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It is what it is.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have previously been using cattle to suppliment my dogs food. (Mastiff breeder here with lots of dogs) I am putting in a privacy fence and want my meat supply to be inside the enclosed 2 1/2 acres so I obviously do not have room for more than the milk cow and a calf in the lower pasture even with additional hay as most of the yard will be taken up with gardens and orchard. Long story short I am going to switch to rabbits but I do not know how many I will need to be sustainable.

If I wanted 20 rabbits a day every day of the week how many does do I need to keep? (I do not need to clean or cook them so that is not the issue I just need to know how many it will take to produce the proper amount of meat.)
 

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It is what it is.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
From their numbers I would need around 240 does. So maybe I will just do part in rabbits. I like the feed to meat ratio but taking care of that many small animals in cages could be very time consuming. Does anyone know of a way to do rabbits in a mass cage without issues. I just do not see having to fill 240 water bottles a day.
 

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stubborn old broad
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From their numbers I would need around 240 does. So maybe I will just do part in rabbits. I like the feed to meat ratio but taking care of that many small animals in cages could be very time consuming. Does anyone know of a way to do rabbits in a mass cage without issues. I just do not see having to fill 240 water bottles a day.
You cannot keep breeding rabbits in a mass cage, but you can pen-raise the litters as you raise them to eating size.

You can construct bulk all-wire cages that are combined individual cages for your breeding does- the watering system used is Lix-it nozzles on 1/2" PVC pipe running through your cage banks and connected to your household water system. Feeding is still usually individual feeders.

JMHO, but you are looking at a major investment in setting up a large rabbit raising operation, since it is by necessity a total confinement system with store-bought commercial feeds and necessitates a significant degree of mechanization in feeding and manure management

If you are looking strictly at these critters for dog-food, I would raise fowl instead. A bird can hustle a good deal of its own food, does not require confinement and will have a good feed conversion ratio at the least expense. Have a mixed flock with plenty of banties and they will brood new biddies with no interference.

Having raised both rabbits and chickens in 3 digit herds and flocks, I would vote for chickens in a heartbeat, in terms of labor requirements, health requirements and capitol requirements.
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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You can raise what we call "colony" rabbits. It's where you just throw them all in a pen. I'm trying to build a free-range colony that has 6 does, and it's a little over a quarter acre of space. I'm in the beginning stages, so I honestly can't tell you if that's going to be enough space. They'll work in much smaller space if you want to feed them pellets and hay. I have 3 does and a buck who seem quite content in a 20 ft x 20 ft pen, and I feed them pellets and weeds from my garden.

There are a whole host of things to consider when raising colony rabbits. You have to cull frequently, or the males will tear each other apart. You have to have ample secluded places in the paddock so that the does can kindle in peace, and you can only count on them breeding 2-3 times a year.

I've been waiting on this buck to breed these does for two months now to no avail. I've seen the actual act occur, but that doesn't mean the pregnancy took, let alone survived.

Anyways, 240 does would have to be split into MUCH smaller colonies, like 24 ten-rabbit colonies, if for no other reason than managability. And, if you wanted to free-range them, you're talking about 6 acres of pasture for them to eat, plus more for their brushy shelter.

You can get more out of your land for less if you employ rotational grazing techniques, but rounding up 240 rabbits every 3 weeks to move paddocks doesn't sound very fun to me, haha.

Good luck! :thumb:
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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That guy or gal's got a great point.

If you're not endeared to rabbits, like raising SOLELY for dog food, I'd raise chickens instead for a multitude of reasons.

1. You can incubate the eggs, controlling the frequency and number of hatches.
2. They are omnivores, and free-range much better than rabbits.
3. They'll eat *ALL* the bugs out of your yards, pastures, and gardens.
4. They will naturally free-range during the day, and return home to roost at night, making them more managable, as well as less cost-intensive to feed. My chickens eat fly and other insect larvae straight out of my compost pile.
5. Chicken meat is less "taboo", should you decide you want to liquidate your surplus.
6. Chicken meat has more fat on it than rabbit meat.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are more reasons. Something to think about.
 

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patriarch
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I don't know if this is a realible source or not , but how about a contract with the local butcher shops for their trash meats? I've raised rabbits for years and rabbits are territorial. They are not a herd animal. Very protective of their young. I would suggest an alternitive to rabbits. Chickens are a herd/flock animal and will raise chick from other hens.
 

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It is what it is.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think you are all correct. I am looking for something SHTF proof because right now I go through 50lbs bagged dog food + meat every day and you can only store a years worth. I am expecting a bad economic situation which would put anything outside my fence at risk for theft. The chickens are a good plan I already keep some and like them. I could even do it with just eggs and then occasional hens + maybe some meat goats and pigs. Basically it comes down to more of a space issue than a feed one. My neighbors all raise cattle and cut hay so buying hay is not a big deal. I can easily do a dog diet based upon potatoes and a protein source with yogurt from the cows milk and various veggies so I can feed them off my land IF my meat animals do not take a walk.

Thank you for saving me from disaster I am just not up to that many rabbits:eek:
 

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As many know, I am a big proponent of raising rabbits for meat. However, like others have said, they may not be the best choice for your purpose. IMO, I think maybe you could raise fowl and rabbits. Chickens may be the biggest bang for your buck. Setting up a rabbitry on that scale would be expensive and would take years to cover. I think rabbits are better on a small scale. On a large scale fowl is more economical. You may also look into raising fish. I don't know if they would meet your nutritional needs of dogs but certain types of tilapia can reproduce on an unbelievable scale in warm temps.
 

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to get 20 harvestable rabbits a day you will need 2-3 does haveing litters everyday.im not going to do the math but 240 does sounds about rite.yu can get a litter every 45 days, or 30 days if yu like. but its not good to push a doe for more than 4 or 5 litters a year.240 does plus enuf buks to breed them would eat a trukload of feed every week.not to mention how hungry a pen of weaned rabbits are.if your in a hot region like i am in MO. you wont get any production for about 2 months in the summer.maybe 3 months. even with fans and misters when its hot rabbits revert to the just stay alive mode.not to mention feeding and watering that many buns would be a full time job.

colony rabbits in huge pens could be a choice but they usually produce way less than caged buns.they lose more babies since you cant watch them as close.

be cheaper to just buy sum dog food.
 
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