Meat Rabbit Questions --

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Boyd, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    I've raised NZW's before, as well as cali's and x breeds for meat. I am more interested in a colony setup and was wondering if anyone here on BYC has had a chance to do so? The sister site has very little on meat rabbits, and I have found other blogs and forums that go into more detail, but I know you guys and don't want to have to start all over on another forum if you folks here have some experience you can share.

    I've got two locations that I am thinking of using for my meat rabbits, and I do expect some to escape in a colony setup, but from what others have told me, and my own experiences with escapees over the years I know they will hang around till caught again. I've also found plans for a 1 way door that is raccoon proof so............ Anybody do a colony setup?

    1. First spot is in the back yard, pretty level area. Heavy clay soil. I could easily go 10x100... Pre-digging a central burrow underneath a sheltered feed station. They can dig and burrow in clay but not as easy I am thinking.....

    2. 2nd area is the side yard. I am actually thinking of doing it on the property to the east of my garage. This area has a pretty steep hill and I could do at least the size I am thinking for the back yard. I was thinking of digging into the hillside as a starter "hole" if I go from there.

    With room to spare I am thinking of starting off with 9 Does and 1 buck. I'm thinking NZW does and either a Cali or NZR buck so the offspring are easily identified when they dig out of the burrow [​IMG] I've seen a couple of colony setups, and the one I Reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllly like. But I am looking for more perspective because the one I saw worked out so well.
     
  2. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    35,112
    121
    458
    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    one of my foster kids therapists is doing this also..
    the problem he found(for him) was when we were getting alot of rain this summer his nests were getting flooded and killing the babies....i guess they wernt setting up their nests in the right spots..or something...
    so maybe if you set up their nests in the spots that you want..it would be okay..
    not sure how hes going to do it this spring..
    I SO want to try rabbit..i hear its good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  3. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    Quote:My doctor suggested it after my last stroke so rabbit....... its whats for dinner [​IMG]

    Or rabbit... The other white meat.....

    Or rabbit ....... oh nevermind [​IMG]
     
  4. Overeasyplz

    Overeasyplz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    Leesburg
    I have a lot of angora rabbits now, and I was thinking along the lines of keeping the does in groups of three, just to make room. I thought I'd build a couple of huge cages, 5 ft long by 3 ft wide 2ft high on 4 ft long legs with a hidey hole box at the end, and that way I'd free up some cages with trays so the droppings would be outside on the ground where the garden will be. We eat some of them but now we have meat rabbits just for that purpose, so now.. But yea, colony breeding can be done, there is a great page about it from a lady down in Mexico. I'll see if I can find it.
     
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    35,112
    121
    458
    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:My doctor suggested it after my last stroke so rabbit....... its whats for dinner [​IMG]

    Or rabbit... The other white meat.....

    Or rabbit ....... oh nevermind [​IMG]

    [​IMG] better stop while your ahead...
     
  6. chinbunny

    chinbunny In a hutch

    661
    4
    131
    Aug 24, 2009
    I don't have much experience with colony breeding. what i know is from experiences from others on the net. There is one or two on th emeat rabbits list that tried it, and ended up quitting because the loss of litters was very high. Plus it makes it harder to keep records on them. Rabbits will also fight and injure each other in such a setup too. Esp bucks. You also take chances of severe inbreeding, again without being able to keep records on them. You can keep them like that, but you really have to do your research on it. you can buyry the fence so many feet to prevent them from escaping . They will dig and burrow too. alot of us that raise rabbits fo rmeat chose to keep them in caged instead. Equipment can be expensive. But, you have more control over the breedings and the setup. Less chances of disease or a predator getting into them too. If you don't colony breed them, try getting a hold of good used cages, and a coupl eof bucks and does. Make sure you have a couple of extra cages to use as grow out pens. i would think a pellet fed, caged fryer would have a much better growth rate then one that was not.

    also ask the meat rabbits yahoo group. [email protected]. Send them an email to join first.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  7. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    Quote:I do appreciate the reply, but you didn't really read my post [​IMG]

    Thanks for the link, but I am already a member there and michiganmeatrabbits [​IMG] my whole point is I want them to dig and burrow and be rabbits. The only way My wife will let me have them for food is if they look more like wild raised. I already have a 20 hole setup that is empty. I actually hate cage raising the rabbits. I also mentioned the one way door for the escapee's to come back on their own.

    If you look at what I was wanting to do with the crosses I was suggesting you'll understand why. The fuzzies will have a different colored coat than the parents and it'll be easy to keep inbreeding in check.

    Too many males in a group... I know they could fight, but if I am culling at 8-10 weeks in a very large area then it shouldn't be a problem. Worst case scenario is the dominant bucks will castrate the juniors right? The juniors are food..... I am looking to give about 10 rabbits close to a thousand square feet to roam around in, dig in etc. In theory that is more than enough room for them.
     
  8. chinbunny

    chinbunny In a hutch

    661
    4
    131
    Aug 24, 2009
    Quote:I do appreciate the reply, but you didn't really read my post [​IMG]

    Thanks for the link, but I am already a member there and michiganmeatrabbits [​IMG] my whole point is I want them to dig and burrow and be rabbits. The only way My wife will let me have them for food is if they look more like wild raised. I already have a 20 hole setup that is empty. I actually hate cage raising the rabbits. I also mentioned the one way door for the escapee's to come back on their own.

    If you look at what I was wanting to do with the crosses I was suggesting you'll understand why. The fuzzies will have a different colored coat than the parents and it'll be easy to keep inbreeding in check.

    Too many males in a group... I know they could fight, but if I am culling at 8-10 weeks in a very large area then it shouldn't be a problem. Worst case scenario is the dominant bucks will castrate the juniors right? The juniors are food..... I am looking to give about 10 rabbits close to a thousand square feet to roam around in, dig in etc. In theory that is more than enough room for them.

    Yeah i did read your post. Still wouldn't recommend it. You can try it, but you may end up losing more rabbits that way. Rabbits don't stick around when they get loose. I had a feral rabbit show in my yard more then once. He lived nearly two blocks away when I returned him. Third time I kept him. Same with another bunny I caught. Only he lived several blocks away, and was getting into their neighbors yards. If they are out, sometimes they don't stay put. If you have neighbors, they can wreak havoc on them. I'd also be worried about them attracting predators, like stray dogs, hawks, coyotes. They may not figure out the one way door either. I'd be hesistant to allow more then onebuck in the setup. Because they will castrate each other, and you may end up with a bloddy mess. i am sure you know that though. its too bad she won't let you use your setup. I'd rathe rhave caged rabbits. That way I know they are safe, and i control breeding, etc. Have to do that anyhow being that mine are also show rabbits. I hate it when they get loose. I am glad they are in barn right now where I can grab them when they do. But when they were outside, sometimes they would get out and take off. Not fun going through your neighbors yards looking for an escaped rabbit. Even had one live in my neighbors garage for some time before I finally found, and caught her.
     
  9. cutiepieacres

    cutiepieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    472
    3
    131
    Jan 20, 2009
    S. CA
    I havent raised colony meat rabbits but I do keep my Flemish giant Izzy in a large outdoor run. She is around 18lbs so I hated keeping her in a cage even though that is how most breeders keep them and where she was born. I had even bought her a custom cage that was 4' x 3'. I just felt like she needed more. The run is approx 20'x20' the outside fences are 6' tall with a strand of barbwire on the top to try to discourage predators. If I could though I think I would have a top on it for even more protection. She has a 4'x4' converted wooden dog house, I put a cover on the front with a small entrance so its sheltered from wind and rain, she has willow mats inside and I line the floor with grass hay. In the summer I have a shade cloth that extends out from the house to give her a nice shady spot. She has an auto waterer outside and a food dish inside. She has dug a huge burrow but she dug it right in the middle of the pen, she hasn't yet tried to dig out anywhere. She is a pet so I haven't had any babies born in the pen but I would hope that since she likes her house she would nest inside the house, I would probably give her a nest box inside the house to encourage that since being able to check on the babies in a burrow would be impossible. Here if it did rain the burrow would flood no matter where she made it. The best part is she loves it, she runs and digs and I really cant see her living any other way. I did lock her up in my guinea pig barn one night when it was super cold and wet, I was worried but by morning she was antsy to get back out and I haven't locked her up since she just doesn't like it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by