Raising Rabbits: Colony or Cages?

Today is Day 20 of our 30 days of homesteading Q&A on the podcast where we are answering your questions about homesteading by featuring one question per episode and providing an in depth answer for 30 episodes.

Today’s question is “I’m going to start raising rabbits for meat but i’m trying to decide if I should raise them in cages or in a colony, which is better?”


On this podcast episode I will discuss:


Colony Raising Advantages

  • Cleaning is easier
  • Feeding and watering is easier
  • Rabbits are happier, rabbits get to be rabbits.
  • Cheaper initial setup cost
  • Overall it’s less personal one on one care which means less time involved.


Colony Raising Disadvantages

  • Rabbit become more skittish and act more like wild rabbits.
  • Cacthing the rabbits can be a bit of a challenge when it’s time to seperate them and take them to the growout pen.
  • possibilty of a fight.
  • Unrestrained breeding.
  • More succeptible to disease like Coccidiosis and the spread of illnesses.
  • Takes up more space on your property.


Basically everything in the advantages and disadvantages is totally opposite when it comes to raising rabbits in cages.

Raising rabbits in cages certainly does have it’s benefits so you just have to asses your situation to decide which one will be best for you.


If you go with a colony, the setup of the colony will make all the difference.

  • Provide at least 10 square feet per adult.
  • Provide multiple levels for jumping and playing and plenty of hiding places for the rabbits.
  • Protect your rabbits from weather and predators
  • Rabbits will dig holes if you let them so if you don’t want them to you will have to fence the bottom of the pen.
  • Keep things clean by preparing the ground to have good drainage and providing deep litter.
  • Provide several locations for feeding to reduce fighting.
  • Provide lots of nesting places and materials for the does.
  • Include a buck but have a place where you can separate him for a while if you need to.
  • Have your grow out cage ready and be prepared to find and separate the kits at twelve weeks.


Some great resources for raising meat rabbits:

Facebook Groups:

Backyard Meat Rabbits

Rabbits In Colonies



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Homesteader, Blogger and Podcaster at Small Town Homestead
I am a husband to Mary and father to three daughters. My family and I are striving to become more self sufficient everyday as we grow our own food and pursue a more natural and organic lifestyle.

Posted in Livestock, Podcast and tagged , , , .


  1. Hi there. I’m new to your podcast, but have been binge listening like crazy!! Am loving it. Thank you for all you do to support others who are trying to get into this lifestyle–not just for ourselves, but for the next generation. I do have a question. I can’t remember in which podcast you brought up the topic of non-GMO feed, but do you have any suggestions for growing your own non-GMO, organic feed for rabbits? Do you grow alfalfa (which, of course, has so many benefits for the soil anyway)? Thanks much!!

    • Hi Angela, thanks for listening and commenting, i’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast. When it comes to feeding rabbits in a healthy way I like to use fodder during the winter months that we sprout at home using different things such as black oil sunflower seeds, oats, wheat, and barley from a local source that is whole and non treated, I don’t grow any of it myself because I don’t have the space on my property. Some things are more difficult to sprout as they are more prone to mold but I do like the idea of giving the rabbits a little variety in their diet. In the summer months I forage for them more than anything giving them grass, dandelion, plantain, mulberry leaves and other things I know they can eat.

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