We have been raising domestic meat rabbits for the past twelve years. The first thing we learned is that what works for the farmer down the road may not work for someone else. We have experimented with different type barns, cages, feeds, breeds etc. It has taken us all this time to finally figure out what worked best for us.
We raise New Zealand White and Californian rabbits for meat production. We prefer the New Zealand does to the Californian does. We have found that the New Zealands are better commercial producers. We sometimes crossbreed the Californian buck to the New Zealand doe for our fryers. We also breed New Zealand to New Zealand.
Then came the hurricanes in 2005. We lost all three of our rabbit barns and many rabbits in the storms. We had to totally rebuild our barns. The barns were built similar to our old barns just with more reinforcement. The first barn we built was 175 feet long and 12 feet wide. This barn is 14 feet tall and is constructed of white tin. The tin comes down partially on the sides leaving a open area of about 3 feet. It has a six foot cement walkway down the middle and the cages are hung down each side. Our cages are 30 inches in length and width and are 18 inches in height. That is the size cage we have found to work best for us.
The next two barns were built a little differently than the first one. The barns are not as long, only 100 feet and are not as tall. They are still 12 feet wide with a cement walkway in the middle. The cages in these two barns are also the same size as in the first barn and are hanging down the sides. We are still using the white tin. The main difference is the roof. The roof is less pitched and used less material.We ended up building five additional barns. They are also 100 feet long and 12 feet wide and were built using white tin and a similar design . Currently (2011)we have approximately 500 breeders. There is still a shortage of rabbits all around the country. Can you believe that, not enough rabbits!
Here are some pictures of the barns.