Getting meat rabbits and have questions

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by mountainman_bc, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    I should be getting rabbits tomorrow, basically as many as I want free. And wire cages. They are a meat breed, I don't know which. Tall strait ears. Some black, some albino. I'll need to sex, all are young adults, been bred in the past.

    They'll be kept in these long rabbit cages until at least spring. The compartments are about 4' x 1.5', and the cage itself is probably 12' long. Would 2 does and 1 buck be ok in each?
    Currently the cages are stacked, crap dropping through all cages to the ground. Should I do the same or is this 'unhygenic'?

    And also, they will be in a wooden chicken house. Immune to most drafts and out of the weather, but it certainly will hit the exact same temp of the outside, which gets down to around -28C (-20F). Anything special I should consider?
    I saw some breeding today (will give birth near Christmas!) will they survive the cold?

    I appreciate any help. This was a last minute thing, never even considered it until it was offerred!
     
  2. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Richmond, BC, Canada
    IMO, a rabbit needs a minimum of .75 sq. ft. per pound of bunny. Your average 10lb meat bunny would need 7.5 sq. ft of space, and this is a commercial recommendation. 1.5 x 4 is 6 sq. ft. In a pinch, that might be ok for a buck, and would certainly be fine for a junior, but for a doe with a litter and a nestbox? That would be borderline cruelty.

    As for stacking the cages, you may want to buy some of that plastic cardboard stuff from Home Depot and angle it under the cage so all the dropping roll on to the grass and not onto the guy below. Easier and cheaper then trays. Consider that a upstairs bunn might pee into the downstairs one's food.

    Since it will be so cold, try purchasing a nestbox heater, or something to keep the kittens warm with. Also, you could experiment with keeping the babies in your house and then bringing them out to the mother each morning to nurse. This supposedly makes really friendly babies too.

    Congrats, and have fun with your new beasts!
     

  3. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    LOL I have plenty of advise :D but I am no expert just learned a few things and have asked others the same questions ,,

    My kids say I should have been a teacher :eek: I lecture good enough LOL

    If you are getting a 'bunch' of rabbits + all the cages free ,, you will have the opportunity to go ahead and cull extras for the freezer ,, freeing up some space in the cages ,, you only 'need' 1 buck for every 8 - 10 does ,, you can choose the best couple bucks you like color / body type and cull the rest ,, same with the does you can't keep 'all' of them :D ,, if you are not really planning on raiseing till spring ,, go ahead and find out if you like to eat rabbit lol ,,,

    I'll hush now 10c's worth

    :nana:
     
  4. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    We got a bunch of NZW's from a neighbor last year who was getting out of the rabbit biz. He gave us all the cages and equipment to go with them, but it was an odd assortment of junky, old, small, etc. We muddled through the winter with them, long enough to make sure that we liked the breed and wanted to continue raising them, then we started upgrading the cages.

    We like to keep ours in 30"x36" cages, which is 7.5 sq ft. I do still have some in 30"x30" cages but I think those are too small for does with litters, so we will be replacing them. I will probably keep the cages for junior does and bucks, but for breeding does I definitely want the bigger ones.

    So, if they are already in small cages maybe you could continue to use the small cages until you are sure you like the rabbits, then upgrade. We also tried a type of nest box which hangs in front of the cage, freeing up space in the cage because the bunnies won't even come out of the box for several weeks. Maybe that would be something that would work for you, rather than taking up space inside the cage with nest boxes.
     
  5. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    Just wanted to say congrats on the great deal! Hope that you enjoy them, bye.
     
  6. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    I would put something under each cage so rabbits don't excrete on each other. Not a good situation. I've had no experience with stacking cages myself, but from what some commercial producers have said, it's harder to keep a barn full of stacking cages clean and well ventilated.

    Good luck, and congratulations on your rabbits!
    rabbitgal
     
  7. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the great info here. Common sense I just needed to hear. Just because they're free doesn't mean to take them all! I picked up a trio. No stacking, no mess.
    They'll get bigger cages in spring. They were a bit starved, but are doing well on pellets, hay and apples.
    May have more quesions soon but so far looks great.