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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start by saying that I know I should know the answers to these questions already, but being pretty new to rabbits and jumping in before researching, here I am.

OK I've had rabbits for about a year now. I have them in a colony situation and I seem to have it finally figured out. I have 1 buck and 1 doe from my original 4 rabbits (lost the other two to accidents). They finally started reproducing last winter (they would have been 7-8 months old then). I have one doe from their first litter (she's about 7-8 months old now), 2 does I bought this spring (~5 months old now?), and 3 more does from the buck and doe from this spring (~4 months old?). I'm thinking I will keep all these does for breeding (I am going to try to replace the buck when I stop by the fair this summer). I am raising the rabbits as dog/cat food. If I get over run I can sell the excess as dog food or just butcher the excess does. I haven't had an opportunity to grow any babies out to typical butcher size yet (I've lost a few young ones to freezing/injuries and fed them).

When do you wean the babies (I am going to try a tractor system for growing out)? What age do you typically butcher? I've got a litter that is intended for dog food that is two weeks old now.

Do youngsters tunnel out under fences (the adults are on concrete, so no tunneling)? How much room per rabbit is needed for a grow out "tractor" that is moved every day or two?

Lastly is 7 does too many for 1 buck in a colony situation?

Thanks for your replies!
 

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We use a tractor with 1x4 inch wire on the bottom to stop tunneling.
You can wean at 6-8 weeks, but you'll have to figure that the does will get bred right back in a colony, so it might be sooner. You can butcher from 8 to 10 weeks old, or any time after that.
 

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I move my tractors every morning and again every night. They don't dig out as long as I don't forget to move them. If I leave them a full day without moving them, one might dig out, but usually they don't. If you handle them a lot and keep them friendly, they are easy to catch when they do dig out. I have one free roaming bunny that hops up on the porch when I'm setting out there. He'll come up and nudge me wanting me to pet him. I don't put him back in the colony because the males will fight. I keep one male in the colony, other adult males are in tractors or running free in the yard.
 

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how big is your inclosure for that many adults and babies? do you let the adults burrow or do you have alot of nest boxes?
what breeds are we talking about here?
if your replaceing the old buck anyway try and get two young bucks to grow togather in a large herd of does and that way they shouldnt fight as much i would think,

i would pull any litters out of the colony at about 5 weeks if they were a decent size, 6 if not, that way you wont be over crowded as bad,

then if they grow well i would butcher at 8 weeks but no later than 10 because you dont want to feed them much longer than that
 

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Discussion Starter #5
KSALguy said:
how big is your inclosure for that many adults and babies? do you let the adults burrow or do you have alot of nest boxes?
what breeds are we talking about here?
if your replaceing the old buck anyway try and get two young bucks to grow togather in a large herd of does and that way they shouldnt fight as much i would think,

i would pull any litters out of the colony at about 5 weeks if they were a decent size, 6 if not, that way you wont be over crowded as bad,

then if they grow well i would butcher at 8 weeks but no later than 10 because you dont want to feed them much longer than that
You know I don't know exactly how big it is. I may have to cut down on does after I have more having babies, but so far everyone seems to have plenty of room. I use dog kennel halves for my nest areas and they are on concrete, so no tunneling.

I have NZWs.
 

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Lost in the Wiregrass
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generally a 10x20 or a 20x20 is good for three does and a buck, and their litters for a time, but thats if they are allowed to burrow, i dont know what to tell you about haveing them on cement,

have you had any litters successfully on the cement? are they inside or out on a slab?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes 4 litters sucessfully. During the summer they are outside on a covered but open slab and during the winter they are inside the barn.
 

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we have a 2x6 foot tractor. It was the table I grow part of my spring plants on. it's made of 2x4's. we put wire on the bottom and 3 sides so we could raise fryers in it. The rest of the sides are filled in solid with wood.
We started with 7 rabbits in there, but it started to get crowded, so we sold 3 of them. I see the ones left are getting crowded again 2 weeks later, so I'll be butchering 2 of them pretty soon. The remaining 2 are supposed to possible breeding stock. 1 is a nzw and one is a mutt. possibly a English spot cross.
I have no Idea on the ages of the rabbits as we bought them from a feed store.
I don't think 2x6 foot is big enough to raise an entire litter to butcher size, is the point I am trying to make, especially in the heat of summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SquashNut said:
we have a 2x6 foot tractor. It was the table I grow part of my spring plants on. it's made of 2x4's. we put wire on the bottom and 3 sides so we could raise fryers in it. The rest of the sides are filled in solid with wood.
We started with 7 rabbits in there, but it started to get crowded, so we sold 3 of them. I see the ones left are getting crowded again 2 weeks later, so I'll be butchering 2 of them pretty soon. The remaining 2 are supposed to possible breeding stock. 1 is a nzw and one is a mutt. possibly a English spot cross.
I have no Idea on the ages of the rabbits as we bought them from a feed store.
I don't think 2x6 foot is big enough to raise an entire litter to butcher size, is the point I am trying to make, especially in the heat of summer.
Thank you for giving me a good starting point.
 
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