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Rabbits: colony approach

 
                                
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I have the opportunity to get as much grass as i want that has been cut from the common areas of a my complex for free deliverd to my door. This is grass + all the weeds that are mowed down regularly. I want to use it (less to be moved away by the waste man! And a good resource i hope) - was hoping to use rabbits to eat the grasses, hot compost some, add a small amount to my Worms(not enough to heat it up to much) + use it for bedding for my future quales.
So the idea is feed as much as possible to the rabbits who will live above my worms who will convert the manure. I want to hot compost the rest then try feed the compost to the worms also. Use some for bedding for my quales and supplement there feed with worms (assuming they eat worms). I would love for you all to pick this idea apart, and suggestions on any other ways to use it would be greatly appreciated. I ony have 30m3 in which to work and my pottential amount of grass is up to 20 bin bags of grass per week
 
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tentoes wrote:
I have the opportunity to get as much grass as i want that has been cut from the common areas of a my complex for free deliverd to my door. This is grass + all the weeds that are mowed down regularly. I want to use it (less to be moved away by the waste man! And a good resource i hope) - was hoping to use rabbits to eat the grasses, hot compost some, add a small amount to my Worms(not enough to heat it up to much) + use it for bedding for my future quales.
So the idea is feed as much as possible to the rabbits who will live above my worms who will convert the manure. I want to hot compost the rest then try feed the compost to the worms also. Use some for bedding for my quales and supplement there feed with worms (assuming they eat worms). I would love for you all to pick this idea apart, and suggestions on any other ways to use it would be greatly appreciated. I ony have 30m3 in which to work and my pottential amount of grass is up to 20 bin bags of grass per week


Are fertilizers/pesticides used on that "common area?"  If chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used I would pass on that greenery.  If the lawn clippings are not fertilized and no pesticides are used I would spread it out and dry most of it and then feed it to my worms and let them break it down.  Dried out it will give you excellent "straw" for covering the manure from you rabbits.As for feeding it to your rabbits I would be careful unless you are certain that it pesticide free and does not have any plant materials that could make your rabbit sick.  There are some plants that you should avoid feeding to rabbits.  Just some thoughts......... Peace
 
pollinator
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Location: Stevensville, MT
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Paul talks about the colony approach in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/429-podcast-075-gaias-garden-chapter-7/
 
Dave Bennett
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Suzy Bean wrote:
Paul talks about the colony approach in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/429-podcast-075-gaias-garden-chapter-7/


I have no choice at this time so my rabbits live in hutches inside my mobile home.  It was a lot of work removing the poop every day but I put a worm bed beneath the hutches and now there is no smell and I have to clean much less often.  If I could keep them outdoors I would prefer it but raising them here in a mobile home park as a food source is prohibited.  When I left the farm I had to reduce my "herd" to 2 does and a buck. 
 
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chowan Hatfield wrote:

T. Pierce wrote:
but how is putting them in a colony easier than raising them in a cage?

the very first post said "raising in colonies.....opposed to raising in cages......is arguably less work"



I run both colonies and cages depending on the time of year

and during summer a colony is much less work because it cuts down on feeding time by a heap for example i probably only need to feed and water them weekly in a colony.

I dont need to worry about over heating so it saves me having to mess with
sprinklers or ice pack.

where i dont agree with the OP is that i believe cages are in many ways safer and healthier for the rabbits especially during breeding season




Do you have photos of your cages/colony you can share?
 
Posts: 221
Location: Zone 6a, Wahkiacus, WA
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goat hugelkultur purity forest garden trees woodworking
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wow, great posts y'all!

I am running about 12 rabbits in cages. and we have a "play pen" and tractors to run them around in as well.

I had the idea of setting up a sort of colony arrangement for them a few days ago. Low and behold it was already being talked about here at Permies!

Can those of you who are working with the colony system post some pictures of your set up? it would be much appreciated as I continue to design a more holistic system for the bunnies.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Posts: 292
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I've enjoyed this page http://www.flickr.com/photos/17046555@N06/3824787486/ for their colony approach. Seems logical and I like the feed station setup with worms underneath. This is going to be my approach
 
David Miller
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Heres an update on my first go at colony meat rabbits (and any rabbits for that matter). I have two does, one brown mutt, one white NZ doe with grey eyes and one buck White NZ with red eyes. I have them in a barn atmosphere with a window with 5 panes 'removed' and chicken wire over it to prevent escape. There are three nest boxes that I've built but the buck doesn't use the third at all so I'm considering a third doe. I have a nipple water system with four drinking stations, two pellet feeding stations and one hay manger. I've been drying my own alfalfa and rye grass to feed them but haven't gotten past the pellets yet (priority!). The mutt brown doe gave birth first on March 10th to 9 kits while the NZ white doe gave birth to her first litter on April 19th of 8 kits. Everyone is getting along well though there is an inherent flaw in my system that I will be addressing after my move in August, that being that the does are not getting a rest period between pregnancies. After my move I am going to build a separate area for the buck so that he can be 'quarantined' after births to rest the females. Some videos to check out if you're interested
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD2uW9Newr0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tlJjqqhBmI
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Also for the record I'm attempting to create my own Farmer proof stock so I'm not coddling the kits or does in any way besides encouraging them to eat their little tails off. Everyone is happy in their space but I will be adding more sq/footage to the next layout, things are a little tight with 17 young ones joining the colony.
 
David Miller
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Update: After just two and a half months I've had to sell off my buck because both does are already on their second litter before the first is even full wiened. 36 kits and counting, butchering soon.... After the heat of the summer dies down I'll buy in another buck to restart but in my new build out I'll be building a bachelor pad too. It was kind of nice to sell him though because I got what I spent for him and I don't have to feed him for the summer.
 
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Need some preliminary information about rabbits. I like the colony idea, but really don't know anything about them to get started. I am on 14 acres so I can build a nice big pen...

I need a book... can anyone recommend a good book for a city chick who has fled to the country and is out of her league but would like to eat nice, tasty, fat rabbits on a regular basis?



 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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My preliminary homework was done with this handy dandy little book.

Raising Small Livestock: A Practical Handbook [Paperback]
Jerome D. Belanger (Author)
http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Small-Livestock-Practical-Handbook/dp/0486440389/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1370358465&sr=8-8&keywords=small+livestock+book
 
David Miller
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Also, If I had your acreage and the time I'd have my rabbits on pasture. The colony is nice though for building up manure reserves.
 
Ima Newbie
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hadn't thought about pasturing them.

that's why the book will come in handy though...

I wanted to think this part of the homestead thoroughly before we bought in, but hubby found some dutch bunnies for $2 so we have 3 does and a buck

now I need to know what to do!



 
David Miller
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The book will do you well then, I'm new to rabbit husbandry as well, liking it so far too (unless I remember when my dogs broke in and killed two litters).
 
Ima Newbie
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Yep, my dogs have taken a large interest in the bunnies...

Just a matter of time before I'm smacking noses for bunny sniffing.

hopefully won't have to beat doggie butts for having a pre-dinner snack...

 
David Miller
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Best reaction ever, I butchered a 'test bunny' this weekend and left the ofal in a bucket for my dogs. When my Anatolian Shepherd got her turn to pick a piece from the bucket the head was her's in a heartbeat. Couldn't have seen a happier dog! She's been dreaming of that moment for months....
 
the navigator
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Ima Newbie wrote:Need some preliminary information about rabbits. I like the colony idea, but really don't know anything about them to get started. I am on 14 acres so I can build a nice big pen...

I need a book... can anyone recommend a good book for a city chick who has fled to the country and is out of her league but would like to eat nice, tasty, fat rabbits on a regular basis?



I bet you are interested in more than rabbits, and the book to get is without a doubt Carla Emery's Encyclopedia for Country Living. When Paul Wheaton first recommended it I went and got it, and I loved it big time. I have given it away three times so far, and it's an immense collection of useful information. The last time I had a use for it, I didn't read the book first, but I read on the internet and used specialised books and it turned out Carla Emery had the best solution. So it costed me a day or two of work not to re-read her section about it first, plus I don't know how much time researching unnecessary information.

edit: and if you are first up to buying books, Square Foot Gardening is THE herb- and vegetable gardening book for the beginner. (he don't emphasize companion planting much, nor mulching or other sustainable soil building techniques (ok, he does state that building your own compost is the best) or other permaculture techniques, but still it is so good and I regret not having bought it earlier) And Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden is soo awesome, it is packed with high quality permaculture information, and it is so information dense, but still it's almost poetic. It's beautifully written!
 
Humans and their filthy friendship brings nothing but trouble. My only solace is this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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