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Hi, No i don't have any checkered giants. It's a mix of new zealands, Californians, one Champagne D'argent cross and pet lop eared rabbits in the picture. Unfortunately, both of the lop rabbits came down sick and died not too long ago. :(

A couple of days ago we had another litter born underground. I can't wait till they come up to see how many there are. :)

Liz in NH
 

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this thread is very interesting. are there breeds of rabbits more suited to colony raisning than others?are there any breeds that are routinely colony raised?
i have wanted a system liek this when i was raising rabbits- but i doubted it was possible. i have had pet type small and also experiece with a single meat rabbit- who was huge. i doubt this animal would have been able to dig a decent burrow.also- the babies would get occasional runny bum, as the cage was wire stapled to a pallet. tho the wood was all painted very heavily and nothing could 'stick' to it permanently, i found i was weekly hosing it off as there was so much manure.
except for the hosing it was very satisfactory-but in a colony the babies would be in a uncleanable burrow...
i took the meat rabbit to be out of the hutch (3' by 2.5') about once a week to be on the lawn, but the only rabbits i had out full time on ground were some crossed males that i got to keep around as 'yard bunnies'. these animals wwer average sized not near the nz meat rabbit.
how do you set up that fence so they dont dig huge potholes in the corners like poultry?
 

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This thread is wonderful! I'm about to build my new rabbit pen and was wondering how big it should be? Is, say, 20x20 feet big enough for 4 does and a buck plus offspring till weaning age?

Also, what about the mesh size on the fence. Is 2x4 too big? What about using a couple feet high chicken wire or 1x2 mesh near the bottom?

Hope someone's still around to answer :)

Dana
 

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check some of the previosu posts. i believe the owner put thier cull and older rabbits in the pen- the losses to disease were tremendous. rabbits are no longer used to living on the ground.you will need to have soem in cages to supply the pen with new breeders until resistance builds up.
thereis a pic of the pen- i cant tell dimesions, but isnt that more than 20'??
hey- colony raising was done years ago- how long does the ground last befoer you have to move the fence to fresh soil? it seems from all that i could gather(next to nothing) that the colony 'runs out' after a while. there was one in alaska made of chain link fence, perhasp the cold climate keeps disease at bay???
as long as im here at this location, i would like to set one up- if i can get enough forage(problem out here). i think it would be a great use of the terrain, and better than standing cages as rabbits wouldnt be spooked into breaking thier backs or having fox break in. or hunting dogs rip the bottoms of the cages out again.
any suggestions as to breeds we should try?
 

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Hi,
My pen size is currently 20x20, with five adults in it plus two litters of kits four weeks apart in age. Right now I consider it too small. I will be butchering the stock back to 2 does and one caged buck.( to controll Breeding times) The current setup has an underground burrow approximately 1/3 the size of the pen area. as far as forage growing on the ground i have a 2x4 raised grid that i will be moving around inside the pen to allow the grass/clover to regrow under it. I also supply plenty of hay and pellets. The fencing I use is 2x3 inch welded wire four feet tall. the babies are able to get out through the wire until they are about 6 weeks old. I am going too be running a 2 foot tall section of chicken hex wire around the bottom. I hope this answers some more of your questions.
liz
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
dave in upstate said:
How are the rabbit pens going? Still interested, just not able to make a move yet, but real interested in the long-term use.

Thanks

Dave
All is well with the rabbits. Going on 3 years now! I have so many that we give them away at an alarming rate. The freezer's full too. Thank goodness my kids all have dogs and we have friends that take them too. It's just common sense. Overcrowding ANY animal results in disease. I know they are inbreeding at this point but so far no two headed bunnies! :D
 

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Found this article on backyard food production for developing countries. Alot of good info that we homesteaders could use, I think. Plus a description and diagram of a few colony rabbit raising techniques. Colony raising is often used in developing countries like Africa because they can't keep cool enough in cages.

http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/subjects/documents/ibys/7.htm

(pages 5 and 6 are also good)

Shawn
 

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My new home is in a county where you can only have chickens if you have 5 acres. I'll have 0.25 (hey, it's a start!), so I ws thinking of getting some meat rabbits but I don't want to raise them on wire in cages.

So I will try some of these ideas - thanks!

Beaux
 

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ellebeaux said:
My new home is in a county where you can only have chickens if you have 5 acres. I'll have 0.25 (hey, it's a start!), so I ws thinking of getting some meat rabbits but I don't want to raise them on wire in cages.

So I will try some of these ideas - thanks!

Beaux
You can only have chickens with 5 acres? Fussy, aren't they? If you really care that much, you might want to check how many rabbits you are allowed. Here, I can only have 2 (not in their wildest dreams am I gonna follow that!) per household.

Good Luck!
 

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Hi, Great thread! Long going too.

I want to eat healthier and cripes you can't afford it when you go to the store. I'd love to raise my own chickens, but not a chicken lover and hubby says no way, but it appears from some reading I've done, that domestic rabbit is quite good and extremely healthy. Never raised our own meat before, but we've got a start - a 5 m.o. fainting goat wether named Sausage! Hopefully by fall he'll be processed. I've raised smaller breeds of show rabbits for many years, and this is a neat idea.

Okay to prove how dumb we are about rabbits for food, which of the large breeds are the best? A friend recommends french lop crosses. And how old do the little buggers have to be for cull time? Also, for those of you who feed your dogs are you giving them the "extras" raw, or freezing and giving raw later or cooking or what? We normally get a deer in fall and take the best part of meat for sausage and the rest is cubed for winter dog stew, but we've always cooked it. Just curious with the bones and such. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
dbarjminis said:
Okay to prove how dumb we are about rabbits for food, which of the large breeds are the best? A friend recommends french lop crosses. And how old do the little buggers have to be for cull time? Also, for those of you who feed your dogs are you giving them the "extras" raw, or freezing and giving raw later or cooking or what? We normally get a deer in fall and take the best part of meat for sausage and the rest is cubed for winter dog stew, but we've always cooked it. Just curious with the bones and such. Thanks!

First off, you're NOT dumb for asking questions! We all started knowing nothing about raising rabbits and asked to learn. That's what this forum is all about.

I've always heard Californians and New Zealands were best but that may be for people selling to processing plants. We have those and have Harlequins and Rex, too.

As far as feeding the dogs, "extras" are just fine but raw is the best way to feed them. Cooked bones can become brittle. We always feed our dogs raw meat and bones from deer too. They LOVE the head of the bunnies. Their digestive system is unlike ours. When dogs eat the raw meat and bones, their feces is white and powdery without the "poop" smell, LOL. Keeps their teeth unbelievably clean, too.

Best of luck!
 
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