Backyard Chicken people looking to get into Rabbits

Breeder!

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Hello,

I've been on BYC for about 2 years now, and I'm coming over to BYH as I look to get into rabbits. Perhaps one day in the future we will have dairy goats, Highland cattle and horses (that's the dream), but we are living on a 1/3 acre suburban plot right now so that's not that type of herd is not currently feasible. We currently have 10 chickens (3 are just chicks), 6 ducks, 2 turkeys and a bunch of quail. I'm thinking of getting out of quail and re-purposing their 3 tier hutch for rabbit breeding/rearing. If possible, I'd like to keep the rabbits outdoors most of the year, ideally in the run with the chickens and two turkeys. Our chicken run is well shaded and I could build an area into the shed that the run wraps around to keep the rabbits in. During the winter, I wouldn't mind moving the rabbits into our heated garage.

About 8 years ago, my wife (then girlfriend) and I had a pet rabbit for some time. That's the extent of my experience with rabbits though. I've never bred them nor kept them in a colony like I would like to. I'd also like to try to get them to be friendly around people. We have two children, son is 3 years old and daughter just going on 5 months. I certainly don't want a child being bit and scratched by rabbits.

The purpose of the rabbits would be for meat primarily and possibly selling kits. They would also be pets though, especially the breeding group. I'm favoring the Flemish Giant as a breed of choice. I've been told I should consider a different breed for meat/bone ratio and feed conversion, but I REALLY like the Flemish Giants. I think they would look awesome in the run with the birds. I may go with a different breed though, especially because finding the Giants locally seems impossible.
 

Xerocles

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Hey breeder. Welcome to BYH. It seems like you and I are walking very similar paths. I also was on BYC when I started, came to BYH when I decided to get into rabbits. Think you'll find the folks here VERY friendly and helpful.(and non-judgemental, scoldy, or bossy).
At some point I will share my thoughts and adventures, along with suggestions, on rabbit raising. But first, other than a rousing welcome, I will wait for specific threads from you....and also wait for those with MUCH more experience and knowledge to guide you.
I would ask two favors from you, however.
First, tell us generally, where you are? Raising rabbits in South Texas is a quite a bit different than raising them in Northern Minnesota.
Second, some of us (i.e. me) are a little slow on the uptake from the written word.... so pictures are a huge plus (and we just all like to look at pictures).
Again, :welcome
 

Xerocles

Loving the herd life
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Hey breeder. Welcome to BYH. It seems like you and I are walking very similar paths. I also was on BYC when I started, came to BYH when I decided to get into rabbits. Think you'll find the folks here VERY friendly and helpful.(and non-judgemental, scoldy, or bossy).
At some point I will share my thoughts and adventures, along with suggestions, on rabbit raising. But first, other than a rousing welcome, I will wait for specific threads from you....and also wait for those with MUCH more experience and knowledge to guide you.
I would ask two favors from you, however.
First, tell us generally, where you are? Raising rabbits in South Texas is a quite a bit different than raising them in Northern Minnesota.
Second, some of us (i.e. me) are a little slow on the uptake from the written word.... so pictures are a huge plus (and we just all like to look at pictures).
Again, :welcome
Addendum: I would invite you to visit my rabbit thread "xerocles rabbit thread". You might not learn a lot there, except advice given TO me, but at least you can chuckle at some of another newcomers bumbles .
 

Breeder!

Chillin' with the herd
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Hey breeder. Welcome to BYH. It seems like you and I are walking very similar paths. I also was on BYC when I started, came to BYH when I decided to get into rabbits. Think you'll find the folks here VERY friendly and helpful.(and non-judgemental, scoldy, or bossy).
At some point I will share my thoughts and adventures, along with suggestions, on rabbit raising. But first, other than a rousing welcome, I will wait for specific threads from you....and also wait for those with MUCH more experience and knowledge to guide you.
I would ask two favors from you, however.
First, tell us generally, where you are? Raising rabbits in South Texas is a quite a bit different than raising them in Northern Minnesota.
Second, some of us (i.e. me) are a little slow on the uptake from the written word.... so pictures are a huge plus (and we just all like to look at pictures).
Again, :welcome
I was slow to updating my profile. My location is in there now though. I'm in IL in the west suburbs of Chicago.
As or pictures, I don't have much yet in terms of the rabbits of course. However, I can share a picture of the hutch my quail are in that I'll look to repurpose for rearing and breeding of rabbits. The rabbits wouldn't live in here much as i want them to be on dirt out in the run as much as possible where they can act like rabbits. I would keep a doe in here to nurse her young in safety and then rear the young in here until they were big enough to go outside or be sold. I may also make this a winter home for the breeder trio, but I would prefer to use larger metal dog crates instead I think. This picture is from back when I built the hutch. It's 3 tiers total. Each tier has 1/2" wire floor and a pull out tray below it for cleaning droppings. With rabbits, I would put hay on over the wire probably, or even a piece of cardboard or plywood so kits don't get their legs stuck.

20190829_225423.jpg
 

Xerocles

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Please remember that I'm a beginner also, so this isn't experience talking. So take it with a grain (or a few) of salt.
1. I debated cage wire size (specifically floors) ad nauseum, both here and in BYC. The synopsis is 1/2" is to small for their not-quite-spherical pellets to consistently drop through. 1" is too big for kit feet. 1/2 X 1 is the optimal size. You've GOT 1/2....so try it. I'd like to know your opinion after a few weeks....I'm still not convinced it won't work. An aside....I use a square of wood for a break from the wire, but they seldom use it, except to chew on. And hay on the bottom? It will all be in the pull out tray within a day.
2. On the ground colony? Some people swear by it. But. Increases the chances of contracting Coccidosis. And rabbits LOVE to dig...both inside the enclosure, and UNDER (to the outside) the enclosure, so make sure you include a DEEP barrier if you go that way.
 

Breeder!

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And hay on the bottom? It will all be in the pull out tray within a day.
I was thinking it would provide cushioning and nesting material since the cages will be used for nursing and rearing kits. Perhaps I'll just add a nesting box/tray for the doe to give birth and nurse the kits.

make sure you include a DEEP barrier
I thought about this. I will try to go 18" down.
 

Xerocles

Loving the herd life
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I was thinking it would provide cushioning and nesting material since the cages will be used for nursing and rearing kits. Perhaps I'll just add a nesting box/tray for the doe to give birth and nurse the kits.
.
Oh, for sure put lose hay on the cage floor at nesting time. They like to make their own nests. My first litter, I made the nest in the box for her. It was a work of art! She pulled every straw of hay out and started ask over. Swear I heard her mutter something about "silly human".
But for everyday, you're gonna go through a LOT of hay...they somehow shuffle it right through the floor in nothing flat.
 
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