starting a meat rabbit colony

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by JRoyalimage, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. JRoyalimage

    JRoyalimage New Member

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    I am really interested in starting a rabbit colony. I've kept rabbits in the past but having them all in separate cages was just overwhelming and I stopped. The colony idea seems a lot better for me and the rabbits. But I have a few questions/concerns.
    When looking for pen ideas, I come across many pens that don't have any sort of roof or covering. Is this common in colony setups? i would imagine rabbits would be able to escape into their little shelters for aerial predators but raccoons getting in would seem to be a bigger problem. How do you predator proof your pen?
    Also, do you allow pregnant does to kindle in the colony or do you remove/separate them?
     
  2. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you done a lot of research on a Colony? Problems? Most I have read about do allow the Does to kindle in the Colony. Rabbits in the wild do not have a top over them, but they have many places to hide and hills to kindle in. You can always add a wire top and things the rabbits could get under. If you do this---for sure trench deep and add heavy wire to stop them from digging out.

    Now, why was the cages overwhelming?? I been raising rabbits in cages for many years and even before I built the meals on wheels trailer it was not bad at all. Now its a piece of cake. Plus it gives Me control of the breeding, etc. For sure less problems than dealing with a colony in "MY" opinion.
     

  3. a7736100

    a7736100 Well-Known Member

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    Predators got in my 6'X3' pen and ate all 3 rabbits because I didn't completely enclosed the top.
     
  4. JRoyalimage

    JRoyalimage New Member

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    For me, having to figure out who to breed and when certain ones would kindle was just too much. Especially since I'm just doing it for my own consumption and maybe a few other people. So I didn't feel the need to be so particular about breeding and keeping everyone separate. I just think that a colony would be easier for me and I could just let them do what they know and pick out the ones to process.
     
  5. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Go for it and try it----I would just suggest you do not sell your cages yet!!
     
  6. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7

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    I've considered raising rabbits via a colony as well; and the research I've found led me to think I would set the colony up as follows:

    A large pen in one of my pastures under shade trees with bushes protecting the area from northerly artic winds. The pen would be created out of strong rabbit wire and would be divided into several sections...strictly for rotating and upkeep of what I'ld be growing in there for the rabbits to eat. The bottom of the wire would be buried into concrete that is 2-3' deep. The top of the pen would be of rubber-coated mesh wire with one entire end/side (part sun and/or bad weather will not get into) created of treated plywood with shingles.

    Inside would be culverts large enough for kindling buried into the earth slanted down for any water drainage. One end of each culvert would be solid. There would be several of these in varied places in that pen...not in the middle. In the middle I would keep baled hay the rabbits could tunnel under if they wanted as well as eat.

    This for me is a pipe dream as my age and lack of being able to do as much as I use to discourages this project.
     
  7. Truckinguy

    Truckinguy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here's my experience. I raised rabbits in cages in the garage for a few years and when I wanted to put my pickup truck in the garage for future restoration I moved the rabbits out to a colony in the back yard. It is 5'x18', walls on both sides and back, metal roof on OSB and cage wire and doors on the front. It is built on 24'x30' patio slabs so there are no dig outs. The floor is covered with straw and changed regularly. I love to see the rabbits, adult and babies, bouncing around happily in the straw as opposed to confined to cages.

    Pros: pretty easy to take care of, no poo pans to take out, scoop out old straw and spread fresh straw out every few days.
    More room for the rabbits to exercise and play
    Outside in the fresh air and more natural atmosphere
    No actual proof of this but I think that rabbits that are raised outside and exposed to more of nature have stronger immune systems and are able to deal with health issues better.

    Cons: More than one doe can be competitive and I've had two litters in one nestbox a couple of times.
    The buck tries mounting the doe while she's trying to kindle. Usually not a problem as I've had dozens of litters successfully in the few years that I've had the colony but probably annoying for the doe.
    Being outside they are more exposed to heat and cold. I haven't had any heat related problems as of yet but kit loss can be a bit higher in the winter although the does do a fantastic job of building deep nests. That being said, I had a doe a few winters ago raise a litter of two in -25c temperatures on January.

    What I've done now is divide the colony into four compartments with a doe each in her own compartment. I guess I've compromised between a cage and colony. It allows me to control breeding and gives each doe her own space to kindle. I'm pretty happy with my setup and continue to give it an improvement now and again as I come up with ideas. These are older pictures, I've since divided it into four compartments and added two more doors.
     

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  8. Forcast

    Forcast Well-Known Member

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    My �� got loose in the �� yard all fenced in. They dug tunnels all over the run. Makes falling easy. Had babies under coops.
     
  9. orea

    orea Active Member

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    I colony my females, keep my males in larger tractor cages(we figure they'd fight too much, I've seen the result with brothers, not nice!). My colony is a 10ft square barn stall, and an outside run with saplings and grasses (or it was they eat it all down!). We have dirt floor with wire on the sides to reduce escapes a foot out. We had to rerig all of that as they took this as invitation to dig under. When we put things in the middle they dug there, which we allow. Bury the wire! I will be reporting soon on kindling in this setup since we are due today for the first time in colony.
     
  10. 371HBH

    371HBH Member

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  11. crittermomma

    crittermomma Well-Known Member

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    I love your dual chicken / rabbit pen! Very nice!