What To Feed A Rabbit To Help It Gain Weight The History of Rabbit Farming

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The History of Rabbit Farming

Rabbit farming began thousands of years ago when the wild European rabbit was hunted and killed by humans for food. Phoenician sailors visiting the coast of Spain around 1100 BC, mistaking the European rabbit for a species from their homeland, gave it the name i-shepanham. A corruption of this name, used by the Romans, would become the Latin name for Spain, Hispania. In Rome, rabbits were raised in large walled colonies. These captive rabbits were raised as food and were allowed to mingle with each other at will. All the different types of European rabbits at that time were natural, as no man-made breeds had been developed.

Selective rabbit breeding began in the Middle Ages with monasteries keeping colonies of rabbits. French Catholic monks are credited with the actual domestication of rabbits. During this time, rabbits began to emerge as pets and rabbits were bred for specific traits including weight and fur color. By the 1500s, several new breeds with different fur colors and weights were documented.

Rabbits were introduced to Great Britain in the 13th century. By the 16th century, King Henry VIII had leporaria or rabbit colonies so large that he could hunt in them. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth, kept “rabbit islands”, islands in lakes and rivers where rabbits could thrive. This is where Coney Island in New York got its name, because coney is a name for rabbit (the name for rabbit used in the Authorized Version). Today, there are more than 800 rabbit islands in the world’s oceans and lakes.

As people and explorers traveled all over the earth, they moved their animals with them. Rabbit food in the form of vegetables and other green plants was readily available, so the rabbits made the transition relatively easily.

Today, rabbits can be found in most habitats of the world because of their ability to convert varied plant life into nutritious food. In addition to this, rabbit production has enabled many cultures a ready source of food and clothing, making rabbit farming a popular activity around the world.

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