Colony ideas, sharing thoughts, sharing experience etc

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Cosima

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I am planning to have a rabbit colony and I would love to learn from other people with colony experience and share my thoughts and ideas.

right now I have lily and mus and they month old baby in a 6 rabbits colony but I have bigger plans. I am planning on having the bucks and the does separate to make a controlled colony. I also want to make a way that the kits can go in between so that if i decide to keep a buck then the father and son will already be use to each other.

any other ideas or suggestions is welcome even from people that don’t have colonies.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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I have quite a few set up ideas that I have, kind of, made blueprints for. i can post them tomorrow
 

northernnevadahollandlops

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Sorry for the long post....We have a semi controlled colony (our buck keeps getting out or my kids let him in with the does), but our does and all the babies are together in one large enclosure with free standing hutches and places to nest, sleep etc. Our buck is in his own hutch and there are a couple other hutches we've been putting our junior bucks in at night until they sell. Our big buck was fine with the junior bucks at first. Now when it's his time to free roam, he will chase the older boys around (the oldest is 3 months, and he also chases the 2 month olds). So far there haven't been any fights, but I imagine there will be if we kept adult bucks together. At first I thought they were getting along fine bc they are all used to each other, but the next day the dad started chasing and intimidating the young ones. My advice is to watch for that. Also, if there is a way for the babies to go back and forth, the buck will figure it out too. Instinct to mate is strong with some. Our buck has jumped a 3 1/2 foot (1m) fence, pushed open many hutch doors, and dug his way out before. We've had a few surprise litters before we started keeping his hutch locked up 🔒. I love having all the rabbits together, and they seem to love it too. Our does are a bonded pair and before we started controlling the breeding, our buck was right there with them grooming and snuggling, so we are neutering our big buck and then will breed our does in the spring with friend's rabbits.
 

Cosima

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I have noticed that if a doe doesn’t want to get breed then she will run away from the buck in the same time mus is not exactly a active buck in terms of breeding which I consider a good thing for a colony. do you think it is a good thing?
 

Softie

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Colony set up here, sexes separate though. 7 bucks, all fine for six months until one got out and got with does. They wanted to kill him. And the doe who was with the bucks has a torn up back, and will kill any doe she's around now. Both are separated and may go to freezer once I figure out dispatch method can do without botching. I have a .22.; thinking about close shot in contained grazing area. Maybe off topic. I assume doe pregnant, hence her new desire to attack (and in pain from raw back). And I assume buck smells likea doe and they all need to reset pecking order. Sound right?
 

Murphy

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following as very interested. I have a trio,, unrelated kits @ 8 weeks. Building a colony, and they are in a boring hutch for now. Got 3 bucket borrows to put in this weekend. Im using a dog enclosure i had already to modify. Aiming for a kiddie wonderland of rabbits for my grandchildren and me, to go in and interact with them.
 

eco2pia

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Off the ground? so just like a giant raised hutch/cage type thing? I think as long as you can clean it and get to all the rabbits, and as long as they have lots of space to get away from each other it could work. I know in the north some people have indoor colonies in barns or stalls with cement or wood floors. The main thing is that you have to make sure everybody likes each other and gets along, once you have a stable herd it should be ok.

The thing I would not do is make a cage where the rabbits can get beyond my reach. If the cage is deeper than my arm can reach I need a way to climb in there with them--a bigger door and a stronger floor. I meant my cages to be just the right size this time, but just in case I made an extra big door. It is a good thing, the ground has compacted by the doors and now I am too short and need a bucket to step on, and one corner is almost too far away. Rabbits do not like being dragged closer (understandably) so I have to put my head and shoulders in to reach anyone in the far corner.
 

Softie

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Colony set up here, sexes separate though. 7 bucks, all fine for six months until one got out and got with does. They wanted to kill him. And the doe who was with the bucks has a torn up back, and will kill any doe she's around now. Both are separated and may go to freezer once I figure out dispatch method can do without botching. I have a .22.; thinking about close shot in contained grazing area. Maybe off topic. I assume doe pregnant, hence her new desire to attack (and in pain from raw back). And I assume buck smells likea doe and they all need to reset pecking order. Sound right?
Rehomed the doe. Buck gone too.
 

Cosima

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The thing I would not do is make a cage where the rabbits can get beyond my reach. If the cage is deeper than my arm can reach I need a way to climb in there with them--a bigger door and a stronger floor. I meant my cages to be just the right size this time, but just in case I made an extra big door. It is a good thing, the ground has compacted by the doors and now I am too short and need a bucket to step on, and one corner is almost too far away. Rabbits do not like being dragged closer (understandably) so I have to put my head and shoulders in to reach anyone in the far corner.
No worries I am keeping that in mind
 

hotzcatz

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Far as I've noticed, the rabbits don't always get the memo on how they're supposed to behave. I've had a doe who didn't get along with any bunny else, which is odd for a doe. Currently, there's a pair of bucks happily co-habitating and they are several years old and haven't killed each other even though they're sharing space. Got another pair of young bucks who so far are happily co-habitating, we will see how long that lasts. Getting them to get along works best if they start out in a territory that doesn't 'belong' to either one of them. Even with the doe herd, when they get mixed around (there's several doe herds) if there's enough room to run and hide, they get along better and if I mix several members of different herds together, I like to put them in a space that neither one lived in previously. (Previously being the previous several weeks)
 

Cosima

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Far as I've noticed, the rabbits don't always get the memo on how they're supposed to behave. I've had a doe who didn't get along with any bunny else, which is odd for a doe. Currently, there's a pair of bucks happily co-habitating and they are several years old and haven't killed each other even though they're sharing space. Got another pair of young bucks who so far are happily co-habitating, we will see how long that lasts. Getting them to get along works best if they start out in a territory that doesn't 'belong' to either one of them. Even with the doe herd, when they get mixed around (there's several doe herds) if there's enough room to run and hide, they get along better and if I mix several members of different herds together, I like to put them in a space that neither one lived in previously. (Previously being the previous several weeks)
I have looked into rabbit bonding so as long as I introduce them into a neutral space and go through the steps slowly I don’t think it will be that hard.
 

EastNeukRabbits

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following as very interested. I have a trio,, unrelated kits @ 8 weeks. Building a colony, and they are in a boring hutch for now. Got 3 bucket borrows to put in this weekend. Im using a dog enclosure i had already to modify. Aiming for a kiddie wonderland of rabbits for my grandchildren and me, to go in and interact with them.
I love this idea! I hope the rabbits bond and it works out, would love to hear your updates…I currently have all my rabbits separate (apart from a pair of does) and they take up way more space that way. Plus I feel that in the wild they live in a colony system and to replicate that would be beneficial to the rabbits (providing no-one gets bullied too much!).
 

Cosima

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I love this idea! I hope the rabbits bond and it works out, would love to hear your updates…I currently have all my rabbits separate (apart from a pair of does) and they take up way more space that way. Plus I feel that in the wild they live in a colony system and to replicate that would be beneficial to the rabbits (providing no-one gets bullied too much!).
Unfortunately I have a scabies infestation but once I have gotten rid of them all I will start bonding them and I will keep you guys updated.
 

Murphy

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Well all 3 took to being in the Temporary colony well. They've been bombing around, jumping, running through tunnels, meeting the dogs and cat, rabbits not phased by them. No runny poops from tiny strip of grass ive given them. Like 1 inch wide and 12 inches long. I actually laid carpet under the dog pound, as it would of been an over dose of grass otherwise and ruin my gradual intro of the good green stuff. I am reading i'll need to grow them another week to get same weight as caged rabbits, who cant run or exercise in cages so pile on the pounds better. But im ok with that. Im really enjoying sitting and watching rabbit tv with my guard dogs, so relaxing and entertaining. We've named them: Grey and white is 'sterling' the red and white is 'penny' and the mottled colour is 'shilling'. This week the ONLY meat i could buy for dogs, was veal. And im opposed to veal ethically, unless its home reared on its mum. This is a much better, secure food source. Eventually lol New relaxing hobby :)
 

EastNeukRabbits

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Well all 3 took to being in the Temporary colony well. They've been bombing around, jumping, running through tunnels, meeting the dogs and cat, rabbits not phased by them. No runny poops from tiny strip of grass ive given them. Like 1 inch wide and 12 inches long. I actually laid carpet under the dog pound, as it would of been an over dose of grass otherwise and ruin my gradual intro of the good green stuff. I am reading i'll need to grow them another week to get same weight as caged rabbits, who cant run or exercise in cages so pile on the pounds better. But im ok with that. Im really enjoying sitting and watching rabbit tv with my guard dogs, so relaxing and entertaining. We've named them: Grey and white is 'sterling' the red and white is 'penny' and the mottled colour is 'shilling'. This week the ONLY meat i could buy for dogs, was veal. And im opposed to veal ethically, unless its home reared on its mum. This is a much better, secure food source. Eventually lol New relaxing hobby :)
Thanks for the update 😊 I like the names, mine are named according to first letter of mother’s name. Therefore I currently have: Merry, Mishka and Margaux and Nana and Nietzsche (and a few as yet unnamed as I’m unsure whether they’ll be staying or not).
 
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