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Interesting Set Up

Alternative housing for rabbits in groups.
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Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Silver Willow » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:44 pm


I'm doing re search for an essay on rabbit meat I'm writing at the moment (I'm homeschooled, and I was allowed to choose a topic for this one :lol: ), and came across an interesting article. It's about someone who used to raise rabbits in standard wire cages, but switched to a colony style set up. They had 18 does and two bucks.

The article is here: https://www.motherearthnews.com/homeste ... az77jazbon

I've always loved the idea of being self sufficient- with meat and veges, at least. There was one point where I was close to getting a trio of NZ crosses and starting a meat herd. But unfortunately I just don't have the time right now, with my NDs and a million other hobbies and projects flying around.

With the fact that I'm mostly just dreaming and planning for 'one day when I can commit', this idea of a shed and run almost sounds to good to be true! Would this actually work, in the long run? How many of you breed meat rabbits in a colony set up?
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Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Dood » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:57 pm


You should check out the colony forum and read up on members experiences, including mine ;) with this type of housing

I tried it and it was a disaster :( and I'd not recommend it

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Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:24 pm


I originally raised rabbits in cages and then, after several years experience, I switched to a colony setting. My rabbitry was very small-scale since I was into natural feeding and that is time consuming if you have too many. I used half of a shed, a space about 8 feet square, and usually had only 2 or 3 working does and one buck, plus their offspring.

The colony worked quite well for me, but I found I had to be vigilant and flexible to deal with the various management problems that came up. It was a time-saver on a daily basis, when it was running well and I loved the rabbits being able to interact and socialize. But you have to be on the ball when things go wrong, and disease can rip through a colony before you even know it's there.

This did not happen in my rabbitry, however, and I think two factors were at work. The fresh forage (weeds and certain trees) have medicinal as well as nutritive properties that tend to fend off certain health problems such as parasites. The second factor was that it was a closed rabbitry. In all the years I raised rabbits, I only brought in new stock twice, three individuals total. I think these were the main reasons I ran into so few health problems with the rabbits.

Many of my experiences are documented in the Rabbit Colony forum. You should read all the threads there before embarking on such a venture. It's not for everyone. I'd do it again, if my mobility problems allowed, but other people -- even experienced and knowledgeable people like Dood -- have not had such good experiences with colonies.
Last edited by MaggieJ on Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo

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Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#4  Unread postby shazza » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:49 pm


i used to raise my growouts in a colony pen, to give them space to run around and dig before they were eaten, and it went fine for a few months, but then suddenly a horrible mystery disease wiped out 16 of my rabbits in three days.

i may try again in the future, but i will be putting them in tractors so i can move them daily. the problem i had i'm pretty sure stemmed from them being on the same ground all the time, even though i covered the dirt with hay and wood shavings, they'd still dig through it and get muddy when it rained every other day in spring. i built them a platform to get up on, and over half of the pen was covered anyway, but i vastly overestimated the intelligence of a rabbit. half the time i'd walk outside and see them all huddled in a corner in the rain, when the shelter was totally empty.

we built a large (8' x 4') raised hutch, and so far we haven't had any more issues. they still have plenty of running around room, and i let them out in the tractor a few times a week to graze and dig and stuff. but i will never have rabbits on the ground in a static pen again.
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