Greenhouse update, housing the rabbits

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Tracy, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    Well, most told me it could not be done. Keeping rabbits in a green house that is. I was told it would be to hot in the summer and to hard to heat in the winter.
    This spring we equipped the green house with roll up sides and put on a good shades tarp. Also had a commercial fan to help with air circulation.

    I also eliminated all but a few hanging cages and put in pens, 4 does and 1 buck per pen. At first we did not do anything to the bottom which turned out to be a mistake as the rabbits started burrowing and digging out. A good solution I found was to line the bottom of the pens with peg board. There was a bunch of damaged peg board at home depot so I got it at 1/2 price. This is just compressed wood with holes so it works for drainage and if it falls apart eventually, it will get composted. I then put a layer of shaving in and lots of hay. I put numerous nest boxes in each pen as well as some large PVC pipe that the rabbits like to hide in. All the rabbits seemed much happier being able to hop around and there really has not been any fighting between the colonies. Liters are being born and raised successfully by the does in this group setting.
    Now the real question was will this work in winter? I am very happy to say yes. The snow will melt of the top and almost make an igloo type effect at the bottom of the greenhouse and this has insulated it well. My big concern was keeping the automatic watering system running with out the lines freezing. At night we were running a small kerosene heater and up till this week when temps have been in the 20's this has worked well. Last few nights it has got into the single digits with lower wind chill temps. Last night was the first time the lines froze. Luckily they did not burst. We went and bought another heater but this one is a propane heater that will run on 100 lb tanks of propane. In a matter of 1/2 hour the temps were up to 50 some degrees and my lines have thawed. While it is so cold we will run both the kerosene and propane at night when there is the most heat loss but during the day the heat is not necessary if it is sunny.
    I am still getting nice big litters and I would honestly never go back to cage raising. Also the maintenance is much less. I have found if you do a heavy layer bedding system, keep adding more hay the rabbits stay pretty clean. Every 2 months the rabbits are removed from their pens, the pens are totally stripped and redone with new shavings and hay.
    The few cages I still have hanging I use for grow out/holding pens till butchering. Underneath the cages I have started growing cat nip. I also have tons of worms growing under the hanging cages as well. I decided on cat nip as I will harvest this and dry it and sell as a cat food treat. I might incorporate other things growing as well and supplement this for the rabbits. Any one know if you can feed rabbits cat nip?
    This green house is 100X12 and I have 10 pens set up and then 20 cages. So right now I have my 40 breeding does, 10 bucks and then my litters. If this continues to go as well as it has I will be looking for another greenhouse come spring. EBay here I come! [EBay is where I got the original greenhouse and what a deal I got] I might even think about trying to raise some quail or something in a similar set up. Think outside the box folks. This can be done.
     
  2. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    How big are the pens? What material did you use for the sides of the pens? How high are they?
     

  3. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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  4. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, rabbits can eat catnip. Mine loved it so much they killed the plant. Hubby calls feeding them herbs "pre-seasoning the rabbit".
     
  5. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Hey, if the rabbits eat catnip, does that mean they're going to start rolling around on the ground and purring? :)

    I hung some cages in a makeshift greenhouse the first year--got a bit too warm for them, I'm afraid, but glad to hear that it's working for you!
     
  6. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My husband and I have rabbits that are in a hog confinement building. It has 8 foot x 36 foot bays, and 12 foot x 36 bays. We have 4 of these bays taken up with hanging cages, but are very interested in this idea of colony care for our meat rabbits. How do you think it would work for us? We have a cement floor on these bays, and they are covered with a metal roof. I may have to take a picture to put on photobucket of this to explain, but anyway, we could block it all off, but just wondering how big each pen would have to be for these, in this sort of building?
     
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    My Pens are 10 feet by 3 feet and the fencing is 3 foot high. We has the fencing at 2 feet in the fron to get easier acess in to the pens but the rabbit would hop out so we had to raise the fencing higher.
    I keep nest boxes in all the pens as well as some plastic buckets laying on the side filled with hay. Works good for nesting boxes.
    We are cleaning pens next week and I will get pictures posted then.
     
  8. hmcgov

    hmcgov Member

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    I like the sound of it too!! Looking forward to those pics!

    H
     
  9. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey Tracy, any pictures yet? I'm really anxious to see this as I told my husband about it and he really is interested in doing this with our 90 rabbits. It would really be a space saver and an easier way to water and feed, IF it is set like we are thinking, but we want to see the pictures first.
     
  10. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    Pictures are posted. It is a new thread Green house/colonies
     
  11. minister man

    minister man Well-Known Member

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