Starting to keep the big ones on the ground

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by birdie_poo, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I love hutches, because they are so much easier to keep clean, however, with my flemmish, well, they are just so big! The hutches have to be reinforced to support the weight, and sometimes, my does, eat at the wire and lift it up, causing weakness in the stability, and this causes sagging.

    One of theproblems I have had with doubling the wire is the holes don't always match up and you have problems with waste falling all the way through.

    I got some bottomless pens from the feed store, that I normally keep my brodding hens, but found that these make excellent pens for my big rabbits. Most of them are so laid back, that they don't bother digging out, either. I've only had 1 doe dig, and that was for a nest, and then I had 1 pen of some young rabbits dig out, but, like I dais, they were young, smaller, and wanted to explore the yard with them funny quacking rabbits, that were everywhere!

    I'm now running our of places to keep my brooding hens, and my goal was to free up space in the yard, but here I go filling it back up again!!!
     
  2. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    LOL, that must have been cute, ducks & baby bunnies. :) You could use a larger guage wire, too, that should hold it up. Being in the business of rabbits, every once in a while we would have does that just weren't worth keeping around, and we tried different things with them rather than euthanize. I remember we had an old horse stall, that had about 2 feet of bedding in it (mostly straw, but been there a long time!), and we put all the does with a couple of bucks in there. It was real neat, it wasn't very sanitary compared to the cages, but they LOVED to dig holes, and make nests in the ground, and you wouldn't even know they had little ones until a couple of weeks later when they would sneak out here and there. The rabbits LOVED it!! But the babies tended to get eye infections from the dust, and we ended up moving them out, but it was cute while it lasted.
    :D I just thought it was really neat to see what they do naturally, you know. You could just see how much happier they were (at least emotionally, I don't know about physically!)
     

  3. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Yeah, I read about a colony system, Countryside mag actually, but that particular setup didn't seem to be very sanitary. Seems like the bunny waste would build up quickly and then...trouble. I do like the idea of floorless grazing pens though. *Someone* in northern VA raised pastured rabbits commercially for 8 or 9 years but had to move back to normal cages because of disease issues. My guess from what I've heard about his system was that he had too many rabbits on too small of a pasture.

    Birdie_poo, let us know how it works for you! Are Flemish normally kept in solid-floored cages? I've heard stuff like they're so heavy that normal 14 gauge floorwire doesn't work for them, but rumors, rumors...It's like each breed has it's own set of stories attached to them. Like Californians: they say that the breed can be poor mothers, but mine are great. Guess it just depends on the individual line.

    rabbitgal
     
  4. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    Let's just say, you know which empty cages used to house these big guys!!!

    The only thing that works is doubling up on the wire, and I use the 1 x 1/2 thick stuff for concrete or walls, heavy duty. However, if you don't line everything up perfectly, waste wont go through.

    Since they are so big, you have to give them more solid areas to stand on, of they get sores, really bad.
     
  5. cricket

    cricket Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone here currently raise larger breeds in a colony? Or would that be a whole new thread? I'm really curious because I would love to move my Cals to a more natural atmosphere.... I wouldn't do it right away since they finally bred and are due in a month but eventually would be cool.
     
  6. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I raised Cal & NZ like that, but they are diggers. The Flemmish don't dig, but I don't have anything big enough to keep them in colony style. I would imagine, all the rabbits would have to be started together when they are really young, or else you would have fighting amongst the does. Right now, I have one hutch with 2 doe and a buck...and I might add, no babies, yet, either :waa:
     
  7. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    One more thing...I don't think keeping them mixed in the summer is a good thing, since you can loose bucks who insist on being with the ladies, when it's hot. I lost my best buck after some afternoon delight in the summer.
     
  8. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    I wonder how pasture/colony raising would work if the parents were housed in normal hutches and the fryers were moved out into floorless pasture pens once they were weaned at an early age? You could "cut and carry" green stuff to the parents' hutches as the kits grew so that the parents could benefit from the green stuff and the kits would be less likely to get diarrhea once they were moved to pasture (since they were already used to green stuff). Obviously you wouldn't have problems with the adults digging out either and your valuable breeding stock would be safer. Just a thought.