Grass Tractor versus colony style management?

Nao57

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I wanted to ask what you thought about which of these two management systems for pens, offers the best attributes?

And especially is there any survival benefit to colony style management over individual grass tractor pens? (By grass tractor I mean a larger elongated pen, but that they usually don't share this kind of pen system with other rabbits and are in there solo, except for kit grow out spaces.

I'm also concerned that my colony style open air experiment, if they will try to get away and get out? Does a loose pen system not work with the more skittish breeds like silver foxes also?
 

Grizzlyhackle

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I purposely went with raised hutches for lots of reasons.
A colony I figured they would dig out. Have we got kits, which hole are they in. If I walk in will a collapse a tunnel or nest? Do I want to bury wire and how deep do I have to go.
In a hutch I know who ate, how much, whose drinking, how much, I can see body condition. Look them each in the eyes. Easier to provide shade, weather and predator protection. You gonna put wire or netting over the colony. Red tail hawks, owls your out west Golden Eagles.
Tractors sound great. It's on the ground now you're bending. Hot and sunny day, is grass under a tree or out in the sun. Neighbors dog, cat, is at Tractor height. Scare them to death. Night time now there's opossums, raccoons,foxes, dogs, cats, rats.
How many tractors you going to build. How long is your good grass available. Are you home so you can watch for problems. Starts raining or snowing can you move them out of drifts or puddles.
Local man kept bobwhite quail in a flight pen. Figure a huge tent framed and covered in netting. Twice he had to release hawks caught in the net. Had to fix the net both times. Hawk shredded it getting tangled. Second time he went to the hospital cuz the hawk shredded him. Neighbor and I were standing at the mailbox talking. He had an ancient miniature poodle on a leash. From behind his house out of an oak tree a Cooper's hawk swooped down at his dog. Dog saw it and flinched, hawk turned off at the last second. Old guy only saw the dog move. Until I pointed at the hawk flying down the street. Never made a sound. So with people standing there he still tried. Envision your rabbits unattended in a colony.
Lots of bad can happen in hutches. I worry when hurricane's come. I'm not home all day nor would I likely hear an animal trying to get in. I do have a motion sensor light but after 10 pm I'm snoozing. My hutches are built heavy, not easy to move solo. Dog can't knock them over easy. Under a cloth carport blocks off hawks, owls. Wooden boxed end gives them some where to hide. Even added a board to sit on for added sense of security.
You ask about them trying to get out. I have never scene an animal, any animal that appreciates confinement. They might stay home but they want out. You can build the biggest pen in the world and one will still pace the edge wanting to get on the other side.
 

B&B Happy goats

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With a 6 ft chain link fence surrounding the outside hutches on the end of the building.
Ours are behind no climb fence with hot wire on top, under shade trees, metal roof on hutches, hutch posts buried 3 foot in the ground and two plastic owls to deter hawks...chickens scratch the berries, eat spent hay and give us awesome compost for the garden...don't mess with my bunnies lol :highfive: :bunny:bunny:bunny
 

Rabbitsbysara

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Even rats kill rabbits. We have a ton of them here. I do use wire crates when we have good grass, but my whole yard is fenced in. And inside my fence is other fences to keep my dogs out my gardens. So rabbits in crates in day then back in cages at night. It's not a permant system, but the grass has to grow back. If I had a huge area, I could just keep moving the crates. But they definitely like to dig. And rain is another problem especially in low areas. I just put plywood over the top, but that won't stop wet ground or flash pudding. But if you had a cage with bottom they can't dig out and protected on top and watch the weather, it can be done. I have no idea about the colony thing, I usually only put siblings or does and bucks together. I know rabbits do not all get along with each other. I have some does and bucks that don't get along and others that seem to be in love. Some of the sisters fight as well. I have known people who keep rabbits in horse stalls with tons of rabbits. That is really old school though. And I could see health issues, that could spread quickly.
 

Grizzlyhackle

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I would do a building with partitions and keep some on the floor but not groups. Dirt over concrete maybe. I've thought about it but have to work out the ammonia. Cages and catch pans probably still the best for that setup. Imo.
 

Rabbitsbysara

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So Bob Bennett says gravel over the bare dirt, then just pile up the manure and layer lime. So the worms just compost the manure. Idk sounds like alot of flies. I put mine on the compost pile. In the compost it doesn't smell at all, I just make sure to add enough browns or cover with dirt. Turn it and it compost quick. Save them leaves and shred them up. And also added to my raised beds. But I did buy a few bags of lime for the spring. I am going to buy the fly elimators on a schedule this year too. I got them one time last only. Inside rabbits would smell quick. Its easier inside if they are pan trained. That's what I do with the inside ones. And to sell as pets start them young and it's a selling point.
 

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