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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few questions about rabbits:
1) Has anyone tried free range rabbit ranching with a rabbit hutch and rabbit run but with the rabbits released during the day to forage on grass?
2) Are rabbits at serious risk of predation in a semi-rural area during daylight hours? We do have coyotes as well as some feral cats in our area but the coyotes are nocturnal for the most part and are shot on sight by just about everyone.
3) Do rabbits have an instinct like chickens do to return to their hutch where there's a supply of food and water?
4) Can rabbits and chickens share the same run or will the roosters attack the bunnies?

In a normal situation I can just buy the feed but in a prolonged SHTF situation I need a better plan to keep rabbits fed. Note that I do not currently raise rabbits. Thanks
 

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Rabbits don’t have “roosts”
Feral dogs, feral cats ,birds of prey ( youDO NOT want to get caught shooting one of those).
Wild rabbits are nocturnal I suspect domestics that survive long enough will revert.


Build a rabbit tractor and move it frequently , they will be enclosed and protected
 

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I know of instances of red hawks killing an adult cotton tail and then a pet domestic hare. In both cases the rabbit was too big too carry off and hawk was observed eating the kill on the ground. Likely the same hawk.
A well constructed chicken tractor seems to be a good idea. My area now days has a lot osprey and bald eagles along with the lesser birds of prey. Then there are the coyotes, foxes, and now days in NWFL we have hungry bears also along with cougar plus other critters.
you must guard your rabbits for sure.
 

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Rabbits don’t have “roosts”
Feral dogs, feral cats ,birds of prey ( youDO NOT want to get caught shooting one of those).
Wild rabbits are nocturnal I suspect domestics that survive long enough will revert.


Build a rabbit tractor and move it frequently , they will be enclosed and protected
Fence around it and use stock panels to keep it mobile, and run a couple goats inside, and they'll keep the smaller predators away. If you have a donkey in there, it will keep off the dogs.

I've done this with chickens, and stomped raccoon is quite a sight to behold. Hadn't given much thought to rabbits in tractor pens, but I just might try it.
 

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All dogs, feral or not will get after rabbits if they get a chance. Especially if they run as a pack when they are out loose. Rabbits dig burrows up to 3 feet or so deep and sometimes many feet long back under the surface. If you build a rabbit tractor it will need strongly fenced bottoms. I have some experience with building a predator-proof rabbit cage (DEFINITELY NOT MOVABLE the way we built it). The one we built is still serving well and no predators have gotten in and no rabbits have tunneled out. I would utilize chain link fence for the sides and bottom and then wire in some 1/4' hardware cloth three feet up the side. This will help keep snakes and smaller predators out.
 

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We had a rabbit get out last summer. He stuck around for 4-5 days but we could never catch him then he disappeared. About the only thing I could imagine offering them in the summer that would keep them in the area when there is so much other food around would be soybean meal that is left over after making soy milk(it is sweet and mine went crazy for it)

That wouldn't solve the predator problem. Rabbit is at the bottom of the food chain and everything will eat it if given the chance:cats, dogs, birds, wild or tame.
 

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Medieval England and Wales had fenced rabbit warrens. They would shoot the rabbits (bows?) when they came up out of their burrows for food. Not sure how efficient it was in terms of food per acre of land. I would suspect that if you do this, it might be best not to run horses in there afterward due to the possibility of broken legs due to all of the burrow holes.
 

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I started out with a tractor for rabbits ,,,it ended up being smaller than needed pretty fast ,,,so I built a bunch of little dog houses inside a fenced area ,,,that worked fairly well until I expanded[at this point I was keeping a dozen does and a couple bucks as breeders] to add more pasture and didn't add chicken wire around the bottom as I had in original fenced area,,the little ones could get threw the 2x4 woven wire and the went everywhere, ,by fall I would have about a hundred running around even with some loss from critters

as far as them going nocturnal they didn't here ,,,the biggest lose was from owls who would wipe out a litter in a few days so mine fed during daylight and hid at night,,only the young that had not figured it out in time got hit ,,,took a few years befor the vast majority hid at night
 

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Not likely to work but there are towns where feral domestic rabbits are established. Helen Georgia had quite a few in town. There is some college town as well. Rabbits can be raised in rabbit arcs. Similar to a chicken tractor. The bottom needs to be slotted. If the clovers and such are bent over, rabbits apparently are too dumb to eat it.
 

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CAW!

we had a rabbit years ago that decided to go free range. He lasted about a month before he disappeared. I'm hoping he found a better home but before he left he had one eye taken out by what i assume was an owl at night.

After he was gone we never saw hide nor hare.
:d::d::d::d::d::d::d::d::d::d::d::d:
 

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There was a video of a young woman who had a system of moveable hutches contained within electric fencing . Finding it again and nuances of how it worked escape me now but made the impression she had been fine tuning the system and worked out a bunch of the issues . Sorry this is not more helpful , I have been trying to find it again .
 

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A few questions about rabbits:
1) Has anyone tried free range rabbit ranching with a rabbit hutch and rabbit run but with the rabbits released during the day to forage on grass?
2) Are rabbits at serious risk of predation in a semi-rural area during daylight hours? We do have coyotes as well as some feral cats in our area but the coyotes are nocturnal for the most part and are shot on sight by just about everyone.
3) Do rabbits have an instinct like chickens do to return to their hutch where there's a supply of food and water?
4) Can rabbits and chickens share the same run or will the roosters attack the bunnies?

In a normal situation I can just buy the feed but in a prolonged SHTF situation I need a better plan to keep rabbits fed. Note that I do not currently raise rabbits. Thanks
I do not think this idea is practical. I am not sure there is a market to support it if it were.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Medieval England and Wales had fenced rabbit warrens. They would shoot the rabbits (bows?) when they came up out of their burrows for food. Not sure how efficient it was in terms of food per acre of land. I would suspect that if you do this, it might be best not to run horses in there afterward due to the possibility of broken legs due to all of the burrow holes.
I admit I don't know much about domestic rabbit breeding but I have been rabbit hunting many times. There appears to be some confusion over the habits of N. American rabbits and those of their European cousins.

Native N. American rabbits do not dig warrens. The adults are mostly solitary and will create a small depression in the ground in high grass to sleep in. This is especially true of jackrabbits. I have seen a case where it appeared that a conttontail was holing up in an old woodchuck den but I'm fairly sure that he didn't dig it himself.

Does anyone know if most domestic meat breads were bred from European stock or did they come from the cottontails? I'm assuming the former.

Another dumb question: Let's say I have enough rabbits to keep me supplied with the meat I need. Would it make any sense to release a breeding pair or two into the wild in the hope that they will create a wild breeding population in my area? From previous posts, I'm guessing that predation would probably get the domestic rabbits that may have had their survival instincts bred out.
 

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Looking at it from the other end of the irrigation pipe, Prepper Ed, I occasionally catch a wild rabbit and breed her back into my bunnies. Growth efficiencies take a bit of a hit, but it does get rid of some of the defects that tend to creep in from having a small gene pool.
 

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I have several wild bunnies here that are out all day long, there is even a pair that are short eared . I am surprised the other predators haven't taken them yet .
They tunnel in and out of my chain link fence all the time .
 

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I found the video of a movable hutch system surrounded by reinforced cattle panels ( I think this is updated from the first video I had seen where she used electric netting and she reports in this video that she had an unacceptable loss with only electric netting) :


If you had no objection to the labour of additionally moving all the fencing you could move sections of electric netting fencing on the perimeter to help guard against predators or one could design permanent rabbit secured fence so that you only moved the partitioning between the permanent fence ? This system is designed to work on level ground.
 
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