Register

Interesting Set Up

Alternative housing for rabbits in groups.
5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 251
Joined: May 1, 2013
Location: South island, New zealand
New Zealand Female
Thanks: 72
Thanked: 15 in 13 posts
BunnyBucks: 1,584.00

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?
Little Willow Rabbitry
Purebred Netherland Dwarfs
http://littlewillowrabbitry.weebly.com/

Site Supporter
5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 6342
Joined: November 16, 2012
Location: Ontario
Thanks: 123
Thanked: 1697 in 1426 posts
BunnyBucks: 32,048.00

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

Site Admin
8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 16653
Joined: December 16, 2009
Location: South Eastern Ontario
Canada Female
Thanks: 774
Thanked: 2449 in 1896 posts
BunnyBucks: 60,108.00

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

1 year of membership
User avatar
Posts: 506
Joined: July 12, 2016
Location: houston. tx
United States of America
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 124 in 110 posts
BunnyBucks: 2,660.00

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.
Image
mini lop, standard rex, meat mutts
tumblr: @babbits | facebook: @frithyeer.rabbits | ig: @frithyeerfarm

The following user would like to thank shazza for this post
SarniaTricia, Zass

Posts: 7
Joined: February 7, 2018
Location: NW Missouri
United States of America
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 1 in 1 post
BunnyBucks: 35.00

Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Greencaller » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:28 pm


Thank you for posting that link. I'm considering starting off with rabbits colony-style, considering my daily habits and so I'm reading everything I can on it, and the more input the better!

I noticed a couple of things the author did: they put in solid floors everywhere. Gravel and tin for the indoor flooring and a concrete bed outdoors, and both with good drainage installed. I'll bet that helped with diseases.

Another thing I noticed was he/she started with cages and all the rabbits where either related or knew each other. They may have also had the right temperament, too, as I understand from other reading that personality plays a big part in colony success, yes?

Either way, that article and subsequent comments give me much brain fodder. :ugeek:

Site Admin
8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 16653
Joined: December 16, 2009
Location: South Eastern Ontario
Canada Female
Thanks: 774
Thanked: 2449 in 1896 posts
BunnyBucks: 60,108.00

Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:35 pm


I'd strongly recommend that one start a colony with a doe and her daughter where they have never been separated. (Or two daughters, if the facility warrants it.) This will minimize fighting for dominance among the does. Make sure your matriarch doe is a nice-natured bun.

If the buck is kept in the colony you will need to make sure he is not so eager a breeder that he interrupts the kindling process. I had one like that and he scattered a couple of litters in his attempts to breed the doe even while she was giving birth. You have to be vigilant to deal with this kind of thing.

Site Supporter
4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 6173
Joined: October 6, 2013
Location: northwest PA
United States of America
Thanks: 1694
Thanked: 1602 in 1315 posts
BunnyBucks: 31,815.00

Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Zass » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:20 pm


I noticed the article said they used chicken wire for the outdoor run.

Do not do this.

Rabbits can cut strait through it (although they don't all try) and predators can rip right in.

The following user would like to thank Zass for this post
MaggieJ, Nymphadora

Site Admin
8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 16653
Joined: December 16, 2009
Location: South Eastern Ontario
Canada Female
Thanks: 774
Thanked: 2449 in 1896 posts
BunnyBucks: 60,108.00

Re: Interesting Set Up

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:36 pm


Chicken wire??? :o :shock: :x :?

Never, never use chicken wire to keep your animals in or predators out. Useless stuff, except maybe for keeping chickens out of a garden bed.

The following user would like to thank MaggieJ for this post
Zass

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest