Choose the best method for housing meat rabbits. Housing consisting of hanging cages, a rabbit colony, and stackable meat rabbit cages are ideal. Which method to choose will depend on the space available for raising rabbits.
The decision to raise rabbits for meat is never a light one to make. The general public does not refer to rabbits as a meat source unless they have been hunted.
But that’s about to change for you. You are about to own your food source, and it is best to have all the knowledge at hand prior to jumping in.
Throughout this article you will find information about breed selection, feeding, and housing. However, in this particular article you learn in detail the 4 various methods for housing meat rabbits, pet, and show rabbits.
Housing Meat Rabbits
There are 4 types rabbit housing available. Three require the use of wire for flooring. Housing rabbits on wire is controversial to some, mainly those who raise rabbits as pets.
The use of wire flooring is not inhumane to rabbits. Simply knowing which type of wire to use, and providing a rest pad, will help to minimize the issue of sore hocks.
Sore hocks, also known as pododermatitis, occurs when housing rabbits on wire. This is a very common condition in both, meat and pet rabbits. Sore hocks is both, preventable and curable, learn more below.
What are Sore Hocks and How to Minimize the Issue
Due to excessive pressure on the feet, sore hocks can occur. The bottom of a rabbit’s foot develops inflamed sores. Infection sets in when the sores go untreated.
There are many factors which contribute to rabbits getting sore hocks. The more common issues being excess weight and wire mesh flooring in cages.
To prevent sore hocks place rest pads, also known as, cage mats, into the rabbit cages. Rest pads allow rabbits the opportunity to be off the hard wire as needed, minimizing the risk of sore hocks from forming.
Natural bedding such as straw, sawdust, and hay can also be used. Straw is safe for rabbits to nibble, and provides warmth during the winter months since it holds heat.
Natural bedding immolates the soft ground, and works great with wire flooring. However, once the bedding has become saturated, immediately discard it.
Hanging Rabbit Cages
Hanging rabbit cages are ideal for those who have space. Because of the size, hanging rabbit cages work best in barns or customized structures.
Individuals who practice permaculture gardening value hanging cages. The cages allow urine to instantly soaks into the earth, leaving the feces above ground.
The feces is then harvested and distributed throughout the garden as instant fertilizer.
Individual hanging cages minimizes the spread of diseases. Due to minimal contact with other rabbits, the risk of contracting the following diseases is minimal: snuffles, Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, and respiratory issues. Because rabbits do not engage with each other coccidiosis between herd members is not an issue.
Aside from customized hanging cages, stand-alone cages are also available. These handcrafted cages are movable, making them ideal for the barn, small structures, and even in the garden.
Hostile Hare constructs prefabricated stand-alone cage. Here is information about the cages:
- walls and ceiling made with 16 gauge inch by half-inch welded wire
- floors made from inch by 1/2 inch 14 gauge GAW (galvanizd after weld) panels, added width of wire makes a more comfortable and clean floor
- customize cages available upon request
- shipping is currently the least expensive on the market
Secure the cage to the material of choice. Justin used recycled trample material to created legs.
Rabbit Colony Housing
Aside from hanging rabbit cages, rabbit colony housing is quite popular. Unlike meat rabbit cages, colony living allows rabbits to interact with each other. Male rabbits, bucks, are kept separate from does and kits. This prevents unwanted breeding and fighting.
The set-up for a rabbit colony housing is ideal for barns or structures constructed for housing rabbits. Colony housing is designed to mimic a rabbit’s natural habitat.
There are concerns with this type of rabbit housing. Viral illnesses spread rapidly when housing rabbits in a colony. However, with good husbandry practices in place the spread of illnesses is kept to a minimal.
Learn more about raising rabbits in colony housing in this article, The Ultimate Guide to Raising Meat Rabbits in a Colony.
Meat Rabbit Cages – Stackable Cages
Stackable cages are another form of meat rabbit cages. Stackable cages are ideal for those with space restrictions. The cages work well in smaller buildings and even a garage.
The stackable cage design requires the use of drop pan to capture waste. Drop pans must be emptied regularly, especially during the summer months to minimize flies.
Select a designated area in which to dispose of the waste, add natural carbon to minimize odor. Or dispose of waste into the compost pile.
Rabbit hutches also make for good rabbit housing. The construction of this type of housing is more expensive than the others mentioned.
Hutches are independent structures and do not require being kept in a barn or smaller building. The flooring found in hutches consist of wire. Adding stress pads and/or natural bedding will prevent sore hocks.
The key to selecting the right rabbit housing is to determine which type of cage will best fit your property size. One final tip, purchase or build the best housing you can afford. A ‘re-do’ is an expensive second chance.