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Cleaning in a Colony

Alternative housing for rabbits in groups.
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Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Anntann » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:43 am


While a colony is easier to take care of overall, you do still need to clean periodically. If your solid floor colony can be trained to use a litterbox, life is MUCH easier. Even without a litterbox, you'll probably find a couple of potty spots. Usually in a corner. The rest of the colony will be basically clean. The occasional hard poop around the feeder maybe, and when you have a litter there will be small droppings here and there. BUT on the whole it's pretty clean.

What I've found the most effective for the potty corners or litterbox is to bed it with peat moss on the bottom (just sort of covering it maybe 1/2" deep) shavings over that, and then a light layer of their hay/straw/shavings general bedding. It doesn't stay layered long ;) The buns will get in there and churn it up to see what it is.

One thing I'd like to try is coconut fiber. It can be purchased at a petstore that has reptiles, and some greenhouse/plant stores are carrying it now. It's highly absorbent and non toxic.

On the corner potty spots, I use the same layering technique, but a little heavier with the shavings. For some reason, my girls don't turn THOSE over.

I've been cleaning the litterbox every few days, and the other potty corner. If it goes a week, it's still okay, just starting to give off a little ammonia smell. The rest of the floor gets checked for spots, and every couple weeks gets changed now because of the kits....when there were only the 3 adults, I didn't need to change the rest of the floor at all.

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:38 pm


One thing you might try is putting a second litter box in the potty corner. It would make the clean-up even quicker and easier.
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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Anntann » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:45 pm


I tried that when I first found out that the kits were causing things to go haywire. (before the kits, we had ONE, count it ONE potty spot and that was INSIDE the litter box) The does used the litterbox in the new spot as a piece of furniture to move around.

okay. I'm an idiot. I never even tHOUGHT to wire it in place. Until I was just typing that first sentence! I think you (Maggie) suggested that when I said something about Mama-san moving HER litterbox around.

sheesh
okay. life just got easier

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Brody » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:02 am


it's funny - some runs need one box and the rabbit(s) keep things totally clean

other need more -
some I can't figure out how to keep clean ..
some rabbits litter train much easier than others ...
“The crafty rabbit has three different entrances to its lair”
Chinese Proverb

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:31 am


In general, I find does easier to litter train than bucks. No surprise there!
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Anntann » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:10 pm


MaggieJ wrote:In general, I find does easier to litter train than bucks. No surprise there!

kind of like humans.....<ahem>

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Brody » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:06 pm


I have had does impossible to litter train ... but I hear you ;)
“The crafty rabbit has three different entrances to its lair”
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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Briza » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:38 am


So what about the urine build up in a colony situation. Wouldn't you have to get everything and everyone out periodically and sanitize- neutralize the urine that makes it to soil/ floor level? Thanks for input on this.
B~

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Anntann » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:55 am


I hope KSALguy or another answers you, Briza, for the outdoor colonies. I don't have experience with that yet, but I can tell you about my situation.

We have a rubber mat floor, which will hold any liquid. So far, I've not had any problems. the rabbits all use one of 2 spots..eithr right in front of the door, or the litter box. The litter box is easy. Just dump it out. The area in front of the door I just clean out every week and it's fine. Sprinkle down a little peatmoss, then shavings on top and so far, nothing has gotten to the floor. If it did, it would only be a small area, and I could leave it open long enough to spritz down with something and dry.

I've noticed that all of the rabbits in the various pens or cages use one spot for a potty spot. MOST of the time it's opposite the feeder area. (One buck refuses to use the area that I leave open with wire...no matter where I put the resting area, no matter how often I change the board..he uses the board as a potty spot) I suspect that any rabbit put in a colony start using the communal spot.

on bare ground...at a guess, I'd say it's like with any animal...you can spread some lime and then put straw over it if it gets too bad.

One thing to remember, you do NOT want to overcrowd a colony. Overcrowding leads to stench and fighting....so by keeping numbers down, you keep the problems down.

I look forward to more answers on this.

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#10  Unread postby turtlehead » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:18 pm


My colony is a 25'x25' (more or less) pen on bare ground. I put out hay or straw when it gets muddy and once or twice a year I pitchfork the old hay into a wheel barrow and put it in the garden.

I'd like to have three pens, so that one lies fallow all the time. I think that would be enough to "clean" the outdoor pens -- just a few weeks of sun, rain, and air. But for now, putting down hay or straw periodically does the trick for me. I go by how muddy it is or how much poo there is (mine seem to go all over).

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Anntann » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:58 pm


I'm a little afraid of just how MUCH those rabbits eat whey they're on er, pasture. I like the idea of the hay/straw...I'll probably have to do that particularly around the feeding station. I'm sure it's going to get muddy in the spring. ALL of our property is muddy in the spring.

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#12  Unread postby All Ears Rabbitry » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:11 am


Great topic! We are wanting to start a colony for meat rabbits (very small scale, the rabbit will mostly be for our personal use). Cleaning is the one thing that bother me as rabbit urine does smell. I had thought about burring a kiddie pool in one corner of each pen and digging it up as needed. We first though about going down 3 feet with tarp (we will have wire all the way down 3 feet and on the bottom to make the pen escape proof). Not sure if this will work - I would love to hear how people with outside colony set ups keep things clean in smaller pens. Our pens will be 13x10 and we hope to keep a buck and 3 does in one pen (do you think 130 sq ft is large enough for that?). The other pen will be for offspring after weaning and before butchering. I also have an 8 hole hanging unit I can use for weaned meat rabbits. Currently it is not used and in reserve to be added on the front side of the barn for overflow once my new barn is finished (May 1 is the expected date to move the bunnies in). Peat moss is a great idea, I have actually been thinking of useing that in my trays in the barn.

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Aileen » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:17 am


So what's overcrowded? How many square feet does each rabbit need?
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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Anntann » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:47 am


After having the critters in an 8x8' pen upstairs in my house for 9 months now..going from 4 juniors, to 3 does with 8 kits (and now 3 does and 4 juniors) the urine problem isn't a problem. I've been using litterbox with peatmoss on the bottom, shavings on the top. (the does immediately go in and churn it up to mix it) The other corner that they pee in has the same basic setup. It just gets hay on it, too. I'm cleaning every week, and having no problem with ammonia or smell. Even down at rabbit nose level.

I did try the clay litter for a time and found that it actually HELD the scent. made it worse. The peatmoss seems to neutralize it. Along with the pine shavings...which now that I think about it makes sense. Pine is slightly acidic. the ammonia is alkaline.

I'm REALLY going to enjoy putting the meat rabbits outside this spring when I can see the ground again. Since we're on a neutral soil base (loads of limestone) I think I'll add pine needles once in awhile to the colony ground..but other than that, it should take care of itself.

Overcrowding....I really wouldn't want any more rabbits in my 8x8 space than we currently have. It would be crowded NOW except that they have a second layer of space...the tubs and tunnels and shelves serve two purposes...hiding space on ground level, and a 2nd level to sit or run on. They pretty much have a two story house in that 8x8 spot. And they make FULL use of it ;)

__________ Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:47 am __________

btw, Give them tunnels or tubs or something to hide in. If there's a problem between 2 does, the less aggressive can run into a tunnel or tub..or hop up on top...and get away. Rabbits apparently have VERY short memories, so even a short "time out" can work wonders.

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Re: Cleaning in a Colony

Post Number:#15  Unread postby All Ears Rabbitry » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:52 pm


I will definately have tubes, shelves, hide outs, ect. The second hole, when not used for weanlings to grow out, will be used as a play yard. I also have a spare pen for the buck if need be. I like giving my critters space, have slowly been tranferring the fuzzies to 36x24 sized holes, almost twice what they had before. The Netherlands will get the smallest cages, 24x24. They have toys in their pens, we are working on shelves.

I have to catch the stray dog thats running around. He broke into my barn last night and killed my lionhead pet pair. While I was in San Diego I had 2 rabbits (also pets, different cage) dissappear - they were always on bottom cages. Never found the other 2 but found there guys. Ugh.

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