut is to take it immediately from the litter, put it in a small baggie, pull the air out of the baggie and put it in the freezer.  It will die immediately.

Rabbits with bad teeth… If there is a simple butting of teeth I may let it grow up a bit to see if the teeth straighten out.  But if the teeth have malocclusion and you have to continually clips its teeth to keep the teeth from growing into the jaw or the nasal passage, euthanize.  I mean, come on, what kind of life is that for a rabbit, continually having the stress of you prying open their mouth so you can clip their teeth?

Taking rabbits to a raptor rescue or snake farm as a form of culling…
As a breeder of show rabbits, I cannot keep every single rabbit that is born in my barn.  I keep only the ones that are show quality.  I try to pet out as many as I can (will talk about that later) but there are so many people selling pet bunnies, it’s not possible to sell all your non-show quality rabbits as pets.  Luckily we have a place here that actually raises snakes, all kinds and sizes from the tiniest ones to the huge Boa Constrictors!  We raise rabbits, they raise snakes!  The larger snakes can eat a very large rabbit!   We take our rabbits that we don’t want to keep and can’t sell as pets to this place.  We get paid for them!  I don’t know how they feed the snakes and I don’t want to know, but I know that every living thing on earth has to eat, including snakes!  We are able to provide that!

There are also places here in the United States called raptor rescues and wild animal rescues.  These places are always in need of food for their animals.  A lot of the zoos here also will take rabbits as food for their animals.  What you have to remember is that rabbits are not predators anywhere whether in the wild or in captivity.  They are prey and as such, make good food for places that I have described here.

Selling rabbits as pets as a form of culling…
For a healthy rabbit, but one that is not the quality that you want for your show herd, you can sell that rabbit as a pet!  We have pet stores everywhere here that will possibly take your rabbits to sell in their store.  You can advertise in your local newspaper or online.  But if you are wanting to keep the best quality possible in your herd then you have to cull hard!  That means that even though that bunny is cute, it does not mean that it is going to show well.  If the rabbit is healthy and has good teeth, then someone may want to give it a good home.  I have sold lots of rabbits as pets.  I have always had a good response from people who have purchased a pet from me.  I even got a Christmas card one year with a picture of the rabbit I sold on it with a Santa hat on it’s head…so cute!!

In reading Timothy’s blog “Moving Along” dated 11/11/09, I see that he has finally figured out that he needs to cull (sell to a pet home) a rabbit that is not the quality he wants in his show herd!  Yes, Skor is cute!  Yes, Skor is lovable!  But is Skor show quality? No.  Will he pass on those genes of being long in body and having fine bone? Yes!  So kudos to Timothy for making this decision to not use Skor in his breeding program!  I applaud you, Timothy!

I welcome any questions or comments anyone might want to have for me!  Thank you Timothy, for allowing me to be a guest blogger!

Teri Reymann
Sonshine Rabbitry



Filed under Random Topics

4 responses to “To cull or not to cull…that is the question…

  1. lazybunnys

    Culling is always a very sensitive issue to animal lover.
    But “The truth is always bitter” that what my hubby always said. Somehow oso we try to explain to people (animal lovers) the need of Culling they dont / dont wanna understand. For them every life, must have a chance to live. And this Culling is cruel Thing To Do for them without thinking of the consequences of not Culling. Forgive me if I’m wrong. But for me, for good reason, Culling is a must.

  2. ali

    hi grandma 🙂 ali here.. when u coming here eat roti canai with me?:)
    miss u

    culling is cruel x.x

  3. Lana Linstruth

    Thank you Teri! I finally got the truth about culling. Culling seems like a subject some breeders just don’t want to discuss. Whenever I would ask a breeder how they cull their rabbits, they don’t want to tell me that they kill them. They look both directions and then whisper, yes, I cull my rabbits. But, they won’t use the word kill. So, for so long I had no idea what culling meant. Now, thanks to you and your very well written column here regarding when and how to cull I feel confident that I will now know how and when to cull my rabbits.
    I agree with you and a lot of other breeders that it is an important part of breeding.
    Thank you so much!

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