Interesting Idea for Bunny Keeping (if you have an empty stable stall)

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Gazrok

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So, I'm reviewing my plans for building a new bunny hutch, and my wife hits on an idea. Actually, she hit on it later, when we were out at the stables.

See, we have these two stalls that well....kind of suck for horses. They are kind of dark, and part of the secondary stable, and are really "last resort" stalls, for when we'd be full up (hasn't happened but once).

So, they are kind of sitting doing nothing. She suggests, why not use one of these stalls to keep the bunnies?

GREAT IDEA!

It already has water available, light, and full enclosure. All I really have to do is make sure any openings are wire gridded, and put in some separation for the males/females, and a separate baby bunny area. (and of course some fun ramps, and dens). This is going to be a LOT easier, and a LOT cheaper, than building a whole new hutch! In fact, I've pretty much already got the materials I need onhand.

I'll have to take pics when I get it all completed.

Originally, I was going to use the stall as a chicken coup, but then we got one from a friend, so this weekend I am moving that to my place. Woo Hoo!
 

Brent S

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So, I'm reviewing my plans for building a new bunny hutch, and my wife hits on an idea. Actually, she hit on it later, when we were out at the stables.

See, we have these two stalls that well....kind of suck for horses. They are kind of dark, and part of the secondary stable, and are really "last resort" stalls, for when we'd be full up (hasn't happened but once).

So, they are kind of sitting doing nothing. She suggests, why not use one of these stalls to keep the bunnies?

GREAT IDEA!

It already has water available, light, and full enclosure. All I really have to do is make sure any openings are wire gridded, and put in some separation for the males/females, and a separate baby bunny area. (and of course some fun ramps, and dens). This is going to be a LOT easier, and a LOT cheaper, than building a whole new hutch! In fact, I've pretty much already got the materials I need onhand.

I'll have to take pics when I get it all completed.

Originally, I was going to use the stall as a chicken coup, but then we got one from a friend, so this weekend I am moving that to my place. Woo Hoo!
One thing you need to be aware of is bunnies like to tunnel. I would like to set up a movable fence that they could eat some fresh dandelions and such, but I've heard they can dig pretty quick. I haven't seen this first hand so let me know how it works out.
 

Gazrok

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It is a good point, so I will have to watch out for that. Pretty hard clay under all the dirt in the stall though. I am building in little "dens" for them, so hopefully they won't feel the urge to do it.

I suppose if needed, I can always put in a floor grid (2"x4"), before I do the construction of the hardware screen walls. Perhaps that would be the best idea.
 

Brent S

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It is a good point, so I will have to watch out for that. Pretty hard clay under all the dirt in the stall though. I am building in little "dens" for them, so hopefully they won't feel the urge to do it.

I suppose if needed, I can always put in a floor grid (2"x4"), before I do the construction of the hardware screen walls. Perhaps that would be the best idea.
Good idea, covering the floor may help keep predators away. The other day we had a rabbid fox out on the road in broad daylight. At first I thought it was hurt by a car, but it didn't seem to be hurt when walking, the DNR guy came and shot it, (I could have done that!) and he said there's lots or rabies in the local foxes here right now. Anyhow, it was a beautiful red fox, and I'm sure it would be able to dig for rabbits!. I'll post some Picts of my new bunnies shortly. Their eyes aren't open yet, and mama is pretty protective right now. One is a Dalmatian, I'm not sure if they will be as large as the pure New Zealand's, but mixing up the DNA is probably wise. What kinds are you raising? I read that if they feel safe and are well fed they won't try to escape, but I still think the fenced floor is a good idea.
 
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Brent S

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There starting to look like bunnies, (vs rats). The Dalmatian on the right is going to be tough not to name. The doe had 8 this litter.
 

Brent S

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I'd like any feedback on wether it would be safe to eat a sickly rabbit. My other doe lost her 11 babies when she stopped eating. I got her to eat again but she never regained all her meat and is still kind of skinny. She dosent seem to be able to be able to breed anymore either. I haven't dewormer her and will try that before putting her down, but I'm not sure it would be wise to eat an animal that's not 100% healthy. I saved another doe to breed and she's almost big enough now. I think two breeding does is enough for me right now, if ever needed it wouldn't take long to ramp up production. As they say, they breed like rabbits!
 

Gazrok

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I wouldn't chance eating a sickly rabbit. Why risk it? I'm not even really sure what type of bunny they are, would have to ask the wife. She really didn't get them as meat rabbits, but because they were cute and lonely at the feed store, and I was a real sucker that day. We thought we were getting two male rabbits, but apparently not. Only one of the babies made it (not uncommon for a first litter), so we kept him around. Once this thing is built out, we'll likely add a female or two.

This week, I'm putting up the chicken coup I got from a friend. I plan to assemble it all during the week, (had to take it apart to get it here), then get the pullets (8) on Saturday. The coup is about 5' high, 12' long, and either 5' or 6' wide. Has 8 nesting boxes, and 3 different perch rods. I'll get pics once it is all up.
 

Brent S

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I wouldn't chance eating a sickly rabbit. Why risk it? I'm not even really sure what type of bunny they are, would have to ask the wife. She really didn't get them as meat rabbits, but because they were cute and lonely at the feed store, and I was a real sucker that day. We thought we were getting two male rabbits, but apparently not. Only one of the babies made it (not uncommon for a first litter), so we kept him around. Once this thing is built out, we'll likely add a female or two.

This week, I'm putting up the chicken coup I got from a friend. I plan to assemble it all during the week, (had to take it apart to get it here), then get the pullets (8) on Saturday. The coup is about 5' high, 12' long, and either 5' or 6' wide. Has 8 nesting boxes, and 3 different perch rods. I'll get pics once it is all up.
Can't wait to see it! As far as the rabbits, if they can get together you will have more shortly! I'm impressed you got one live on the first litter. All of mine lost the entire first litter, which should be expected. I just put a male in with my young doe who is just old enough now. I had roasted rabbit in the lunch room today at work, which grossed out a few. Was pretty good though!
 

Gazrok

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We keep all separate for now. In the new area, we'll have three separate areas, one for males, one for females, and one for desired breeding. Yeah, originally, we planned to sell off any babies, (before knowing the mortality issue), but since one survived, just had to keep him. He's a real pretty bunny too, golden brown in color.
 

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The new babies are growing fast! I don't think my pit knows what to think though! There are 8 of these cute things!
 

Gazrok

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Oh, I don't think I'd trust my big dogs around the bunnies.... I'm glad you can though. With the boxer/pit, I'm probably ok, as he tends to ignore them, but the lab/chow is always interested in the bunnies when he passes the hutches now...

Cute pics!
 

Brent S

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Oh, I don't think I'd trust my big dogs around the bunnies.... I'm glad you can though. With the boxer/pit, I'm probably ok, as he tends to ignore them, but the lab/chow is always interested in the bunnies when he passes the hutches now...

Cute pics!
The pit is a little curious, but I don't think she means them any harm at all. She is a little jealouse of the attention they get though!
 

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I had a friend who bred rabbits on a very large scale. She kept them in a barn in hutches raised off the ground - high enough she didn't have to bend over to do anything for them. The hutches were sized according to the breed size, with "rabbit wire" on the bottom, one side and the front and wood at the back and enclosing the nest box on the other side. On the ground underneath the hutches, the waste would collect and seemed to magically grow huge fishing worms. She said she made almost as much money selling the rabbit manure and fishing worms as she did selling the bunnies. The lesson here, Gazrok and Brent, is if you want even more uses from your rabbits, you put them in raised hutches so you'll have rabbit manure to add to your compost pile and worms for fishing.
And Brent, you worm that sickly rabbit really good, wait about 5 days, then feed her to your dogs. You said she didn't have much meat on her. The raw bones are very good for your dogs.
And that's another lesson I learned. I've bred Great Danes for a long time (although they are all gone now). In doing nutrition research for dogs to keep them on as natural a diet for the species as possible, I learned that all raw bones are really good for dogs and easily chewed up and digested. People will tell you that chicken bones will splinter and hurt the dog. That is true of any cooked bones, be it beef, pork or poultry. Every one of my dogs received a whole raw chicken as part of their diet every day for years and years. Not once did I have a problem.
 

Brent S

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I had a friend who bred rabbits on a very large scale. She kept them in a barn in hutches raised off the ground - high enough she didn't have to bend over to do anything for them. The hutches were sized according to the breed size, with "rabbit wire" on the bottom, one side and the front and wood at the back and enclosing the nest box on the other side. On the ground underneath the hutches, the waste would collect and seemed to magically grow huge fishing worms. She said she made almost as much money selling the rabbit manure and fishing worms as she did selling the bunnies. The lesson here, Gazrok and Brent, is if you want even more uses from your rabbits, you put them in raised hutches so you'll have rabbit manure to add to your compost pile and worms for fishing.
And Brent, you worm that sickly rabbit really good, wait about 5 days, then feed her to your dogs. You said she didn't have much meat on her. The raw bones are very good for your dogs.
And that's another lesson I learned. I've bred Great Danes for a long time (although they are all gone now). In doing nutrition research for dogs to keep them on as natural a diet for the species as possible, I learned that all raw bones are really good for dogs and easily chewed up and digested. People will tell you that chicken bones will splinter and hurt the dog. That is true of any cooked bones, be it beef, pork or poultry. Every one of my dogs received a whole raw chicken as part of their diet every day for years and years. Not once did I have a problem.
My garden area was displaced when I built the greenhouse this winter, so to help the soil I've been using all the manure for it. With as many plants as I have now I don't think I'll ever sell any of the manure as I've seen firsthand now how much good it does with the garden. I also use all the chicken manure in the same way. I have the best looking tomatoes this year that I've ever seen from using it. You're right that it seems the rabbit droppings seem to magically grow worms! This past weekends I shoveled up under the rabbits and literally has 300 plus worms mixed in it. I've just been putting them in the garden as well as I've heard they will help the soil as well. So far I am pretty good about wasting nothing, but it's a good thought that one day I may sell some for extra cash. I think I'll go by a feed store and see what kind of wormer to get for the bunnies. I talked to a friend and her hubby, a vet tech, said they should all be pro actively dewormed two times a year. The sick rabbit is looking pretty good now. I haven't ruled out worms, but it could have been that her first litter was 11 and it was just too much for her. I bred her again recently and will see how she does. I don't doubt that rabbits and chickens would be healthy for dogs, but it makes me smile to even think about my pampered pooch and that. If I gave her a whole animal she wouldn't have a clue. Now cook it with veggies and gravy, then you're talkin! Even if she would eat one, I'd be afraid she would start helping herself when I wasn't around! Hope you have a good day, I'm running late!
 

Gazrok

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Currently, the rabbits are in raised hutches, but I've never seen worms in the droppings. May be an area thing. As for compost, I have horse manure, so no worries there. ;)
 

Brent S

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Currently, the rabbits are in raised hutches, but I've never seen worms in the droppings. May be an area thing. As for compost, I have horse manure, so no worries there. ;)
My friend that started the aquaponics setup has horses as well. He had a patch of chives that he said he only used horse manure in the bed, and those were the most beautiful, flavorful things I've ever had. I may try to get a load of it from someone before long. I have heard that grass seeds pass thru them and will grow in the garden though.
 

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You guys are lucky WRT rabbits, I was thinking of getting some but it turns out in my state it's illegal to own even a pet rabbit because they are such a pest to farmers. Bummer :(
 

Brent S

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You guys are lucky WRT rabbits, I was thinking of getting some but it turns out in my state it's illegal to own even a pet rabbit because they are such a pest to farmers. Bummer :(
Wow, and I thought Georgia had a lot of strict wildlife rules! I learned that to even stop and help a turtle crossing the road is illegal. How in the world did that ever make a law??? I am sorry about the rabbits as they are really good barbecued, and pretty easy to raise. On the other hand, how is kangaroo?
 

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