Beginner rabbit housing questions

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Curio Bill, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Curio Bill

    Curio Bill Active Member

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    I plan on getting a buck & 2 does to start. Would I be correct in assuming that each of my 3 rabbits would require a cage of at least 2'Hx2'Wx4'long?? (So I would need to have a total cage set-up of 2'Hx2'Wx12'long) & That each rabbit would need to be housed in a separate cage?? Also, after the does have their baby "fryers-to-be", would you need to keep the kits with the mother doe, or do you need a separate cage to allow the fryers to grow to their 8-10wk size?? Thanks, Bill.
     
  2. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    the buck doesnt need a cage as big as the ones for the does, but yes thats about right,
    you leave the kits with the doe untill 4-6 weeks then put them in their own grow out cage untill butchering them or moveing the replacement breeders into their own individual cage, so your looking at a few cages
     

  3. Curio Bill

    Curio Bill Active Member

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    Assuming I get 5 or 6 kits from each doe (hopefully a dozen soon-to-be-fryers), will I then need a separate "grow out" cage for each set of 5 or 6 kits??
     
  4. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    you can put them all in one big cage untill they start to reach sexual maturity, but by that time if they are fryers they should have been in the freezer by then, so assumeing that they reach butcher weight by at least 10 weeks if not 8 you can put the fryers of the same age give or take a few days or so in the same large grow out cage
     
  5. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I'm sure moving the kits at 4-6 weeks is a good idea if you're trying to maximize production, but I'm not doing it commercially, just for our own meat. I leave mine with the doe until butchering time, which is 10-12 weeks, at which point they weigh 4.5 to 6 pounds each. These are litters of 7 or 8 in a cage that's 7.5 square feet. Admittedly, they do look a bit cramped by 12 weeks, but it hasn't caused any problem so far.
     
  6. Curio Bill

    Curio Bill Active Member

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    So, would it be better to have the doe's cages of at least 2'Hx2'Wx6'long so the kits can stay with them instead of having a grow cage, and to then make the buck's bachelor cage of at least 2'Hx2'Wx 3' long??
     
  7. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bill, why not just build four cages, 4' x 2'? There are definite advantages to having an extra cage, even if you don't use it all the time. Sometimes does have very large litters (I had one who had a litter of 13, 12 of which survived.) and it is good to be able wean the largest ones at 4 weeks if they are eating well and leave only the runts with momma. It is easier on the doe too, I believe, to wean a large litter a few at a time.

    Another advantage of an extra cage is that you can use it to raise replacement does. Young does that have been raised together can be housed together until they are bred. Sooner or later you will want to save an especially promising doeling or two... Especially if your adult does turn out to be less-than-perfect mommas. An extra cage just gives you so much more flexibility. You don't have to have it from day one... but I really do recommend one.

    BTW, we buy large dog crates at yard sales and retrofit them with the heavy 1" x 1/2" floor wire. They work well for bucks and dry does. No use for bred does or youngsters, however. If you pick up one for your buck sometime, it would free his first cage as a grow out cage. We turn the crate on its side before adding the floor wire, to increase floor space and so that the door opens down and out of the way.
     
  9. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    A retrofitted dog crate? Now why didn't I think of that...costs me about $23 to build a cage, just in materials!

    Bill, you the minimum cage space is 3/4 to 1 square foot per pound of adult rabbit...and yes, that works out roughly to about 2' x 4 ' cages for breeding does and 2' x 3' for individual animals if you raise a large breed like New Zealands or Californians.

    My brood doe cages are 2 1/2 by 3 and I *usually* leave the litter with Mom until they're ready for slaughter (10 weeks or so). (It does get crowded if it's a big litter, so I sometimes wean earlier.)

    And yes, a spare cage is very handy! Those suckers have a way of multiplying! Think Tribbles a la Star Trek... :D
     
  10. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Unless you have giant litters, an 8 square foot cage should be fine for a doe and litter up to butcher weight, so a 2'x4' cage would be good. Someone suggested making four cages, and that's a good plan, but you can start with two 2'x4' doe cages, and a 2'X3' for the buck. Incidentally, most rabbit cages are 18 inches high, not two feet high. Incidentally, Bass Equipment sells "spreader bars" that span the floor from front to back and lend good support. I think the bars are $1.50 or so each, plus shipping. Quality Cage makes a very nice slant-front cage, which is my personal favorite since it's so easy to reach into all the corners. They may sell the spreader bars as well.