Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Rabbit Hutch


NOTE: If you don't like the way we keep our rabbits, that's OK. However, don't bother leaving a nasty comment because I am just going to delete it. I've done quite a bit of research on how to keep angora rabbits and this is the best accomodation I found. If you have a better idea, PLEASE leave a comment with a link to the resource(s). I am always looking for better ways to do things. I'm just tired of all the unhelpful nasty-grams. Thanks!

After a week of feeling like I couldn’t get a project done, it was nice to actually finish one today. Nothing glamorous, but satisfying nonetheless. We sheared the last of our 4 rabbits and cleaned the rabbit hutch.

The rabbit hutch consists of 4 wire rabbit cages (which we made) and a shelter to keep the rain off of the rabbits. They don’t need much protection from the cold – they have angora – but they do need protection from the rain, wind and scorching sun. We positioned our hutch right outside our backdoor in a nice shady spot.

The plastic all around it is to help keep it from getting too cold in the winter. We’ll take it down for the warmer months to allow the breeze to help cool them down.

Cleaning the hutch is pretty easy. Most of the droppings land on the ground since the cages are made of wire. However, some get caught so we use a small shovel or hand trowel to clean them out. Then the fun begins. We use a propane torch to burn the shedded hair off the cages. Ryan was more than happy to do that job. After the cages are clean, we scoop the poop and put it in the garden.

Rabbit poop is great fertilizer and it’s not “hot” so it does not need to be composted like manure. It can go straight into the garden. Now if only the garden fairy would come and dig up our garden so we can plant our carrots…

36 comments:

  1. Rabbits should not be housed on wire.

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    1. My rabbit's hutch has a wire floor, BUT..I have an upside down rubbermaid container for him to sleep and rest his feet. Wire..is no good for there feet. I believe foot problems arise from that.

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  2. Why do none of them have a hutch to hide/relax/etc. in? I also hope that you let them out of those tiny cages and let them run around in a fenced in area.

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  3. Anonymous, Do you keep angora rabbits? If so, what type of housing do you use? I did quite a bit of research on housing them and found this to be the best set up, but I am always open to new and better ideas. Thanks!

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  4. William (willh999@yahoo.com)November 15, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    The set up is very nice and appropriate for your rabbits! You did a great job! The wire cages are by by far the easiest types of cages to clean, and they are much more sanitary for your rabbits. They look very clean and look like a nice size. Keep up the good work!

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  5. William, Thanks for your encouraging comment.

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  6. My cages rabbit handmade bamboo & wire mesh (outdoor).

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  7. Donita, I'd love to see your bamboo rabbit cages. If you can, email me a photo at b@mtnhollow.com. Thanks!

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  8. Adonis--(adonis_antolan@yahoo.com)
    i think Donita's idea is better. i also thought of that but i haven't made one yet for my angora.
    Donita, is the flooring made of bamboo?
    i'd also like to see your bamboo rabbit cage.

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  9. i just came across this and realise it's an old topic, but thought i'd comment anyway.

    yes, wire mesh is easiest for people to clean out quickly, but it's so aweful for the rabbits. rabbits, unlike cats and dogs, don't have pads under their feet. standing on wire all their lives will make their feet deformed, cut and abscessed, they get their toes broken when they get stuck in them etc. you try walking barefoot along the rungs of a ladder (probably about the right size in comparison, and then stand on the rungs of the ladder of about an hour. you probably won't last an hour, because the pressure on the bottoms of your feet is so nasty and you lose balance. these rabbits could potentially spend 10 years (yup, rabbits easily live into their teens when correctly looked after)in that discomfort.

    They also really need plenty of space to play. a pen about 4x6feet per rabbit is ideal, but the more space the better. living in those cages will damage their bone structure, and not being able to use their muscles will make them weak.

    if you insist on keeping them on wire, then have at least 1/3 of the base covered with a plank of wood to rest their paws, or lightly cover the wire with hay or straw. not only will this be more comfortable for them whilst allowing urine and droppings to fall through, they can eat it allowing for a healthy digestive system and keeping their teeth short.

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    1. I completely agree! I myself use a rubbermaid container as a place where he can go in to take cover & rest his feet. I turned this container upside down. I cut out a cave like whole for an entrance. The lid to it is the floor. Now and then I take the lid off to clean it. Oh and he even jumps on top of it like his look out place & other times he will lay behind it. Im thinking of designing a new and bigger home for him. My baby is about 6 yrs old now. :) Keeping pets or breeding animals should not be all about you!

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  10. That's a cool Rabbit Hutch you have there! thanks for sharing this post!:)

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  11. Great post about Rabbit Hutch! Keep posting!:)

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  12. thats looks really inhumane. they have nowhere to hide. and being on that floor will ruin there feet if they dont have a solid surface. and i dont even see any entertainment.

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  13. That's a very creative Rabbit Hutch you have there! keep posting!

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  14. That's a very cool home made Rabbit Hutch you have there! I hope to have one like that to made by myself. keep posting!

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  15. Hi, that's a nice basic rabbit set up you have there. I'm looking at making something like this for my outdoor rabbits as shelter over their cages. Are the uprights sunk into the ground or sitting on top? How does it stand up to high winds? Thanks!

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  16. Those bunnies are being kept in in humane conditions - in the UK, where I live, you would be having a visit from the RSPCA and these poor rabbits taken away from you and found homes where their owners understood how to take care of an animal properly. The wire is too painful for their feet. You are obviously too lazy to bother to care for them and clean them out daily. Rabbits can be litter trained, and will use a tray to wee and poo in. Your rabbits have no space to run around and nothing to do all day. The RSPCA MINIMUM requirement for a rabbit is 150cm long, 60cm wide and 60cm high. What do your rabbits do for 24 hours a day, every day? Do they just sit there and grow fur for you to shave off? They can't hop around like they are meant to, interact with each other and have any quality of life whatsoever. If you were in the UK I would have reported you for cruelty.

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  17. I think this is terribly cruel. Why have bunnies if you are going to treat them like prisoners. What miserable lives. Poor things.

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  18. How sad that people leave negative comments and are not constructive. I like your setup and keep doing a great job.

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  19. While I provide a small section of the cage floor to be solid it is not a requirement in the US, and for those of you who are being super negative and stating that you would turn in someone over rabbits being in an acceptable housing structure in the place that they live just because you don't like it is entirely wrong. Not only is this person trying to keep them in cages that provide the best type of ventilation for the extremely woolen rabbits who need to have the air flow especially in the summer months they are trying to keep their homes sanitary. Yes they should have a larger space to play in, but it is not required here. You are in the UK which obviously has different standards to keeping wool producing live stock. Yes they are cute and fluffy, yes mine are my pets and we let them out to act like bunnies but that is because I chose to go above the regulations, the person who built this was following the suggested requirements. If you cannot comment something productive to help them maybe improve without sounding rude then maybe you should not post a comment at all.

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  20. Hi Beth, I know this is an old thread so do you have any updates on your rabbits? I have NZW's and a few Cali's. I am only about 1 year into it, but I know one often rethinks their designs and makes adjustments as they go. I have redesigned my setup twice already and have moved away from the hangin cages to a hutch type system and added a 24"x24" enclosed box to the side of each cage. Also, I dont know a ton about angoras but I know that fiber rabbits have more thick fur than other breeds... even on their feet. I plank may not be necessary but I have some 8"x12" untreated pine boards that I place in the wire section of their hutches. Even if they dont sit on them they all like to gnaw on them. Anyway, I wish you luck.

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  21. I think the set up is awesome ! I like the torch idea for cleaning, if my hutch wasn't comprised of wood and wire, I'd use it.

    How cold does it get where your located? I'm in Northern Michigan, so I'm trying to figure out how I can use your idea up here... without freezing my rabbits ( they're not Angora so they're a little less protected against the cold).

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  22. Just because a lot of space isn't legally required doesn't mean it shouldn't be provided. This setup is nice when it comes to human convenience (easy cleanup and keeping most of the weather at bay), but that isn't the only thing that rabbits need to be happy and healthy. Rabbits that don't get to run around as they are designed to do get arthritis, but since no one is around to watch them hop around normally except in a squished environment, you'd never know. I doubt they're taken to a veterinarian for a yearly checkup to catch it either. Broken toes still happen on wire bottoms even when resting spots are provided. If clean wool is all you're after, then this is good enough, but this is like keeping a kid in a bathroom and opening the door once a day to offer a daily ration. If they must be kept outdoors, I'd recommend creating one larger "run" that they can get some exercise time in daily. It may take more time to clean if a solid surface or bedding is provided, but since they are giving you fur, is comfort and prevention of injury too much to ask? If run time is done on the ground, yes they may get dirty if bedding isn't changed, and you'll have to clean them if you want them pristine. If you chose to keep ones with such a coat, that should have been taken into consideration as well as their mental happiness and health issues when they were acquired. I have jersey wooleys and they are kept indoors as house rabbits in a 4'x2' cage with exercise in a bedroom daily. Why not keep them in a place that they don't have to worry about the cold at all, or a place to hide if predators come by? Working at a veterinarian's office we have treated many broken toes from everyday activity, as well as broken legs and other injuries when rabbits raced around frantically when a predator approached. While this may come across as a "feel-good" or "hug-a-bunny" approach, it's still proven in veterinary science, and better accommodations should be given, even if our laws haven't caught up yet.

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  23. This is disgusting. Absolutely sick.

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  24. They must be so bored and frustrated :(

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  25. I can't afford to buy a hutch for my rabbits and i do not have enough equipment to make one. Do you think it is okay to keep my rabbit in a large fenced area in my backyard? It has shelter and all but the ground is concrete and they don't really have a proper bed. Please no negative comments.

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  26. More specifically, their home is around 11 square meters.

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  27. I like the basic idea but for me I am planning on a bit bigger cage 2 by four or even four by four with a run for half of the day by having it underneath it

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  28. I'm shocked and disgusted and my heart goes out to these poor rabbits stuck in those cages!! What is wrong with you people??? Please get better housing for your rabbits and let them have room to run around! So sad.

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  29. This has made me feel sick!!!!How would you like to be stuck in a small cage 24/7 for the rest of your lives.....Rabbits need room to run and Hop and explore...this is cause for real concern...in the uk these rabbits would be removed and taken to a better home...I'm shocked that some think this is OK to keep any animal like this let alone rabbits.....The rabbits need to be cared for in roomy and boredom free homes...very very sad:(

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  30. People are emotional. Keep in mind, what are the rabbits for people. Many of you complain about wire cages...I would complain if you had wood cages...smell, disease, flys, filth, yuck. All wires is desirable for sanitary issues...hello...get a clue. Also, this is a special breed...how many Angora rabbits are in the wild...hmmm...none. So, they can not be on the ground and yes, they are being raised for their fur. Hello...fur. It needs to be clean. So, please...please, climb off your high horse and get a life. The owner is not in Britain, so you Brits...shut up. It is quit rude to say the animals would be taken away. Sure, like no Brit has wire cages too small. Whatever!! Bottom line...keep a watch now. Let's keep a score card here.
    Angora rabbits..special man made breed, son not wild rabbit...needs mans help to survive. 1 point
    Long hair so not living on ground. 2 points.
    No nasty wood with disease and stench. 3 points.
    Perhaps a board to sill on, true, minus one point.
    Air all around, nice and cool and covered from rain. 4th point, but minus 1 so back to 3.
    Oh, and for you people that think they are suppose to be social...hmmm...they also kill each other and would breed when you do not want them to. So, individial cages are 1 point.
    Now, the writer did not mention if they have a rabbit run. So, can not kick them on that. So, shall we add up the points. Four out of five with one point unknown...so is that 80% or what. Not bad in my book. Beth you rock on. No worries about ignorant people. Hopefully they come back and read this and get school. Peace.

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  31. I have an Angora buck. During the summer he has a pen that he goes in on the grass under a tree. There he is able to stretch, hop, lay, dig and eat fresh grass. He does get the occasional leaf and dirt in his fur, but it brushes out. Every morning before I start working he goes out. Then every night when the sun has set he gets put in his wire cage with plenty of fresh hay to eat and lay on. It's a lot of work, but I chose to take on a rabbit.

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  32. Love your set up. Very functional, clean and safe. Buns set up in closed in areas can develop respiratory issues not to mention problems dealing with the heat. This set up is nice and airy. The buns are suspended at a nice height to keep them safe from predators. I'm sure these buns are happy as can be. Keep up the good work. If people think this is bad they should do a search for actual inhumane conditions. Kudos!

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  33. A rabbit needs to run around - that can't happen there. Furthermore wire have a tendeny to hurt their feet very bad - how is that dealt with? Would you like to stand and lie om wire 24/7?
    And why don't they have a house to go inside? I know there is a shelter, but still ... Wouldn't you like to have some privacy yourself sometimes?

    It can be done so much better and way more rabbit friendly. But yes, that demands more time in cleaning and caring.
    Never keep animals unless you're willing to do what it takes to make them have an amazing life.

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