Planning rabbit colony, your opinions?

CloverHollow05

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My buns are in cages on metal sawhorses, under a tarped carport from Harbor freight. I also installed misters along the long edge in addition to the box fans which are on the short ends blowing through all the cages. If the temp is going to into the 80s, I turn on the fans. If it's going above 90 I turn on the misters. The misters will ruin the feed pellets so I remove the feed if I use the misters. The rabbits don't eat during the heat anyway because it will raise their body temperature.

I have hanging water bottles but also add crocks when it's warmer as the bottles heat up faster and rabbits won't drink water that is too warm.
Ohhhhhh ok. We used crocks in the summer, and our doe layed in them, got her dewlap wet, then because of the moisture being held against her skin got an awful infection, so we were told to use bottles. Thank you for your help!
 

CloverHollow05

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Right now I've got 5 adults and 5 young. All in raised wire and wood hutches. 4 are under a harbor freight cloth covered carport. The rest are under tarps in two old dog pens. I'm across the Chesapeake from you so my weather's similar.
I wouldn't do a colony. I realize wire and materials are expensive. I'm building a hutch now and sweating how much I'm spending. Everything that's been posted as negatives I agree with.
Snow and rain, they're off the ground and dry. Snow here is generally light until it isn't. The tarps and wire might buckle, plywood roof won't.
I had wasps once in the hutch. Didn't bother the rabbit or me, winter I pulled it out.
Winter you wrap the sides with heavy plastic or tarps on the prevailing wind side.
In separate cages or hutches you can tell who is eating or drinking, control your breeding, handle the kits.
On the ground I would imagine you'll have more problems with ticks, mites and probably fleas.
Summer time definitely sucks it's been close to 100 under the carport couple of times. Freeze some soda bottles, ceramic or granite tiles. They lay on them or not but I give them the chance. I change the water twice a day.
On the ground they will eat everything nothing will grow for long. You'd have too have different pens like having different pastures. In a cage they relieve themselves in the same spot everyday. You'll have to dig that out occasionally on the ground and put down lime to stop the flies.
I wanted to do a colony myself but I feel in the long run hutches/ covered cages are the way to go.
You commented about netting. Use wire. Any kind of net will rot in the ground or in the sun. When you least expect it you'll get a hole. Same with chicken wire.
Any wood you use can't be treated. If they can reach it they chew it and everything I've read that's bad for the animal, dogs included.
Ah ok. It sounds like a colony is just not the way to go then!


Thank you everyone for all your help, you’ve talked me out of it! I appreciate all the advice and you all sharing your experiences with different setups! Thank you all so much!
 

Hideaway Pines

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it sounds like you have gotten some good advice, I agree with not going with a colony style for many reasons. But I wanted to mention we have gone to a store bought cage that is not as expensive ($50 when we got ours a year ago, they are now about $70) and is very good in our opinion. nice heavy wire bottoms that last longer than the wire from previous cages, and we hung them up so they are more or less stacked. These hold one adult or two jr rabbits just fine. then for breeding, I use really large dog cages that my husband has put a layer of heavy wire on the bottom - this allows mom and babies to have lots of room until time to separate them out.
https://www.amazon.com/Midwest-Wabbitat-Folding-Rabbit-Cage/dp/B0002AT3K6
 

CloverHollow05

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it sounds like you have gotten some good advice, I agree with not going with a colony style for many reasons. But I wanted to mention we have gone to a store bought cage that is not as expensive ($50 when we got ours a year ago, they are now about $70) and is very good in our opinion. nice heavy wire bottoms that last longer than the wire from previous cages, and we hung them up so they are more or less stacked. These hold one adult or two jr rabbits just fine. then for breeding, I use really large dog cages that my husband has put a layer of heavy wire on the bottom - this allows mom and babies to have lots of room until time to separate them out.
https://www.amazon.com/Midwest-Wabbitat-Folding-Rabbit-Cage/dp/B0002AT3K6
Oooo that sounds like a nice setup. My biggest problem is that I don't have $70 to spend on each cage, when I need to house 8 or more rabbits at once.
 

CloverHollow05

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I am thinking about building my own cages, what is the smallest wire I could use on the sides and the smallest wire I could use on the bottom? I want the poop to fall through, but I can’t find 1/2 inch by 1 inch or even 1/2 inch, all I can find is 1/4 inch with 23 gauge. I have 1/4 inch on the floors of my hutches and the poop falls through, but I didn’t know if it was sturdy enough to hold up to the weight of the rabbits without the wood frame like on the hutches. is 1/4 inch ok on the sides and roof, or can anyone recommend an affordable place to order or get 1/2 or 1 inch wire?
 

Hideaway Pines

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I am thinking about building my own cages, what is the smallest wire I could use on the sides and the smallest wire I could use on the bottom? I want the poop to fall through, but I can’t find 1/2 inch by 1 inch or even 1/2 inch, all I can find is 1/4 inch with 23 gauge. I have 1/4 inch on the floors of my hutches and the poop falls through, but I didn’t know if it was sturdy enough to hold up to the weight of the rabbits without the wood frame like on the hutches. is 1/4 inch ok on the sides and roof, or can anyone recommend an affordable place to order or get 1/2 or 1 inch wire?
actually we use 1/2 inch by 1 inch wire/fence material - it is heavier than hardware cloth and lasts much longer, the poop falls through easily and it is very strong so holds up well as the bottom. After having to replace the hardware cloth on the bottom of our cages we built, we went with this - and it is wonderful!!!
 

CloverHollow05

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actually we use 1/2 inch by 1 inch wire/fence material - it is heavier than hardware cloth and lasts much longer, the poop falls through easily and it is very strong so holds up well as the bottom. After having to replace the hardware cloth on the bottom of our cages we built, we went with this - and it is wonderful!!!
Like welded wire? Or more like what’s on the dog crates? Are welded wire and hardware cloth not the same thing?
 

Hideaway Pines

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no they are not the same, cage welded wire is heavier and stronger
 

Hideaway Pines

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believe me it is the best we have tried - you will not be sorry you chose to use it on the bottoms
 

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