Rabbit tractors

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by gartht, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. gartht

    gartht Guest

    Greetings,

    My DH and I are sustainable farmers who try to raise all our animals as naturally as possible. We like to feed biologically appropriate diets, and give our animals as much space as possible. We live in Texas and do not have to worry about snow.

    The problem is that in order to feed 2 large farm dogs a biologically appropriate diet is 2.5 pounds of raw meaty bones a day. We can buy chicken necks for $.22/lb, but then they are getting all the harmones and garbage of commercially raised chicken. We would like to raise rabbits.

    I have found a few paragraphs on the internet about raising rabbits on the ground, but not much. I have heard of rabbit tractors, like chicken tractors, but no pictures or further information.

    Does anyone have any information on biologically appropriate diets for rabbits and natural habbitats?

    Bright Blessings,
    Kim
     
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    Hi Kim,

    My business is the raw food market and I also have fed raw to my dogs for almost 2 years now. The health benifits are unbelievable! I have a Dane and a mixed breed and feed 6 lbs daily. The key to feeding raw is variety. Rabbit is an ideal meat source but I would never recomend just one protein.

    Read the archives there are people that are colony raising but personally I do not recomend it. Housing rabbits on the ground is asking for problems. They can pick up ticks which in turn can carry tularimia. Also cocci is a problem. I believe rabbits are best housed in individual cages hung off the ground. Ideally in a barn. This way you can control breedings as well as keeping the environment clean, control lighting and tempertures. Being you are in Texas winters wouldnt be a problem but summer heat can be. Heat above 80 degrees can render your bucks sterile. Housed in a barn you can keep fans going, etc.

    If you are farming think about other sources for raw also. I feed whole chickens, quail, goat, beef, raw eggs, duck, sheep and pork. All these are either raised on our farm or are bought from other farmers.
     

  3. AndreaR

    AndreaR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Tracy, when you feed raw meats to your animals, do you also sell raw to customers or just for your own farm use? How would one establish a market like this? Getting chickens, rabbits butchered is expensive out here in Alberta, Canada. Does raw meat need to be inspected if sold for animal consumption?
    Thanks, Andrea
     
  4. gartht

    gartht Guest

    I am sorry, I was not clear in my posting.

    I am not looking for a colony style of cages, rabbit are solitary and tend to fight when housed together. Also, a buck can double breed a doe and you can loose both litters as well as the doe. Not my idea of how to raise animals. <grin>

    I am aware of the lowered disease resistance in domestic rabbits, but the rabbitry where I am buying my young breeding stock from does already feed some green stuff and is not the spotless, rat free place that is recommended in books such as 'Raising Rabbits the Modern Way.' I plan on having a couple of African Geese in close quarters with the rabbits, to solve my snake and critter problem. I know it will take a few generations of selective breeding to get my rabbits off the pellets and on to a completely natural diet. We are also considering some guineas to help with the ticks, etc.

    I personally have an objection to using electricity to cool when the ground does a better job naturally, which is why I want my rabbits on the ground. I plan on going off grid someday and I am trying to learn to do things without electricity as much as possible.

    My dogs do not eat just one kind of protien, the eat emu, pork, lamb, duck, geese, and chicken. I would like to add rabbit and get rid of the 'store bought' chicken necks, since I don't slaughter enough animals to keep up with them.

    To me the real advantage of the rabbits will be the veggie loading. Over feed the rabbit on green stuff just before slaughter and then I don't have to do a veggie mix for the dogs. I do like to keep things simple. Also it is the only way I can get the Mighty Sir Kitty Kitty to eat his veggies.

    Bright Blessings,
    Kim