Raising rabbits without wire cages

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by steve-in-kville, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    I've raised rabbits in cages before with pans or a pit for the droppings. I recently read of another small rabbitry that raises them on the floor with wood shavings, divided into small sections. Each doe has a "room" to herself. The sections are larger than the recommended sizes since the rabbit uses one corner as the "potty." The owner cleans up the corner each week, puts down new shavings and has had no problems this way.

    I've heard of colony raising, but this seems to be along the same thought except the rabbits are separated.

    Any thoughts on this method of rabbits raising?

    Steve

    BTW- great website... I "lurked" for a few weeks before joining.
     
  2. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Well, rabbits don't JUST use one corner, they manure all over the place, the bucks in particular. You could experiment with a deep-litter method.

    With the cage method of rabbit raising, you can get two rabbits (or more) in the same amount of floor space that one rabbit can be raised in this way, because you can stack the cages.

    Also, consider that you cannot use cedar shavings for health reasons, and pine shavings are questionable. What kind of wood do you plan to use for bedding?

    If you decide to go this route, let us know how it goes. I'm sure the bunnies would appreciate the extra space and the oppurtunity to dig a little in the shavings.
     

  3. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    Yes, though rabbits have one primary spots to use the "potty", they will go in other spots if they do not feel like holding it until they get there, or will just go not realizing they even have to.

    This could work, depending on the rabbit. If the rabbit almost always uses it, it sounds like a good idea.
     
  4. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    Thanks for the replies. I will be using oak and cherry and some maple shavings. I work in a woodshop that makes furniture so I have an endless supply of woodshavings.

    steve
     
  5. woolyfluff

    woolyfluff Well-Known Member

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    This only just a suggestion But we believe that OAK can be poisonto rabbits and you may not want to use Cherry and did have white rabbits You will have Red one now
     
  6. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about Oak ,, I'd have to look it up ,, but Cherry is a No No !! :mad:

    I would think maple and aspen would be fine ,, I know they sell aspen shavings ,, and I know maple wood is safe to give rabbits ,, untreated is the main key ,,,

    but cherry (is poisionous) & cedar (will cause breathing problems) are not safe shavings at all :mad:

    I worked in a furniture factory ,, and if these shavings are from treated wood you should not use them for bedding because the rabbits will nibble on them ,, if they do the chemicals will affect the animals ,, the does milk ,, and you would be advised to not eat fryer meat of any fryers have been raised where they could eat on the treated shavings ,,,

    think about you and the family eating meat tainted with the chemicals in that wood ,,

    If you have ever :flame: read the stuff on safety / about the chemicals in furniture wood ,, I did ,, (I got roped into being the 'Safety" person in our dept.) ,, and I didn't mind wearing that blasted :grump: face mask ,, when having to use the drill press or the saw after that ,,

    I'm pretty sure you can't / shouldn't even use treated shavings for / in a worm bed because you wouldn't want to use castings or compost from treated wood shavings in your vegetable garden ,, or at least I wouldn't want to put it in mine ,,

    now I'm not trying to be an organtic nut ,, cause I'm sure going to buy something next spring to kill the beetles on my fruit trees ,, :rolleyes:


    Just my personal 3 c's worth :p
     
  7. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    Really?? I didn't know that oak was hazardous. I used many bags of oak shavings with guinea pigs with no ill results.

    Thanks for the info.

    steve
     
  8. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    None of our wood is treated. Its just kiln dried. Just regular 'ol wood shavings. Many of my co-workers used cherry shavings for their rabbits... never heard of them having problems, though.

    steve
     
  9. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    We bought some rabbits yesterday from a girl who has been raising them for several years. She has 2 bucks together in one cage with no problems, and she had 4 does together on the floor of an 8'x8' shed. She had a bunch of hay strewn about on the floor, not sure what was under the hay. She said she has had not problems raising her rabbits this way.
     
  10. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    I think they call that "colony" raising. IIRC- it was popular with the English. I've done some reading on the subject... if it works for guinea pigs, why not rabbits?

    steve
     
  11. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Steve ,, I asked on Meatrabbits for sites for poisionus plants for rabbits ,, I think two of them have the same sources for information ,, but both say cherry is poisionus and oak also ,,

    so I don't know how safe the shavings would be ,, how much could a rabbit nibble on the shavings before becoming sick or it affecting them ??

    could or would it affect the birthing rates ??


    http://www.islandgems.net/poisonplants.html
    http://www.allearssac.org/poison.html
    http://www.spacerad.com/rabbit/plant.html

    Tammy
     
  12. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    I raise my rabbits in groups. I have 3 males in a pen that is 8 by 11. They get along fine except for the mounting thing. Oh well there isn't much we can do about it.

    They are raised on Straw and hay. No problems ever with it except if they are raised in Cages Pee will seem to stay at the bottom of the pan, Straw doesn't soak it up very well. Many people put shavings under the straw for this reason. I only ever use Pine Shavings when I do for the only reason that they are cheap and easy to get.

    ( If anyone gets there shavings at petstores, you are paying double for them, try a feed store, or Livestock Supply Store if you don't already they are half as much) Also Mills will give them away. We are getting a large load for the horses soon for nothing. Anything to Save money Right!!

    Melissa
     
  13. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    Ive been told oak harbores E-Coli
     
  14. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    I worked with a guy who raised some high-end pedigreed fur rabbits. He collected only the cherry shavings from under our lathes and profile shapers. He raised his rabbits on the floor in a large enclosure with shavings on the floor. He claimed that his bunnies turned their noses up at the oak shavings... but never had any problems with the cherry or maple shavings.

    I'm not saying that this stuff can't be harmful... but it would be the first I've heard that hardwood shaving could cause problems.

    Keep the replies coming... they are very much appreciated!

    steve
     
  15. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Steve, your idea sounds interesting. How high would the sides of the pens be, and what would they be made of? I made the mistake of using "rabbit wire" from the garden center to separate my 6' long coops into two pens, and the rabbits scale the close together wire at the bottom and squeeze through the larger 4 x 4" areas at the top. I get the impression they do it for fun and exercise so have left it (these are young rabbits, not breeders). Kind of fun watching them go up, through, and over, and once they learn how to do it they don't even break stride going through. One thing I like about your idea is that it would be very easy to see and inspect the rabbits all the time.

    Jennifer
     
  16. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    I worked at one furniture company where we used red oak ,, we were told all red oak wood has a 'fungus' ,, I don't remember the details ,,

    but we were all told if anyone got any wood splinter in their hands ,, to imediately be sure it was got out ASAP and to always clean and disinfect the site and cover w bandage ,,

    we were ALL told about a worker ,, got a splinter in his thumb ,, got infected ,, infection went down into the bone mm lost two fingers n some muscles in the hand ,,,

    now this may have been all company bullcrap ,,, but they sure made sure to stress this a lot for some reason ,, and I remember more than one splinter wound that got infected even with me being sure to keep it clean ,, :shrug:


    :sing:

    I think it would be neat to be able to have rabbits in a building / pen area in a safe colony pen situation (s) and be able to get free shavings ,, I sure was tickled to get 6 free :goodjob: bales of straw from a store taking down their Halloween decorations ,, they were going to throw in dumpster :(

    rabbits sure make great compost for a garden anyhow and I'm sure untreated shavings and poo would rot quicker in the compost bin than poo & straw ,,
     
  17. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    There's also the pastured-rabbit system...we're experiementing with that right now. When we wean the fryers, we put them into a portable floorless pen and move the pen to fresh grass every day. I was surprised with how much grass they eat, and they certainly have much more room than they would in a typical fryer cage. The downside is that they don't grow as fast, and they can dig out if we don't move the pen often enough or if the edges of the pen aren't flush with the ground.

    We also put a "shelf" in the pen where the feed and water is located. It also gives them a sheltered place to get out of the weather and off the ground when it rains.
     
  18. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    That sounds like an urban legend if you ask me... I've had many an oak splinters, most of them get infected before they can be removed. Not saying the above situation didn't happen, but I wonder if something other than the oak splinter caused the infection.

    steve
     
  19. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    How I would do it (my own variation of the idea) is use plywood sides about 20" to 24" high. Each pen would be approx. 4'x4' with a hinged wood frame/wire lid in top with a hook-type latch to keep it closed. Without looking at the books and figuring what square footage each doe needs, I would figure 2 does per pen, sorta embracing the "colony" mentality.

    The above idea of applying a thick layer of shavings under a layer of straw sounds like a better idea... although I would need to be conscious of the composting aspect, too.

    This may sound like a waste of floor space over a stacked-cage system, but I had used a stacked wooden floor cage to raise guinea pigs and I am considering the same concept for rabbits... many details I haven't worked through yet!!

    steve
     
  20. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Steve. I don't think I'd worry too much about wasted floor space if you are going to have two does in each pen. That's being quite efficient the way it is.

    Jennifer