It' a failure

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by CurtisWilliams, May 1, 2005.

  1. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

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    A couple or three months afo I started a thread about putting my rabbits in a colony pen. Today, I'm declaring my experiment over and a total utter failure. Not only do I not have any kit, 3 rabbits ( 1/2 my herd) have flown the coop. A few days ago it was 2 of my Flemish Giants, today it's my californian. I have no idea how thay can get out. They are either climbing 6 feet of fence, squeezing through the 1" chicken wire I have reinforcing it, or waving a magic wand and teleporting to the other side. There is some digging in the pen, but no tunnels under the fence. The fence is buried about 10", so squeezing under is an impossibility. I hate to put them in cages after giving them a taste of freedom, but this is supposed to be a meat producing program and I'm further behind now than I was 6 months ago. I still think the colony system has a lot of merits, but only if done inside a secure building.
     
  2. Lilandra

    Lilandra talk little, listen much

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    Have you tried live traps with your rabbits favorite treats?
    They might just be one step ahead of you in the barn and you're not seeing them.

    I hope they turn up for you somewhere, they are usually too big for small preditors.

    hang in there...
     

  3. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes they are too crafty to be caught by traps. I stopped MapleGold from going into the bushes by putting sprinklers all over the place. She wouldn't go back through the water. Then I soaked her with a hose. She just sat down and waited for the worst.

    Am sorry it isn't working, and yes, rabbits can climb 6 feet. Put an over hang of about 1 foot and they won't be able to.
     
  4. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

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    We (my housemate & I) just caught the Californian. It was munching away in a overgrown part of the yard, a whopping 25 feet from the pen. We slowly herded it and cornered it in an old pick-up shell. It's back in the pen for now, but I think I'm still going back to the individual cages. It's more work, but it's a lot more secure.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I forsee a yard full of bunnies in your future. :p
     
  6. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    Any chance it can be a hawk or an eagle?
    Here they even tell you to watch your little tiny
    type dogs. We have many bald eagles here.

    Maybe a top on this colony pen you have?

    Hope you find your rabbits.
    Oops did not see the post where you
    found the Cal.
    Wow, are you going to re name him or her
    Hudinni? (sp)
    You know we're going to have the
    re name you rabbitchaser :D
     
  7. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Maybe keep the cages in the pen and then just let them out every once in a while?
     
  8. Dian

    Dian Well-Known Member

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    Tried to post this before, but I don't know where it went-if this is a repeat sorry. I don't understand about your pen bottom, you said fence went down10". Is the bottom completely covered or just fence 10" in the ground? If the bottom is not covered-rabbits can dig way deeper then 10" and tunnel out several feet or even yards. So check out further from the pen or the missing rabbits may be hidden in deep tunnels and not missing at all. Good Luck!
    Dian
     
  9. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

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    "If the bottom is not covered-rabbits can dig way deeper then 10" and tunnel out several feet or even yards. So check out further from the pen or the missing rabbits may be hidden in deep tunnels and not missing at all."

    There are no tunnels under the fence. I've checked, checked again and re-checked and re-checked again. The missing rabbits aren't hiding in tunnels. I've checked everything with a fine tooth comb. And, as stated in my original post, one of my rabbits was found dead in the front yard. The rabbits didn't go under, it's impossible for them to go through, that leaves only one means of escape. Over the top.
     
  10. gleepish

    gleepish Well-Known Member

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    I'd pull out a chair and just sit and watch--maybe place something really yummy outside the fence and wait to see how they are getting out... At least then you will know and be able to figure out if it can be fixed or not!

    Good luck!
     
  11. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    I'm writing a post for my blog on my latest rabbit adventures complete with pics and at least an attempt at humor, I'll post the link on here when I do. In the meantime though here is what we experienced' a small amount of what you are seeing.

    For the last 4 months we've had one of "free range" rabbit on our property. The kids accidentally let him out of cage and we never could quite manage to get him (we hadn't managed to get a landing net yet) so, he just roamed about the place fending for himself. We saw him around the place on a daily basis as he would come and "talk" to the other rabbits in their cages. Well, we just switched most of the rabbits to a colony and fortuitously acquired a landing net at a nearby garage sale and managed to snag the free rabbit during the great migration.

    We deposited the rabbits (5 of them) into a 30' x 30' pen. The pen is made of ... um (here is where I reveal I must not be a TRUE homesteader) I don't know what kind of fencing. It's got probably 1.5" x 3" rectangular holes (holes are in portrait orientation) and the fencing is (in most places) attached to a bottom board that is at least partially buried, but nothing extends more than a few inches below grade. The pen area is however surrounded by a lot of trees and ivy, the soil is fairly "root rich". We decided that since the last escapee hung about that we weren't risking too much if there was an escape and we could then fix the problems areas instead of making fort Knox out of the place from the beginning.

    Well, the rabbit, formerly known as "the white one" who had been living on his own for months made short work of getting out. He was spotted loose the next morning. I went to the cage and studied things for a while and fixed a few possible trouble spots in the cage but couldn't find any sure signs. I managed to catch the free rabbit (who from now on will be called "Papillon") and return him to the pen again. Well, next morning he was out again. This time lil Papillon was seen planning with some of the other prisoners and apparently planning to bring all his brothers and sisters to freedom as well. Not 1 hour later after first seeing him at the pen, another rabbit was seen in the yard with Papillon. Well, now I had to act.

    Again I scoured the pen looking for problems. They had been digging all over the pen but because of the way we laid it out and the structures we put into the pen for them to crawl in and under their digging was restricted to the middle of the pen. I went staple gun mad and made sure every inch of fencing was firmly affixed to the supporting boards. I then caught the two escapees and brought them back to the pen.

    I stayed working in the pen when I finally got everyone back where they belong and watched Papillon while I was working. He seemed to be favoring the gate area of the pen so I started pressing him a bit. I got closer and closer making him nervous and flighty. I moved in a bit closer and he tried to brake for it ... He went for the fencing on the gate, which is when I noticed that the fencing on the gate was had the fencing oriented sideways, in a landscape format and for some reason the change in angle was enough for him to get his head in there....only the fact that I got closer and he was stuck did he pull back out and run away under his house. The exact same fencing that the whole pen is made out of is on the gate. The only difference is that the rectangles run horizontal instead of vertical and it's enough for them to exploit.

    I quickly augmented the fencing on the gate and I've not had a breakout since. Just shows to go ya that no matter how many times you look at the problem your not going to solve it. It takes a rabbit to show you how to break out of a rabbit cage. Just ask Papillon.

    J

    p.s. we already had plans to augment all the lower fencing since little ones will be on the way shortly.