The Truth about sore hocks
I can't blame pet owners or people just getting into rabbits for assuming someone husbandry is wrong just because they read a biased website(s) and usually it's the rescue group with little to no experience how selectively breeding and certain traits work.
Surprisingly, there are good amount of vets with severely INCORRECT information when it comes to proper diet and rabbit genetic issues.
The thing is, not enough vet see properly bred rabbits because they require little to no veterinary care. How many tattooed rabbits do you see in a rescue?
IMPO It's very important to read all the information and find what works for YOU and YOUR rabbit(s) best.
So the big question always is: Isn't wire bad for rabbits feet?
No. Well not always anyways. Sore hocks can be selectively bred OUT of a breeding program. You must also have the PROPER wire.
Wire cloth at Homedepot is NOT appropriate for rabbits. (Proper wire is 14-16 Galvanized Wire)
Have you ever googled sore hocks? Have you noticed the feet of those rabbits to be very long and thinly furred? (I posted some compare and contrast pictures above)
If the breeder is knowledge able enough to know what to look for. A wide foot,thickly padded with fur isn't bothered by wire. If you keep sore hock prone rabbits in your program, you will continue to have that problem. It's important to remove poor traits.
Large breeds will require resting mats just because of their size, but otherwise, wire is completely safe and very SANITARY. (Rex breeds (Standard and Mini) generally require a nesting mat on occasion just because their fur is a little different, but I've noticed the occurrence depends on the bloodline and culling behind it)
Fun fact of the day? I've seen rabbits on SOLID flooring get sore hocks. Prone rabbits can get sore hocks no matter what the flooring.
I also provide resting mats for some of my herd and most of them lay next to them, but never on them. The option is there, but generally ignored or they are soiled on and I have to clean up.
Even if you are not a breeder, I recommend joining the American Rabbit Breeders Association. You get great perks like a Rabbit & Cavy husbandry book, you are instantly subscribed to 6 issues of the Domestic Rabbit magazine. If you show, membership with the ARBA provides you with GC certificates, registration,etc.