Share your colony ideas and photos?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Jeanette, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Jeanette

    Jeanette Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried raising rabbits on the ground? In an earlier thread Marshloft mentioned that he keeps his rabbits outdoors on the ground during the day but cages at night. Has anyone else tried anything like this?
    If so would you share your experiences - good or bad - and any photos you might have of your setup?

    I have a pen made from cattle panels; the sides have poultry wire about three feet up and there is a cover/roof on one end for shade. I had thought about laying some 2" x 4" welded wire on the ground, attaching it to the bottom edges of the cattle panels to prevent digging and then letting the buns run loose in there during the day. The poultry wire on the cattle panels would not stop a really determined critter, so leaving the rabbits loose at night would probably be a bad idea. BTW the pen is semi-permanent, not a tractor so there is not much in the way of grass. If I try this I would probably put coastal on top of the wire. It would give them an edible 'floor' and make a softer area for their feet.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated!

    Jeanette
     
  2. Willowynd

    Willowynd Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I found a few draw backs to colony raising. One of course was securing a large area (since all of mine eventually escaped). Another was difficulty with checking rabbits daily. Mine got the "I'm wild and free attitude" after about a week. May have been easier if they went to cages at night. Third, was owls and hawks. I did provide huts and straw bales for them to hide in, but still lost a couple. This one is probably not an issue in your area, but where you get heavy summer rains...that can be an issue with flies and such. Another issue I had was fighting. I doctored up a few rabbits from this. It was not a matter of not enough space or hiding places...there was plenty of both. I really wanted a colony setting to work, but in the end decided it was best for the rabbits to be kept in cages. Now I do take the new rabbits out on occassion to graze in the same area that was my colony pen, but I supervise and only take one at a time.
     

  3. nathan104

    nathan104 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was really interested in doing the grazing colony idea in part of my pasture. I looked into it quite a bit and from asking around and talking to a lot of people, it seems that at least in my area, it would not work if the top was open. We have a bunch of hawks and eagles that would snack on them quite often, not even taking into consideration the foxes and all the other critters. Now Im leaning more towards a large rabbit tractor which would be smaller than the colony area but Id move around the pasture with the tractor. Still in the planning stages though.
     
  4. chickenista

    chickenista Original recipe! Supporter

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    I have it going on a bit differently. I colony raise, but inside on a cement floor with bedding. Bedding is whatever is handy.. leaves, pine needles and good ol shavings.
    I have a 10x10 room off the garage with ratwire windows that I keep the buns in.
    2 does 2 bucks and 2 kits right now. Everyone gets along fine and the bucks take a real interest in the kits and the kits seem to like having them around too.
    No fighting, even after one buck spent a week on walkabout.
    The kits were born (I was gone and DH was here) in a bedding nest in a corner and are being raised in a corner fronted with 2 large old logs. That is working well. There is an entrance opening and other than that they are snug.
    They get plenty of exercise running around and hopping onto the shelves.
    They eat pellets and a large amount of weeds, leaves, bark and greens everyday.
    So far.. I am loving the setup. I have yet to encounter any problems at all.
    Healthy, happy buns with freedom that they can't break out of.
     
  5. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    right now my rabbits are in a colony (or out of the colony) with the chickens, their burrows are under the chicken coop, i have had several litters this way but they manage to find a way out some how, and then we had some dogs come through, i love haveing them in a colony but i cant really get things set up the way i need them to be where we are so i am going to move them in to cages with the under ground next box portion like was posted in a previous post,

    there are some on here who were able to set up an extreamly successful colony and there are several ways to do it, do a serch and you can pull them up,

    once i get to move to my own property i will start another colony and get it set up right so that i can manage things better,
     
  6. nancy237

    nancy237 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am trying to figure the same thing out right now.
    A pen and cages that they get fed in at night and stay
    in til morming.
    I have a open shed with my 2 cages in and I may put the pen
    around it. Even thinking thru a ramp from the cage to the ground so the cage
    can stay off the ground.
    If it doesn't work at least they will have a play yard when I am watching
    them .
     
  7. GoatNamedDunn

    GoatNamedDunn Well-Known Member

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    Is there such a thing as a rabbit tractor?? That would be my ideal if I had rabbits again.
     
  8. Ceres Hil

    Ceres Hil Well-Known Member

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    I went to Polyface in July. Daniel Salatin has created a rabbit tractor of wood and hardware cloth. The key for him is to use 1x1 slats on the floor to prevent digging out. I don't know how to upload and attach an image-- The drawback of my picture is that is doesn't show the floor very well.
     
  9. Wisconsin Ann

    Wisconsin Ann Happy Scrounger

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  10. nancy237

    nancy237 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I actually have one of those cages someone gave me. I almost sent it out with the trash because it is so flimsy and the tray falls out. I decided
    that with some reinforcement and new wire on the bottom it might
    be great for a cage within the colony.
     
  11. Marshloft

    Marshloft Well-Known Member

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    I'll try and get some pics taken this evening,,, been real busy this week with work and 2 young lads first week of school..
    Gary H.
     
  12. quietstar

    quietstar Well-Known Member

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    The killing hot Texas weather makes underground rabbit quarters very important. My goal is to provide a modest supply of healthy household meat in the most secure and natural way possible...as soon as I learn how. I'm counting your help...Glen
     
  13. Marshloft

    Marshloft Well-Known Member

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    Finally got some pics taken yesterday after a bike went thru the fence and knocked it down...
    I started with some "rabbit fence" from "Home depot",,, the 1" part only goes up halfway,, so I had to get two 50' rolls and double up to get the height I wanted... Just one strand and they can either crawl to the top or stick their heads thru and escape...
    Asd you can see,,, I have several hiding places for them to get out of the sun,,, and they go into their respective cages as soon as I feed and wateer...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And the green hide-out is what I trained my new weaned rabbits to go in before I added them to this pen..
    Also,,, the little slipper slide was the boy's idea for something else to climb on,, they love it and spend quite abit of time hanging out on and under it..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    And one more I think..
    [​IMG]

    Gary H.
     
  14. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Mine aren't breeding animals, they're pets, but I keep them in a shed that has wire sides except for the back part, that has a solidly enclosed section. It has a concrete floor. It's 8 x 12, which gives them lots of space and keeps them 100% safe from predators. It has a grassy pen around it that I let them out into to graze.

    I can take some pictures if you'd like.
     
  15. gerald77

    gerald77 Well-Known Member

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    well marshloft i think i'm a little jealous. all that green! oh well as soon as i can motivate the hubby to help me the rabbits are getting their own pen. here are some of my pics. we lined the inside and out with large rocks and haven't had anyone get out since. if i can't get a whole new pen for them then we are adding on an area for just the rabbits. i recently put a plastic dog house that is two parts in the pen and the rabbits get inside them and the goats get on top of them. the rabbits that aren't big enough to go to the pen yet live in cages. they have to be too fat to slip through the fence. of course when it cools off i'll finish putting the chicken wire up and then it won't matter. as of right now the mama buns go to cages to have the babies. there is also a very large shelter at one end of the pen that they can use but they really like the dog house halves. with the goats sleeping at night and the rabbits playing at night they dont have to share the shelter much. plus the shelter is made of wood pallets and the rabbits fit in the walls, i guess you'd call them, so they are out of the way in there. kind of like fur lined walls.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeanette

    Jeanette Well-Known Member

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    Gary and Kristin, Thanks for all of the pictures! All of your rabbits look very content.
    If the rain lets up here for few days I am going to beef up my pen a little and see how a couple of the buns do with some room to run. Right now I have a grown doe, her young daughter, one buck and two young bucks so I will have to let them out in shifts.
    I like the idea that Kristin mentioned about putting large rocks at the bottom of the fence; I have plenty of rocks of every shape and size. I will probably still put wire on the ground just because I have it and I figure it is better to be safe than sorry.
    I currently have a few bantams in the pen that I am going to use. It will be interesting to see how they deal with each other. It is a good thing I got some new books this weekend - looks like I will spending some time outdoors watching the dynamics of "The Pen". When I get it pretty much like I want it I will endeavor to post some photos.

    Jeanette
     
  17. nancy237

    nancy237 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    pictures are great..I learn so much from seeing set ups.
     
  18. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Turtlehead has a wonderful website with pictures and tons of info on her colony. She's had her share of troubleshooting since starting the colony, which makes her detailed descriptions and blog entries particularly valuable to read. Lots of pictures too!

    http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/labels/rabbits.html

    (And there's another member who hasn't been around for a while. Turtle, we're talking about you. Are your ears burning?)
     
  19. gerald77

    gerald77 Well-Known Member

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    we had a huge digout, though i think my dogs helped them, and i had rabbits running all over the place. it was the only digout i had but i told my hubby he could either bury chicken wire or figure something else out. he didn't want to dig because for every shovel full of dirt you get you pull out three large rocks first. so he's been saving rocks for something one day and i looked out and he had the kids inside the pen putting rocks down while he put them outside. i didn't think it would work but it did. i would love to bury wire but it would take forever with all the rocks. but who knows, a book about building with stones came for him so i think he's been thinking and the only way to get those stones is to dig. there are definitely trials and errors involved in the colony. i am always thinking about it and how i can improve or prevent things. the nice thing about the chickens in there (only the young ones stay in there all the time till they are big enought to free range, the big ones just like to go in there for a snack sometimes) is that they keep everything stirred up and eat bugs. so even after a bad rain they are in there working and stirring and the dry out time is quicker than before i had them in there. okay i'm done promoting colony.
     
  20. HisWorker

    HisWorker Member

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    I like the idea and all the pics.
    Might give it a try someday, just worried about stray dog's and my cat's.