Silver Fox Rabbit Colony

Demand for more rabbit meat (from my family and customers) prompted me to buy Silver Fox rabbits. They are a beautiful, large breed known for their docile temperaments. I bought several rabbits from four different breeders in Wisconsin.

They are set up on the other side of the barn, across from the angoras. The set up is very similar to to the angoras with a few changes. I have used wood shavings and straw as bedding with the Silver Fox. I use straw with the angoras as I worry wood shavings will be problematic with the angora wool.

I added in dog kennel nest boxes/hidey holes. But otherwise this is the basic set up.

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I try to mimic the burrows that wild rabbits would dig. The cloth tunnels I have had good luck finding at garage sales. They are made for kids, but are expensive in the stores. The metal tubes are from the hardware store.

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The rabbits eat out of chicken feeders bought from Farm and Fleet.

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The rabbits get pellets, oats, black oil sunflower seeds, grass hay and veggies when they are available.

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The bucks are kept in cages inside the colony. The bucks are separated to control breeding and fighting between the other bucks. I like having them inside the colony so that the bucks can still have nose to nose contact with the does, which allows them socialization. I do often times allow one buck free in the colony. He will breed the does, and get some exercise and social time. The bucks are returned to their pens before the does kindle.

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The rabbits form friendships. I often see them grooming each other. I often see the same rabbits spending time together on a consistent basis.

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The only ARBA sanctioned color is black. Breeders are working on getting blue and chocolate accepted. I have two blue does. I have one chocolate carrying buck and one chocolate carrying doe.

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These hollowed out logs make great tunnels. The bunnies love them!

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I am expecting my first Silver Fox litters on the 18th.

Here is a video!

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15 responses to “Silver Fox Rabbit Colony

  1. You have such a great set up!

  2. That looks like an amazing habitat for your rabbits; I’m impressed!

  3. I like this! We drag ours around the yard in big tractors we built, but it’s labor intensive and doesn’t scale up to many rabbits. Now I just need to find a place with a barn. πŸ™‚

    • I’m interested in trying the tractors! Do you have any pictures?

      • This is the one we did first: http://little-avalon.blogspot.com/2011/04/rabbit-tractor-is-finished.html. It’s got a 2×4 frame which is heavy – we estimated this one weighs about 200 pounds. The next one has a PVC frame with 2×2 cross braces and is much lighter, also about 2′ shorter. Two years later, the tarps are probably going to need to be replaced this year but otherwise they still work great.

        In the winter, they stay stationary but we use them to keep the lawn down and fertilize in the yard during summer.

        I built them tall so I could walk in but if I do another round (and I will :D), I think I will make them about 3′ tall and just have a way to lift the whole top to access rabbits and feed. Also, I think a single rabbit would be fine in a much smaller tractor, but it’s nice to have room for multiples. They really do enjoy being together.

  4. Also, the big benefit to cattle panels and hardware cloth is that they’re virtually predator proof, as long as you wire the entire thing. The hardware cloth is on the outside of the cattle panels so nothing can push in. Bears probably could, but I have big dogs and try as they might, they can’t get in.

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  6. Hello, this is a lovely set up for the does and gives me lots of fun ideas for my bunnies but personally I think it’s unfair for the males to be kept in cages & seeing all the does hopping about. Welfare regulations say a single penned in rabbit needs minimum 6ft x 2ft space. I would have several sections along the walled penned off for the males so they could at least get to hop around and stretch their legs. I don’t think letting them out when its breeding time is sufficient either and not regular enough to class as good excersize. I know its difficult having more than one male though.
    Kind regards

    • Thank you for your comments. I’ve tried several different things with my males and they’ve always managed to get out and fight with each other. In nature the males will kill each other to get a group of does to themselves and that urge is still very strong. If you have photos of a set up that has worked for you I would love to see it.

  7. Of course you can set it up so they can’t get out! We have 4′ high 6′ long mesh panels built on a wooden frame. As long as the ground is level and solid they cannot get out or in. You can then join the panels together to suit the shape you want. Your rabbits also need some sort of shelter where they can hide away and I hope thats not a mesh floor they’re on! Really unfair to keep them like this particularly when the can see the does running around nearby. You would be better off seperating them completely from the does but within sight of the other bucks.

    • Thanks for your reply. We no longer raise rabbits but this was the last colony type we did. Our ground was not level at all because of old tie stalls and it was impossible to get panels flat enough(they would go over or under). I found my bucks seemed the most relaxed when around the does and not other bucks. The does would come lay beside them and the bucks were calm. The wire floor for the bucks wasn’t my favorite thing, but my bucks got out an attacked each other when ever I tried to loose house them. They were crafty. I never could find a system I was 100% happy with, which is part of the reason I no longer raise rabbits.

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