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Can you colonize rabbits?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have 3 does and 1 buck. I hate to have them in cages, and would like to build them a pen on the grass.

How big would it need to be, and would it be a good idea? or should I have the buck in a seperate pen?
These are mostly just pets, but the buck and one doe came from a friend that used hers as meat rabbits. One doe is a dutch, and the other bunnies are the same size, so they aren't that big.

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post #2 of 15

If you want to put them together, the buck will have to be neutered, for obvious reasons!tongue
I'm thinking that rabbits generally bond in pairs, not groups.  Do any of your 4 already have preferences for each other?  Maybe you could make two pens and have a pair in each.

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post #3 of 15

after we weaned ours, we always put them into feeder cages which would have 8-12 young rabbits in it until it was butchering time and they all did fine.

But, they were also still too young to breed at that point and were processed before they would breed. If you are going to keep adults together, you will have to seperate the bucks because they will often fight, and keep them away from the does unless you want a litter every 30 days.

Also, if something happens and they do breed, you can not have a buck in with the doe when she delivers, otherwise one or the other will eat the bunnies when the are birthed.

You can keep adult does together with no problem though.

Good luck

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post #4 of 15

Having done some research on a similar topic for a magazine article, I can say that the rabbit owners and Authorities I've read and talked to seem to most often feel that there are significant extra health risks, but some people feel that the additional happiness of the rabbits offsets the downsides, particularly with careful management vis-a-vis sanitation, warmth, predator protection and digproofing of the fence.

Not taking sides, and not a rabbit owner, just passing along what I've run across.

Good luck,

Pat

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickbea 

If you want to put them together, the buck will have to be neutered, for obvious reasons!tongue
I'm thinking that rabbits generally bond in pairs, not groups.  Do any of your 4 already have preferences for each other?  Maybe you could make two pens and have a pair in each.


Mine have all been in seperate cages so far, so I don't know if they would get along together. We started with one for a pet, a doe, and a friend offered to give my little boy another, because he loved it so much. She ended up bringing us 2, a buck and another doe!
I really don't need this many rabbits, as I will not be eating them! Plus they aren't that big to use for meat, so I don't know if there would be much market for them. I would like to maybe breed them as pets, but I would have to see if there is much market for them around here.
I had read a post on here before about someone had theirs in a pen as a colony, but I wasn't sure how it worked. I know they said the does would make a burrow in the ground for the young, to keep the bucks and other rabbits away.

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post #6 of 15

I read something recently about colonizing rabbits....hmmmm....where was that....

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post #7 of 15

We have a few rabbits that run outside in a pen most of the year. I just resently moved them into a cage in a shelter for the winter. When they are in there pen though they are FINE. We have never had any issues with there health or anything else. One of them our daughter actually got Reserve Grand Champion on at the Fair.
They have a long pen/run along the garage. There is a hutch in there for them to go in (which rarely happened though). Most of the time they would sleep under it or in/under the little teepee things I made. Make sure you put some form of wire on the ground though or someday you will go out there and your rabbits will be gone. It will dig a tunnel and get out. We put a peice of old wire fencing down. The rabbits still try to dig out but it can't fit through the wire spots. The digging will help keeps it's nails down though. We also had tree branches in there and the area was also full of grass.  When we put the fencing/wire down we just laid it right on top. We didn't bury it. We brought it up on the sides alittle bit also.
The rabbits loved being out there. They are now in the cages for the ever to soon winter though.
Not sure if this is what you were talking about 'colonizing' or not...

Some of our friends have rabbits too. And they let a few of them out into the goats pens each day. Obviously they are either all males or all females though when out there so no breeding goes on. But there rabbits have never tried to get out or anything when they are out there. And they have been doing this for about 3 years. The goats don't even seem to notices the rabbits even when running right under foot or eatting outta the same feed dish...They have never lost a rabbit either from being stepped on while with the goats

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I needed another dog like I need a hole in the head....Yes, we got dog #5 last weekend...
2 daughters and a husband--whose currently deployed for round #2
Do it Chunk~~ Do It~~ Do the TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!!!!!
Shawna
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks Run-A-Muck Ranch, that is exactly what I was talking about. Yours are all the same sex though that are in the pen together? I really do not want to get my bucks neutered (I forgot about the mini rex pair I just got!), as that's what I got them for, but I would hate to leave those 2 in a cage. I also don't want to have a million babies running around either. I will have to make 2 pens I suppose, one for bucks and one for does. But the bucks would probably fight right?

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post #9 of 15

When I was a kid I had a dutch doe and a large lop mix buck in a large dog kennel (with a dog box)....my parents let me raise them how i wanted and even though that's not appropriate housing for rabbits...esp a buck with a doe...that was the most sucessful rabbit raising i've ever had.

Bucks are actually very wonderful with kits to be honest..however most show rabbit breeders want their does only breeding at specific times and managing the litters, plus to keep stress levels low, so they keep rabbits in cages by th emselves only together during a quick breeding meeting.

The problem about keeping intact bucks with intact does, is fighting amung does, the buck will rebreed the doe the SAME day she kindles (gives birth)...so almost a month after the first litter she will pop outa second litter....and that's really hard on the first litter of kits because some are still nursing....

My doe had 2 large litters of kits for me (she was rebred the same day she kindled)...she raised them all up and they all grew large like their daddy...all different colors. I raised them horribly wrong....cement ground cage, dog kennel, dog box, sweet feed with no hay....that's neglect, but i didnt know anybetter (i was 13 and had no rabbit books or the internet lol). However those were the healthiest rabbits i ever raised..no illnesses, no loss of kits..no fighting..nothing.

Then when i rasied show rabbits and kept them separate fed high quality show rabbit feed, continuous supply of hay ect, i had illnesses, stress, abortions, cannabalism, aggression, infertility problems you name it.

By the way european rabbits are the wild form of todays pet rabbits...not the cotton tail of the US. Cotton tails are solitary where as europeans are conony rabbits....they have dominant rabbits and everything. So yes it is natural for the domestic rabbit to live in colonies, it's just that just like with dogs, there is dominance issues,anad rabbits can really hurt eachother. I'd honestly reccomend if you're going to colonise your rabbits makes sure hte area is big enough, and plan for litters, and plan for what you're going to do with the kits...if they will be meat rabbits, that'd be perfect....as it wiill be hard to find homes for excess, it can be hard to even give away bunnies to good homes.

yes bucks will fight and molest eachother relentlessly....i have had bucks litterally bite the testicles off of other bucks THROUGH the cage. same sex pairs can get along, but when hormones are going crazy..there is a lot of tormenting.


Edited by monarc23 - 10/30/08 at 4:58pm
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post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

These aren't typically meat rabbits. There are 3 does and 1 buck. I'm not really sure of the breeds, except for one doe is a dutch. The others are the same size as she is. The person that gave me the 1 doe and the buck used hers as meat rabbits, but was doing away with those for the New Zealands. These would be mostly pet type rabbits, but could be used as meaties, I suppose. I also have a pair of young mini rex's, but those would stay seperated. I'm not sure what I will do. I might just put the does out, or maybe make them a 'playpen' for nicer weather, to get some outside time. Thanks all for the tips.

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