Meat rabbits free to run coop

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Meat rabbits free to run coop

Post Number:#1  Unread postby buschb26 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:29 pm

Im getting ready to start raising rabbits for meat and have a few questions. To start I have an old shed that I am using for a Chicken coop and was wanting to use half of that for my rabbits. Can I fence off the rabbits from the chickens and let the rabbits run free on their side? Or should I have them hutched up at all times? Also would it be OK to let the chickens and rabbits run together in the pen?

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Re: Meat rabbits free to run coop

Post Number:#2  Unread postby AnnClaire » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:00 pm

It is always your decision, but here are some facts you might want to consider:

Chickens have a strain of coccidia that is different than rabbit coccidia. The chicken coccidia is intestinal rather than hepatic that rabbits can get. This means that chicken coccidia can KILL rabbits! In fact, I got infested with chicken coccidia at the end of 2015 and shut down sales and breeding until I got it out of the rabbitry. This was after loosing 14 of 21 growouts that had been weaned for 3 weeks with no problems. I took a stool sample from one that died for a fecal float at the vet and they called 15 minutes after I left to tell me I was infested.

To get rid of it I had to dose all rabbits with a regimine of Corridor and then torch the cages, j-feeders, water fine and nest boxes, then another round of Corridor treatment and another round of torching.

I finally bred a doe and my first successful litter is now 6 weeks old, 2 weeks from weaning and all are healthy!

Even tho you are going to separate the buns and chickens, there might still be coccidia in the soil/floor of the coop. Also, since the coccidia is transferred through the droppings, you should not let the chickens get on top of the cages! An adult rabbit can get the chicken coccidia and show very few symptoms, but it will still be on their fur, which is how I got infested, so I definitely had my share in the infestation!

Now, in my rabbitry I have hutches that hold cages above the ground and let my chickens roam under the hutches (backyard rabbitry) and there is no cross contamination between my chickens and the rabbits.

I also have two ground lens that I move the does and bucks into in the summer, but I keep the chickens out of there so they don't infest the ground with their coccidia.

So, yes, chickens and rabbits can be housed closely, but a few concerns should be addressed beforehand. Besides, chickens are just plain silly and fun to watch, not to mention the eggs for omelettes! :D
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: Meat rabbits free to run coop

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Zass » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:59 am

Also, if you intend to run all the rabbits together, keep in mind that you will be dealing with aggression, and bucks re-breeding immediately after (or possibly during) kindling.
Also, does have been known to trash other doe's nests, kill kits, and bite off tails while pulling hair from other rabbits.
Sometimes "usual dominance behavior" results in large pus filled abscesses underneath a rabbit's skin.
Hepatic coccidia (and other rabbit specific strains) can cause high kit mortality.
In other words, keeping rabbits together on a solid surface poses a much greater risk to the animals than housing them separately in wire bottomed pens.

For all those reasons, I tend to not recommend attempting it until one becomes familiar with cage breeding, which allows for a lot more sanitation and control.

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Re: Meat rabbits free to run coop

Post Number:#4  Unread postby HRHDi » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:34 am

Wow, glad I read this. I have a large run for my chickens and had planned to divide it in half to make two 10ft x 20ft runs. Sounds like this isn't such a good idea. Relocating the rabbits isn't much of an issue, but what are everyone's thoughts on out of cage time for the buns? Do they really care if the cages are big enough? Or is time out in a run preferred when possible?

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Re: Meat rabbits free to run coop

Post Number:#5  Unread postby shazza » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:16 pm

if you have an area that you can safely let them out to run and they're relatively easy to catch afterwards, i would absolutely let them out! of course you want their cages big enough that they can stretch out and run in circles a bit if they get hyper, but they really, REALLY love the extra space to run laps and binky and especially eat grass. there's a possibility they can get worms, but i haven't had any issues in my yard whatsoever, and i actually have my growouts in a colony pen on the ground and they're having so much fun with all the space. worms are pretty easy to treat too. i think a strain of coccidia can live in the ground as well, but it is treated by periodically feeding rabbits plants from the onion family. it's well worth a try!
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