Rabbit Raising: How to Start a Colony

Raising rabbits is a great way to make some extra money. Rabbits are easy to care for, you can sell their meat and fur, they reproduce quickly which means that colony raising rabbits will not take up too much of your time or resources. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require some work. This article will discuss how to start a colony of rabbits so that it is successful from the very beginning!

What Conditions Do Rabbits Need?

Colony raising rabbits need a number of things in order to be healthy and happy colony members. The first thing that you should do is build at least two different hutches for the rabbits. You will want one as their primary living space, which needs to include an area where they can sleep and eat but also someplace where it is warm enough for them to be comfortable. The other hutch should act as the colony’s bathroom area, which you will need to clean out regularly (at least once a day).

Every colony needs an established hierarchy in order for them all to get along and work together effectively. This means that there must always be at least one dominant member of the colony who is in charge. Female rabbits are more likely to take on this role, but male colony members may also do so if there is not a large enough number of females in the colony. These colony hierarchies can be particularly important when you start new colony babies because they will need an older rabbit (a mother figure) who looks after them and teaches them how to live and survive.

What Kind of Rabbit Should You Use?

One of the most important aspects of colony raising is selecting a colony breed that you want your colony members to be. There are many different kinds of rabbits, each one with its own set of unique characteristics, which makes it difficult for someone who has never raised rabbits before to make a decision. In general, colony breeds are usually medium to large in size with a calm temperament and a gentle nature. Some popular colony breed choices include:

  • New Zealand rabbits 
  • Californian rabbits 
  • Flemish Giant Rabbits 

What Should You Feed Your Colony?

In addition to shelter and warmth, your colony will need access to a high-quality colony diet in order to thrive. The best colony diets will include a mixture of vegetables and grasses as well as some grain supplements such as oats or wheat bran. Some colony members may also need additional food that contains more protein, which you can provide by feeding them alfalfa hay (which is higher in calcium than many other types of hay).

How to Prepare the Hutches for Your Colony

Since rabbit colony members will be spending a lot of time in their hutches, it is important that they are clean and comfortable. To make sure your colony’s hutch is prepared properly, you should first build two separate areas: one as an eating area and another as a sleeping and bathroom area.

  • The eating area should be filled with hay to make it comfortable for colony members to eat their daily meals. You can also include some fresh vegetables or fruit in this part of the hutch as well, but only feed them small pieces because rabbits cannot digest large chunks very easily. 
  • The restroom section of the colony hutch should be lined with shredded newspaper. This area will need to be changed out at least once a day in order for your colony members’ living conditions to remain sanitary and comfortable.
  • The sleeping area, which can also double as an eating space if you place some hay here too, only needs its linens replaced every one to two weeks.
  • You should also provide your colony with water that is fresh and clean for them to drink at all times, which you can do by setting out large bowls or watering cans so the colony members themselves will be able to access it whenever they need it.

How Do Rabbits Behave?

Rabbits are very intelligent creatures, which means they require a lot of attention and care in order to feel safe and comfortable. Since colony rabbits are living together in close proximity (which is not always the case with individual colony members), these behaviors will be even more pronounced in colony situations than they would otherwise. Some things you should expect from your colony members include:

  • colony members will be very active during the day, which means they should have access to a colony hutch or outdoor area that is large enough for them to run around and play 
  • rabbits are also crepuscular creatures who mainly sleep at night, so you can expect your colony members to start getting more active again as soon as the sun goes down 
  • colony members should also be allowed to make their own schedules because rabbits are known for being very picky when it comes to eating and drinking, which means they may not eat or drink much while you’re around but will readily accept food and water from another colony member instead.

How Can You Tell if a Colony Member Is Sick?

Rabbit colony members are generally quite healthy creatures by nature, but there are still some signs that you should look for in order to tell if a colony member is sick. Some common symptoms of the illness include: 

  • lack of appetite or loss of interest in food 
  • weight changes (loss or gain) 
  • change in colony member’s habits, such as sleeping more or less than usual 
  • watery eyes and/or runny nose 
  • lethargy when colony members used to be active 
  • changes in bowel movements that include diarrhea or a decrease in the number of times per day that your colony members seem to need to go potty.

If you notice any of these symptoms in one colony member, it is important to keep an eye on all your colony members and watch for signs that they may also be sick. If a colony member does show signs of illness, the cause could range from infections caused by injuries or diseases to food poisoning due to poor diet choices.

How Can You Keep Your Colony Members Safe?

One of the best ways to keep colony-raising rabbits safe is by making sure they have access to a colony hutch that will protect them from predators. Since many predator attacks occur at night, having your colony’s hutch located near or around other buildings can also provide some protection because their presence may deter nocturnal animals from coming near your colony.

It is also important to make sure you provide colony members with a balanced diet that includes fresh vegetables or fruit in this part of the hutch as well, but only feed them small pieces because rabbits cannot digest large chunks very easily. The restroom section of the colony hutch should be lined with shredded newspaper. This area should be cleaned once a day to two days, depending on how many colony members you have and the size of their hutch.

How Can You Tell if Your Colony Members Are Happy?

The easiest way to tell that your colony members are happy is by simply keeping an eye out for signs of happiness such as: 

  • running around and playing 
  • colony members getting along with each other or grooming one another (which is a sign of affection in rabbits) 
  • nesting behavior, which involves your colony members digging and rearranging the hay in their hutch to form a sort of nest that they can sleep in at night.

If you notice any of these signs among your colony members, you can breathe a sigh of relief because it means they are happy and healthy colony members!

How to Keep Them Safe?

You can keep colony members safe from predators by keeping their hutch in a place where it will be protected. It is also important to make sure you provide colony members with a balanced diet that includes fresh vegetables or fruit and clean the restroom section of the colony hutch once every day or two days depending on how many colony members there are and what size the colony hutch is.

If you see signs of happiness such as your colony members running around and playing, getting along with each other, or nesting behavior (digging and rearranging hay in their colony hutch to form a sort of nest that they can sleep in at night), then it means your colony members are happy and healthy!

How Clean Should the Surrounding Be?

Since colony members are small creatures, it is important to make sure they have a clean surrounding. This means the hutch should be cleaned as well as any toys or food and water dishes that your colony members use every day. If you keep their living quarters clean on a regular basis, then there will likely be less of an issue with illness among colony members since colony members are more likely to get sick when in dirty surroundings.

How To Keep Order in a Colony?

Rabbits can be quite social creatures and they love having companionship from their colony mates; however, it is important to remember that colony mates can also fight with one another. If you notice any signs of fighting such as the ones below, it may be a good idea to separate colony members for a little while so they can calm down and take time to get used to each other again without getting into physical altercations.

  • bites 
  • scratches  
  • colony members running away from each other or not allowing colony mates to come near them 

In order for your colony members to stay happy and healthy, it is important that their living quarters are clean on a regular basis. You should also make sure they have enough food and water as well as companionship from other colony members. If you notice colony members fighting with one another, it may be a good idea to separate them for a little while so they can calm down and get used to each other again without getting into physical altercations.

FAQ

How Big a Rabbit Colony Should Be?

A colony raising rabbits should be big enough to house at least two colony members. If you get more than one colony member, make sure their hutch is large enough for all colony members and that it has enough straw or hay in the bottom so they will have a place to sleep.

Is Raising Rabbits for Meat Worth it?

It is always a good idea to research whether or not you would actually want to raise colony members for meat before getting too involved in the process. It can be complicated and time-consuming as well as emotionally difficult, especially if colony members become sick after you have already bought them home with plans of raising them for food later on down the road.

How Many Rabbits Should be in a Cage?

It is important to remember that colony members are social creatures, which means they should be kept in cages with at least one colony mate. Even if you only plan on keeping one colony member, make sure their hutch has enough room for them to move around and sit comfortably as well as a place for them to hide when they feel scared or want to rest.

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