Meat Rabbit Colony Setup

  • Meat Rabbit Colony Setup

    Posted by soma_farms on April 19, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    I have been doing meat rabbits for several years and each year I seem to be trying something different because I’m just not satisfied with the habit for them. This year I have them in a large run. I buried wire under 3 feet on the inside and 3 feet on the outside so nothing can dig in and they can’t dig out. However, they can tunnel in the middle as they naturally would. This is important to me because I like my livestock to be able to live their days as close to natural as possible. My problem is cleaning it. I said I’d not do straw ever again but we got that artic blast this year and I panicked and threw in straw. The straw is mixed in with shavings which I had only put in 1/3 of their area because I thought that would help with spring cleaning. Well spring is here and I’m trying to clean all the coops/pens. They have spread it out everywhere. I was trying to take everyday to keep it tidy but once the ground froze and the snow hit, that wasn’t working. I spent over an hour getting 2 heaping wheelbarrow loads of winter mess out of there and I probably only cleaned a little over 1/4 of their area. We are getting hit with a weeks worth of rain at the moment so everything is mud. I always sprinkle DE in but am still worried about flies. Someone on FB mentioned they use wood chips and have had great luck with that. I put some wood chips in the area that I cleaned and it looks better but how long will that last? – my chickens compost wood chips in their run in like a week! I’m thinking I need to just break down and go the expensive way of using concrete blocks/patio blocks in there so I can just scrape then hose it all down which will be nice in the summer but winter??? And then they wouldn’t be able to tunnel naturally – I’d have to make tunnels for them. Anyone have any better luck with material for their rabbit colony – particularly in the north where we get winter followed by mud season??

    Hanidu-Acres replied 1 year, 1 month ago 9 Members · 24 Replies
  • 24 Replies
  • Schnickelfritz

    Member
    April 19, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    What a wonderful idea to have your meat rabbits live in a natural environment! I love the way you think, but we have to remember these are for meat and have a very temporary stay with us humans. Give them a nice big area to roam around in, but the large hutches with trays to catch the excrement is easier on us and cleaner for the bunnies. Don’t make so much work for yourself that you get burned out on it, or worse-get hurt doing it.

    • Woodsman

      Member
      April 19, 2023 at 9:09 pm

      I can see the benefits as well as compassion to keep the rabbits living a natural as possible. Cleaning can suck.

      For me; when things escalate I take heed. At that point if you haven’t created a way that works for you that is easy and economics, I would be weighing if the meat is worth the expense and effort.

      If you have a lot of land to use for this and cost in money, labor etc. is working then I have ideas.

      How much space available do you have for rabbits?

      • soma_farms

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 10:53 am

        It’s actually cheaper to do the colony but it is a lot more work. I labor of love. They were upgraded last year from a 10 x 10 to 10 x 13. I only keep breeders over winter. The meat is worth it because I’ll sell, use it for myself, and supplement my LGD and pet dog with it. I do all the butchering myself so I pay no one. I want to use the manure for the garden but am nervous about grazon. Not sure where to find unsprayed hay but it’s on my list.

  • BeeBon

    Member
    April 19, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    My friend has a colony with a concrete floor. She has small concrete pipes and things for tunnels. It’s still a lot of work to clean it.

    • Woodsman

      Member
      April 19, 2023 at 9:09 pm

      Sounds cold?

    • JerseyGiantChick

      Member
      April 20, 2023 at 3:02 pm

      Nice setup, would put in a pack wood shavings.

  • DoubleS

    Member
    April 19, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Consider sand. I’ve heard of folks using it in duck pens (ducks are ridiculously messy) and they like it. It sheds water so you don’t get a muddy mess. Might work for bunnies, too.

    • Woodsman

      Member
      April 19, 2023 at 9:11 pm

      Like concrete; sand can be cold. Think of digging in sand at the beach? Top layers is hot but dig a little bit and it’s cold.

  • AiNt-RiTe-Acres

    Member
    April 20, 2023 at 9:15 am

    My colony is in the early stages and I considered building a more natural area but after considering the cleaning issues I chose to go with pens and I’m working on a catchment system for their urine and droppings. With mine I’m keeping around 3-4 does and 1-2 bucks in wire/wood hutches. The shed is made from the first cuts of cedar at a local mill so it’s all irregular shaped. That leaves gaps for airflow in the summer. Also have windows for cross ventilation. Once I have kits I’ll sex and separate them into two larger pens. From there I’ll likely sell a few. As for those I keep for meat I’m going to build rabbit tractors and move them daily. The tractors are about as natural as I can care for them without increasing my work load to much. The tractors will also reduce my feed costs and help build up the quality of my field. Of course our long term goal is to do micro grazing with a rotation of a few cows, sheep or goats, rabbit tractors, chickens and pigs.

    • soma_farms

      Member
      April 20, 2023 at 10:42 am

      I tried the tractor too but even though I had wire down they would still try to dig at times and my husband got mad (all the homesteading falls on me – he doesn’t want much to do with any of it). I considered trying to do this for grow outs only but this year, that water completely damaged our backyard (everywhere else is woods).

      • AiNt-RiTe-Acres

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 11:57 am

        Well wet ground would be a problem. Hate to hear hubs has no interest in homesteading. I’m in a similar state with my kids. Knowing I have limits due to my disabilities my wife and I count on their pitching in. However getting them to participate has been far more troublesome and stressful than anticipated. I am fortunate that my wife is all in on this with me. My biggest issue with her though is she tends to put the cart before the horse which leads to mad rushes. She bought plants before I could setup a garden area. Pigs before we had a pen setup or a way to separate the boars from the sows. Then added a pregnant sow and another 2 year old sow which our young boar quickly impregnated. In fact since I couldn’t separate the three gilts from our two boars I now have four pregnant sows to contend with. So…. wifey helps but sometimes that help is a hinderence.

      • soma_farms

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 12:55 pm

        😂 must be a wifey thing because I do that sometimes. I feel like like it’s the pressure of the world so I want to be as sustainable as possible so I just say I’ll figure it out later

      • AiNt-RiTe-Acres

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 5:08 pm

        😂🤣😂

    • JerseyGiantChick

      Member
      April 20, 2023 at 3:06 pm

      4 to 6 rabbits nice, I will stay with 3 for now with the young enough work. Cleaning every day and making compost and fertilizer, they produce more then a horse.

      • AiNt-RiTe-Acres

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 5:19 pm

        I don’t have a catchment system at the moment. The chickens have access though and they help break down a lot of it. Working towards a “chicken tractor on steroids” setup in the chicken run. The coop and rabbit shed are under one roof with a wall between them. Both sides open to the run. All I have to do is toss in waste out the door into the run and the birds tear through it. Eventually I’ll have some spare wire and setup a ring for compost letting the chickens do mist of the work.

      • JerseyGiantChick

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 7:35 pm

        Like that system chickens do great work.

        I put it in the composter, then on the beds and direct in the garden. In the garden the chickens compost it, also mowed grass that way we get some garden back for planting.

      • AiNt-RiTe-Acres

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 10:29 pm

        👍

  • Hanidu-Acres

    Member
    April 20, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    We use dog crates as rabbit tractors with the floor up.

    • GrannaLoLo

      Member
      April 20, 2023 at 4:05 pm

      Love this idea!

      • Hanidu-Acres

        Member
        April 20, 2023 at 9:05 pm
      • JerseyGiantChick

        Member
        April 21, 2023 at 4:18 am

        Simpel and handy like it.

      • soma_farms

        Member
        April 21, 2023 at 11:27 am

        So you move them to this every day then back in at night?

      • Hanidu-Acres

        Member
        April 21, 2023 at 5:43 pm

        No. I cover them.

    • JerseyGiantChick

      Member
      April 20, 2023 at 7:36 pm

      Interesting could you show a picture?

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