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Colony set up Ideas

Alternative housing for rabbits in groups.
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Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Anntann » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:18 pm


If you have a colony, or ideas about a colony set up, please feel free to chat about them here. (Or problems you've encountered). Many things are the same with a colony as with cages, (like needing fresh water, how to GET fresh water, whether to feed greens, how much to feed and WHAT to feed) but other things like "how on EARTH do I catch these mangey critters???" are different :D

I'm looking for ideas for my NWZ colony that will get finished this Spring. My PLAN is a 30x40 pen, fence dug down 2 feet into the ground, with a feeding house at the center. Also a 2nd colony grow out pen near by. At first just 1 buck and 2 or 3 does. They'll be at the edge of an old hay field...partly under the hardwood trees (big old apple tree right there) and partly in the pasture area.

I have a ton of predators in the area, so I'll put up an electric wire around the outside, and netting over the top.

If anyone has any thoughts on my PLAN, I'd be happy to chat about them! and would LOVE to hear about your colony, your plan, or see pictures :)

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#2  Unread postby turtlehead » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:21 pm


Sounds like you've covered everything I wish I'd done :)

Have some hidey-holes for them, like scrap plywood leaned against a straw bale, or old dog crates, or similar.

They will almost certainly kill the hardwood trees if you don't protect the trunks by fencing the rabbits away from them. Rabbits especially like apple tree bark.

Does your area have good drainage?

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Anntann » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:38 pm


I hadn't thought about them eating the trees...that would suck. thanks for the headsup.

drainage. well...it's interesting. We're on clay with some sand in it. The colony will be on the top of a hill, which SHOULD drain it well. I'm a little worried about the warren areas tho. I have had chicken coops in the area, and they're never muddy, but if you dig down a couple of feet, I'm a bit worried about it filling with water during a rain. I'll have to do a test hole that's covered...Might have to actually build cement warrens for them.

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#4  Unread postby turtlehead » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:05 pm


I wouldn't worry too much about drainage if you're on a hill. Just let them dig and see how it goes.

Definitely protect your trees from the buns. Mine killed all the trees in their enclosure. Who knew?

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#5  Unread postby goslingfever » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:19 pm


Good tip about the trees.... had not thought of that!

Ann - you'll have to share pictures as it progresses - would love to see the building of the colony set up in the works!
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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#6  Unread postby All Ears Rabbitry » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:14 am


wow - 30x40 for 4 rabbits? Hmmm... maybe we won't be able to do a colony set up after all. I just don't have the space for that!

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ladysown » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:22 am


oh...you don't need 30 x 40 for four rabbits, you can do four rabbits in a 10 x 12 area. You just need to keep on top of moving out the kits.
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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Marian » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:56 am


I'd love to have 30 x 40, that's the ultimate goal. My first indoor colonies were 5 x 8 feet. Two - three adults with assorted kits at varying times. I found I could increase the square footage by adding low shelves and kennel tops. Here's a link if you're interested in seeing what it looked like.

http://wwwmindwanderings.blogspot.com/2008/12/peek-around-door-jamb.html

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Anntann » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:01 am


OOO!! Rabbit spying over the wall!! "what's out there? can I get out? " :D

I'm only doing the large area because we have a large area I can give them. I may cut it in half and give them a gate into the 2nd half for grass...close it off for 2 weeks while the grass grows back, etc. It also gives me the possibility of getting more does in the colony without needing to increase the size.

My idea on having a growout pen separate from the main colony is so that I can keep track of who is who and how many youngsters I have without grabbing a rabbit and reading a tattoo. The breeding does will all get tattooed so I can keep track of things.

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Brody » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:48 pm


I like the idea of having an area resting and an area in use - I think it would hold up better too :)
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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#11  Unread postby chickenista » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:30 am


I can share one very helpful thing I did in my colony..
I started the burrow for them. I chose a spot and dug a hole.
I slanted it on one side. Then I put a piece of scrap plywood on top, laid a scrap of plastic sheeting over that and then covered the top and three sides with the dirt.
They went right to it! They went inside and redecorated and added tunnels and rooms etc.. but I got to choose where the starting point was.
You can tell when you have little ones inside because the momma bun will cover over the entrance.
It is brilliant really, temperature control, no escaped kits, no ants going in.. aaahh nature!

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Re: Colony set up Ideas

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Anntann » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:38 am


AH! I can do that! That way, I can start the burrows in the center of the pen. KSALguy had suggested something similar way back..and I'd forgotten it. Another thing he said was to put the feeder in the CENTER of the pen. they're more likely to build under it than off in a corner.

I truly love watching the girls in the colony upstairs. This morning, after cleaning the litterbox and filling with nice new fluffy stuff...I had 3 does in there digging around and playing. Then pretty soon there were 4 kits all laying down on top of each other sound asleep. (can one still call 3month olds "kits"? ;) )

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