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Finally a colony for OGG?!

Alternative housing for rabbits in groups.
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Finally a colony for OGG?!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:33 pm


After all this time I am biting the bullet. I bought a metal chicken bulk feeder. I bought a roll of fence. I have 3 does and their mom who have never been separated. I am far past out of cage space and I really need to breed some rabbits and cull whatever I don't need.

Sassypants (mom) is Californian.
3 does (mom x SF buck).

The section of the barn is about 55 sq ft. 10ft long, 5ft at one end and 6ft at other end, plus there will be some shelves and things for them to get away from each other.

Nests: I have really just been thinking to get several storage totes and cut a hole in a side and put those in there, spread out. Easy to clean and easy to open and close to check kits.

I have the SF buck and a Cali buck. I want to breed Sassypants to Cali buck, if I am not happy with what I get they might both be sold/eaten. I want to breed the 3 does back to SF buck, so the litters would be 75% SF and 25% Cali. I would play with line breeding what I get from them and cull for body type and good growth.
At this point I could keep several adults.. I could cull down to a pair and watch litters for future breeders..

Sassypants is being a bit hormonal right now. She has been ups and downs wanting bred. No fighting among them but they need more space and there is the possibility that they might not all meld for a colony. That will also be a culling point for me. At this point I want the does in the colony and bring them as wanted to the buck. Litters will have bucks separated at about 4-5wks and into a growout cage.
Note: currently Sassypants and the 3 cross does are in the big cage (5ft by 3ft by 2ft high, with an about 1ft by 3ft shelf in it). Not ideal, I know. But there hasn't been any issues other than some fur pulling (mom seems to be doing this as none of it is her fur! I am sure bc she is cali and all the fur is black and silvered) and the occurrence of the pulled fur fluffs being spotted align with her being hormonal acting.

Honestly right now my biggest worry is they kindle together and I wont know who is the best mom. Sassypants being bred to the cali buck means cali kits so I should be able to visually spot those kits from the others. However I have no idea what the cross does will throw with the unknown genotype behind the cali half of the genetics. So I might end up keeping the meatiest of the 3 cross does then keep whatever looks the best of the 75/25 cross back to go from there.

Water: This is my second biggest worry. I have a battle with water bottles and bowls as soon as it gets cold. Obviously the barn will be slightly warmer, but I still really don't have a good solution to try in the colony.

UPDATE 12/27/16

Yesterday I went to do chores and found something had gotten the cali buck. I am very upset that I hadn't been able to get things together and get them bred and all my plans. However this did mean that I called off work to do cleanup, reorganizing, and lots of work that I hadn't gotten to.

Sassypants (cali) was covered 3x by SF buck. I put the buck, sassypants, and the 3 cross does in the colony. From the time I was out there watching them they all seem to be quite happy with the new place. MrRabbit did attempt to breed the cross does (his daughters, 1/2 cali 1/2 SF) but they each ran away while I was out there watching.
I don't want to have mystery litters so I think I will take MrRabbit out back to his cage tomorrow. Kinda sad because he really seems to like hopping and lounging around the colony. This morning I open the door and he hopped right over and awaited pets! He is the most friendly rabbit I have and while he did get lots of pets in his cage he kind of seemed indifferent to my attention. Nope this morning he hopped right over to say hi and after I poured pellets in the feeder I sat down and he came over to sniff my shoes and get some more pets.

Now my wondering is if I take out the buck tomorrow how I want to go about checking and breeding the cross does in a week or so. They aren't friendly and don't like being grabbed much at all so it'll be like catching fish with my hands I'm sure.
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Re: Finally a colony for OGG?!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby AnnClaire » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:19 pm


Well, sorry to say, but worrying how catchable your does are after putting them into the colony might have called for a bit more planning. Hopefully others will learn from this.

I regularly house my rabbits in ground pens during the summer, so a few pointers might help in your situation.

You can use feeding time to capture your does ... only feed once per day, although I have noticed that does do not overeat when they have plenty of room to move around!

Also, adding a fence around the feeding station with a gate for them to come in and out for feeding can help you with catching them. It will just be one more feature of their pen.

I also recommend some some sort of cover area where they can "hide" under. This is an instinctive need and they will be happier for having it. If you make it flat topped, they will utilize it also.

Another consideration is what you are doing to keep them from digging out? If it is a dirt floored barn, you absolutely must have a barrier of some sort or they will tunnel out!

As for the fur flying, that will happen from time to time, but it is just the dominate doe establishing her dominance. It will happen any time a new doe is introduced, or if you take a doe out for an extended period of time. How long that is will be determined by the dominate doe LOL

If you want to give the buck ground time, make him his own runout area, just be sure the walls are tall enough to keep him in. Bucks don't dig as much as does, so no real barrier is needed like with the does.

As for the nest boxes, I would not recommend having the does kindle in the ground pen, but suggest you will be happier if you have some cages where you can move the doe with her nestbox for kindling. Does can be very deadly when it comes to other does breeding. With kindling cages, you will have more control over the babies and can socialize the babies easier if you take them to the doe for feeding, especially when they are up and around. Otherwise, you are raising wild rabbits that will be full of adrenaline when butchered.

You will also want the feed, water and hay rack to be accessible from the outside! LOL

I do know my rabbits are very happy on the ground in the summer and they don't seem to mind being back in the cages when the fall rains come.
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: Finally a colony for OGG?!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:48 am


My responses are in bold under the paragraph it's in response to.

AnnClaire wrote:Well, sorry to say, but worrying how catchable your does are after putting them into the colony might have called for a bit more planning. Hopefully others will learn from this.
I can catch them, they just are like snobby cats and really don't care to be handled. I have been back and forth planning a colony for several years I just hadn't had the chance or the right timing to attempt it yet.

I regularly house my rabbits in ground pens during the summer, so a few pointers might help in your situation.

You can use feeding time to capture your does ... only feed once per day, although I have noticed that does do not overeat when they have plenty of room to move around!
I feed once a day already. The feeder is a big bulk aluminum chicken feeder, so easy to just add more feed when there are litters.

Also, adding a fence around the feeding station with a gate for them to come in and out for feeding can help you with catching them. It will just be one more feature of their pen.
I don't know that I could do that without lessening the total area that the rabbits have to move around. I will think on that.

I also recommend some some sort of cover area where they can "hide" under. This is an instinctive need and they will be happier for having it. If you make it flat topped, they will utilize it also.
There is already a small 'bench' type thing in there for them and a milk crate. The ground isn't very flat or level enough and the feeder is placed on top of this currently. I plan to add more shelves and hiding spots.

Another consideration is what you are doing to keep them from digging out? If it is a dirt floored barn, you absolutely must have a barrier of some sort or they will tunnel out!
As I said above, I'm not a total newbie (no offense to anyone. gotta start somewhere). The colony is in a room of the barn and has wire over the dirt floor. They haven't done any real digging attempts yet so if/when that happens I may put some more wire down if they seem to really want to dig a certain area. Just to be sure.

As for the fur flying, that will happen from time to time, but it is just the dominate doe establishing her dominance. It will happen any time a new doe is introduced, or if you take a doe out for an extended period of time. How long that is will be determined by the dominate doe LOL
That's about what I figure. Since these does have never been separated and the fur pulling was while they were still in the large cage I'm putting it up to outgrowing the space and Sassypants being hormonal wanting bred. Also since I don't plan on adding outside rabbits to the colony I am not worried about that.

If you want to give the buck ground time, make him his own runout area, just be sure the walls are tall enough to keep him in. Bucks don't dig as much as does, so no real barrier is needed like with the does.

As for the nest boxes, I would not recommend having the does kindle in the ground pen, but suggest you will be happier if you have some cages where you can move the doe with her nestbox for kindling. Does can be very deadly when it comes to other does breeding. With kindling cages, you will have more control over the babies and can socialize the babies easier if you take them to the doe for feeding, especially when they are up and around. Otherwise, you are raising wild rabbits that will be full of adrenaline when butchered.
I have read a lot here and in several fb groups on colonies of people and their experiences with different ways, far as kindling and handling. I really think that with my setup and small amount of animals that kindling in colony will be the easiest. I am fine with culling a doe that is too aggressive for the colony. I am not worried about the young rabbits not being social as I spend a good amount of time with the rabbits as much as possible and that will likely be more time sitting in the colony now.

You will also want the feed, water and hay rack to be accessible from the outside! LOL
The colony is in the barn in a room. The only outside access to it is opening the door. I am not really worried about this though. The rabbits don't get under my feet (yet anyways) and I am keeping in mind changing where the water and feeder will be so as to be closer to the door.

I do know my rabbits are very happy on the ground in the summer and they don't seem to mind being back in the cages when the fall rains come.



Bought a live trap (coon size trap and came with smaller live trap inside like for squirrels etc. Got it set out at "the scene of the crime" and hope there is a varmit in there for me to deal with. I don't like not knowing what I'm dealing with. It really does not seem to be a coon though, so kinda glad of that. Coons are horrible! :angry:

I also got a latch to add to the existing door and latch of the colony. The latch already on the door is a simple hook and eye. I don't like the idea of a big coon having the possibility of opening the door. And I need to figure something to close the door from the inside while I go in it. I have a piece of twine on there for now but it takes me a minute to get closed and it wont last like it is.
Sometimes I think about how insane people are these days... I mean I am crazy.. but I am the good crazy.. My crazy makes crafts and feeds animals and makes adorable baby animals and feeds people...


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Re: Finally a colony for OGG?!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:07 am


OGG
Good for you.... I have done a bit of reading on the colony style raising.
I would like to try it with my meat mutts when I get a farm.

Keep us posted on how your does are doing and what solution you have found for "buck time"
That really interested me as I assumed you would be leaving the buck in the colony.

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Breeding Rabbits for Meat and Pelts...
Working towards a farm to raise animals with respect and care.

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Re: Finally a colony for OGG?!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:06 pm


I want to get a video and pics but need to get out there at the right time for good lighting. I will share when I get them.

I had thought a lot about ways of doing breedings and I just really like having the set timeline of knowing when the rabbits are due.

MrRabbit is such a lovey boy and is such a goofy guy in the colony. I really hate to take him out. But I also can't have unlimited breeding like would be able to leaving him in. I will give him a day or two more to try woo-ing the cross does then he goes back to his cage until I palpate the does and do cage breeding with whoever doesn't have kits then.
Sometimes I think about how insane people are these days... I mean I am crazy.. but I am the good crazy.. My crazy makes crafts and feeds animals and makes adorable baby animals and feeds people...


FIND ME ON YOUTUBE! http://www.youtube.com/user/girlwalkswi ... ature=mhee
CHECK OUT MY ETSY! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ImperfectlyCreated

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