Commercial Rabbitrys...........

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Frenchy, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Frenchy

    Frenchy Wrangler's Roost

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    I am in the process of building my barn .............. was just wondering if any of ya'll who are raising meat market rabbits would mind sharing some of the things you might use or do in your barn to make things run smoother an faster?????

    What do you consider your best feature asset etc. about your rabbitry???

    Thanks for any input ya'll I know I am trying to think of everything but you know ya always end up missing something hahahahahaha :cowboy:
     
  2. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    Cement floor and bigger isles.

    I regret only putting cement isles. As for everything else, I like it the way it is.

    Should I ever go commercial, I'd definately work bans to be 10' wide with 30"deet cages and 4' isles. I'd stay away from pole barns as the tend to be hotter, but I'm in the deep south.

    My ideal setup would be several barns with all the does in each barn on the same breeding schedule. would just make normal chores easier(feeding, working boxes, etc)
     

  3. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    When my new building is built (hopefully next spring) I will have two tiers of cages. Breeding does will be in the bottom, and the kits as they are weaned will go in the cage above them. My mentor breeds back at 10 days after kindling, weans the kits at 5 weeks which gives the doe about a week with no little ones, and ships her growers at 11 weeks. So, in theory, the two cages per doe should be sufficient. However, I do plan to have extra grower cages because I know that not all growers will make weight in 11 weeks, and if the doe has more than 7-8 kits the cages will be just too crowded. If you hang rows of cages back to back, make sure to leave at least 12" between the backs of the cages - cuts down on one row of rabbits 'wizzing' on the row behind them. Just a few thoughts - I'm sure there are many more.
     
  4. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I sure hope you have mighty long arms for reaching into the back corners for those fryers in the top row! I also had double-tiered rows, but we moved the weanlings into the bottom cages. We soon had to build another barn just for the fryers, as even with an open-ventilated barn with extra high roof, we still had trouble with odor due to density (e.g., too many rabbits) for the area.

    Retrieving rabbits from the top rows was a real pain and time consuming, as was cleaning the cages. We replaced all the unit cages with individual cages so we could pull them out as needed and replace with a clean cage. Cleaning the manure ramps under the top rows was also a pain... even on an incline, the stuff still sticks and needs to be manually removed. If I had it to do over, again, I'd definitely go with single-tiered rows!

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
     
  5. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    Good points, Pat. I had thought to put the does in the bottom as they would be easier for me (I'm 5' tall) to catch and take to the buck. I have less trouble catching the fryers, and they weigh less as well, to be lifting over my head. Also, if I do have trouble with the fryers, hubby is 6'2", with long arms!

    However, another thing that I am seeing develop that might change my mind quicker is the cage of growers produces much more manure than the doe and kits. So I'm scraping manure from the top board, it lands on the bottom board, and I'm scraping it from there down into the trough. If I had them the other way around, I'd only be scraping the bottom board most of the time. (We use a window squeezie to scrape).

    I have 'discovered' something that makes it much easier to take the does to the buck. I have a small rubbermaid container, approximately 10"x12" by about 12" deep (I'm guessing). This holds a doe comfortably, and fits in the door of the cages. So, I hold the box near the door, catch hold of the doe and pop her in. There is a minimum of wiggling on the way to the buck, and I just put the edge of the box at the buck's door, tip up the box and she hops out. Same going home. No toes caught in wire as she resists being transferred.
     
  6. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your hubby may have long arms, but... how deep are the cages? At 4'11" short, I was able to actually squeeze both shoulders through the cage door in order to reach the back of a 30" x 34" cage... and used a step stool for the top rows. I'd still rather have to retrieve only ONE rabbit from the top row than a bunch of skittish, scratching and biting fryers. Raising rabbits is labor intensive enough without adding more to it, eh? And, yes... I agree that you wouldn't have to do as much scraping of the manure ramps by keeping the fryers in the bottom row.

    Using the Rubbermaid container... you still have to catch the doe and either lift or drag her to the container, so I don't really see how that will solve the toes caught in the wire problem. I rarely had that problem because I always used BOTH hands in retrieving a rabbit... one on the base of the ears and nape of the neck, and the other to lift her up from underneath. I don't believe in "scruffing" a rabbit by the nape of the neck alone, or even "suitcasing" (e.g., picking up by the skin of the back) because it will cause bruising in those areas and shows up when the rabbit(s) is/are skinned. For show rabbits, it will also cause "flabby shoulders" and is severely faulted on the show tables.

    Just some stuff to think about, anyway. :)

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
     
  7. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

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    I have a question, do you think you can get a grant for raising farm animals commercially? I cant afford a really nice rabbitry and i knows theres grants for things similar.
     
  8. Frenchy

    Frenchy Wrangler's Roost

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    This is something I would like to know very much too........... if anyone knows of any way to get a grant or even a low intrest loan please don't be shy share share SHARE hahahahahahahahahahahaa :help:
     
  9. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    this is an oklahoma based foundation. if they can't work with you maybe they can send you in the right direction.


    http://www.kerrcenter.com/
     
  10. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

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  11. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Frenchy, the biggest problem I have with my new setup (barn was already there, so not built for rabbits) is it's a solid concrete floor and if you have leaking waterers, there's nowhere for the water to go. This is a real PITA. I know some people have only concrete aisles in the barn just for this reason, but if I were building especially for rabbits the number one thing I'd build for would be EASE OF CLEANOUT. You're doing this work by hand unless you are a really big operation and a place that is hard to clean gets old really fast. I like solid concrete, and would have it in any new barn, but I'd also slope down to a central gutter set up in whatever width the equipment I have would fit well. Also, the downhill slope would make it a hair easier to push the solid manure down towards the gutter with a scraper. I'm not talking huge degree of slope. Say you have a barn that is 14' wide and 48' long. I'd have an 8' area in the center of the barn with doors on each side for manure removal. This 8' x 14' area seems like a lot of wasted space, but I have a skidsteer and could scrape right straight through. You could make it narrower if you were doing it by hand and maybe pulling a trailer with an ATV or lawn tractor. This area would be the low spot in the barn (the gutter) and the 20' on each side would have three rows of cages with four foot aisles in between with that slight slope to the floor that would lead the water to the gutter area. The wide aisles would make hand scraping easy.

    For me, there is no way I'd have tiered cages, either. Now, if you have, say, 10 rabbits and you need to scrape manure pans, maybe you wouldn't mind. My time is too short and it's not something I like to do so my barn is single layer cages. Granted, the barn I have accomodates a good number of rabbits single layer, but if you are building, consider every bit of work you will do with the rabbits and think what it would be like on a bad day when you are in a screaming hurry to get things done to make an appointment or you have a really bad cold, etc.

    Absolutely do not fall into the trap of thinking "if I do this, I can fit more cages in". Don't crowd your work space or you'll regret it.

    Plan for ventilation, especially for summer heat in your area. This is not a minor consideration as rabbits are affected by the heat quite strongly. In your area of the country you might even need mist coolers to keep the rabbits comfortable. If I were building new, I'd also insulate the barn.

    Hope you come up with a good plan!

    Jennifer
     
  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jennifer, I was just reading your post about sloping the concrete and I got one of my crazy ideas. :rolleyes:

    I don't know how big your barn is or how many rabbits you have, but I am assuming they are housed in standard wire bottom cages.

    Would it be possible to "build" a slope, perhaps of free pallet wood, and cover it with either those sheets of thin metal that printers use once as plates and will sell you for next to nothing or with vinyl flooring from a recycling centre? Both of these would easily shed the water and manure and direct it into the centre aisle. In fact, if the slope were steep enough, they would be almost self-cleaning.

    Just a thought :shrug: and perhaps it is not feasible... but I thought I'd throw it out there for consideration.
     
  13. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    Good advice. Since Frenchy will be selling to Pel-Freez, he is not allowed
    to have double tiered cages and the barn must be insulated. A former
    person in charge of their growers realized many years ago that double
    tiered cages and the lack of insulation was a step in the direction
    of failure. Now before anyone jumps on me for that............ one must
    remember that P-F is located in the south. What doesn't work for us
    might be acceptable in another portion of the country.
     
  14. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the thoughts, Maggie. The problem with my barn is it's a flat floor, so there's no gutter at all. So there's no sense trying to direct anything. There is a natural slope towards one side of the barn for 3/4 of the length of it, and if I take some tin off the end of the barn I can "kind of, sort of" get the water out that way that's there now. One side of the barn is good, because it drains towards the other side. The other side (it's 16' wide) you walk in some water all the time. Every time I clean I hope that it will be the last time the waterers leak, and truly there are few new ones leaking now, but it seems like once a week something starts and I get a build up. Anyway, thanks for the thoughts. Anytime anyone can come up with an idea to save me work, I love it! :)

    Jennifer