Today is Day 20 of our 30 days of homesteading Q&A on the podcast where we are answering your questions about homesteading.
Today’s question is “I’m going to start raising rabbits for meat but I’m trying to decide if I should raise them in cages or in a colony, which is better?”
On this podcast episode I will discuss:
Colony Raising Advantages
- Cleaning is easier
- Feeding and watering is easier
- Rabbits are happier, rabbits get to be rabbits.
- Cheaper initial setup cost
- Overall it’s less personal one on one care which means less time involved.
Colony Raising Disadvantages
- Rabbits become more skittish and act more like wild rabbits.
- Catching the rabbits can be a bit of a challenge when it’s time to separate them and take them to the grow-out pen.
- possibility of a fight.
- Unrestrained breeding.
- More susceptible to diseases like Coccidiosis and the spread of illnesses.
- Takes up more space on your property.
Basically, everything in the advantages and disadvantages is totally opposite when it comes to raising rabbits in cages.
Raising rabbits in cages certainly does have its benefits so you just have to assess your situation to decide which one will be best for you.
If you go with a colony, the setup of the colony will make all the difference.
- Provide at least 10 square feet per adult.
- Provide multiple levels for jumping and playing and plenty of hiding places for the rabbits.
- Protect your rabbits from weather and predators
- Rabbits will dig holes if you let them so if you don’t want them to you will have to fence the bottom of the pen.
- Keep things clean by preparing the ground to have good drainage and providing deep litter.
- Provide several locations for feeding to reduce fighting.
- Provide lots of nesting places and materials for the does.
- Include a buck but have a place where you can separate him for a while if you need to.
- Have your grow-out cage ready and be prepared to find and separate the kits at twelve weeks.
Some great resources for raising meat rabbits:
- Growing Nuts on the Homestead: Guest David Hughes - September 27, 2023
- Creating Wildlife Habitats in Your Garden: Reasons and Methods - September 26, 2023
- The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments by Nigel Palmer - September 20, 2023