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Raising rabbits naturally

Discussion in 'Gardening With Animals' started by iajewel, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Feb 13, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    Im new to this board and wondered if anyone else is raising rabbits naturally? I don't condone colony raising as it never works well just to turn everyone loose in a small pen and let them go. Its normally a disaster. What I mean is raising them in an open environment with natural feeds and medicines, with out cages. I have been doing this with my show rabbits for over a decade and have had good luck, but don't know of anyone else doing this. I would love to meet and hear form others that are.
  2. Feb 13, 2011
    hoodat

    hoodat Deeply Rooted

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    Tame rabbits are actually European hares who live in a burrow they excavate themselves. How do you keep them from burrowing? I
    My grandfather used to keep young rabbits in open pens to grow to size but he had fence wire pinned to the ground to keep them from digging.
  3. Feb 13, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    Everyone asks that when they see my video and website. The answer is easy.. know your rabbits. Some breeds dig more then others, Males don't burrow, they scratch the earth but they don't burrow. Females do burrow but only when they are pregnant or very hot. So.. the answer is put bred does in hutchs 2 weeks before they kindle, and make sure they have a cool place with out digging to china.
  4. Feb 13, 2011
    hoodat

    hoodat Deeply Rooted

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    Boy can they dig. I had some run wild once and they dug such an extensive burrow that when I watered one whole side of my garden caved in. I ended up with some muddy PO'd bunnies.
  5. Feb 13, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    Thats funny. When I was a kid my father had Dutch he would let run and have us kids go round up at night and put back in the hutches. When I got older and built my first 20x20 pen people ask why did I do THAT for a rabbit. I said .. I didn't.. I did it for me. I can enjoy them year round this way. Now Im not saying I don't haul allot of rock and that I don't fill in a few holes. I do.. I can tell you that its manageable enough, Im happy with it.
    You can see my website I think its on the bottom of this post, Im new so they don't allow me to post links.. if you want to see the set up just let me know and I will PM you with it if its not on the signature.
  6. Feb 14, 2011
    hoodat

    hoodat Deeply Rooted

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    That's the ticket. Do what you enjoy doing. Don't let anyone else set the rules for how you live your life. So long as you don't hurt anyone it's nobodys business but your own.
    Like Tenesee Ernie said
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k54pOUtYLZw
  7. Feb 14, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    I really do enjoy them so much this way. In the winter instead of dreading going out in the cold to feed them, they have a hutch that holds 250 lbs of hay and 50lbs of feed. They also have grass year round and I think that keeps them healthy. They need that grass, they are rabbits after all. When the snow flies I can see them playing all day out my office window so work doesn't seem so much like work. I love to plant flowers and herbs alone the pens so they are pretty and its always fun to see who I can integrate plants. They are like horses they poke their heads through the fence to eat what I planted. So I plant different herbs by different pens. Mint for the does that need to dry up, fennel and other goodies for the babies and so on. that way the plants always grow and they can always grab a bite. Its very self sufficient which means the time I do spend with them is fun time. I also have a big white dog that makes sure they are safe. I don't think any of this would be possible with out that dog.
  8. Feb 14, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    I enjoyed the song by the way, haven't heard that one if a while. Thank you.
  9. Feb 27, 2011
    dixonsrabbitry@yahoo.com

    dixonsrabbitry@yahoo.com Sprout

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    Tractor pens work out great for natural feeding. Its keeps the rabbits safe from harm, prevents them from digging out, and makes them easier to catch, to return to their hutches. I don't do full natural feeding. I do combination of natural, and pellet feeding during the warm months of the year. They still get their pellets, but, they also get to go out in dog cages, and pens I have built myself for them. The rabbits enjoy it, they can run around play, and dig,and do what is natural for them. I don't have to worry about them escaping, getting eaten by something, or bothering the neighbors. Currently, I have four pens, two large dog cages, and two handmade cages. One of those is made of a combination of rabbit, and chicken fence wire. The other is made out of the wire grid shelves you can find at target, and sometimes at good will. One bunny goes in each cage at a time to prevent fighting, because rabbits will fight and injure each other. I have several rabbits, so the bunnies get to take turns in the pens each day. The only time I keep more then one together, is when I have does with litters. They get to go out in the pens when they are big enough that they can't escape.

    Natural feeding should be thoroughly researched first. It doesn't always work for everyone. You want to make sure the rabbits are kept in an escape proofed area, that they cannot dig, nor jump out of. This is very important because rabbits can breed like crazy, they can setup of feral colonies, and be very destructive to the neighbors properties, and the environment. Not to mention there is always the risk of predators going after them.

    rabbittalk.com is great place to learn about safely natural feeding,and tractoring. So is the meat rabbits yahoo group. There is one lady on the yahoo group that free ranges her silver fox in large rabbit tractor pens. The rabbits look great, and do very well at shows.
  10. Feb 27, 2011
    iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' with the herd

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    I keep my rabbits in large pens, the smallest is 20x20 and although I do house does together especially in winter months when no one is having litters, I do control breeding and keep bucks septate. They get feed in auto feeders I also rotate and plant pens just like you would for sheep or any livestock. I rock the edges of the pens and keep them mowed. Rabbits mainly the does dig when they are ready to give birth, and to stay cool, bucks only scratch the surface. They also have hutches in the pens. Im not one for the tractors. I know they are popular. Thanks for the link I will go check it out.

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