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Creative Rabbit Housing Opinions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We are getting two American Chinchillas, and are trying to figure out the best scenario for housing them. I've been reading books, reading a lot on the internet, and surfing pinterest :). As many people say one thing is good, others say the opposite, so I'd like to get opinions here too from those who actually have rabbits. Which may just be opening a can of worms! 

 

What I am trying to determine is where and how to house them. Ideally, they would be able to be out on pasture in a rabbit tractor or run some part of the time. So, questions:

 

We plan to build them a 2 level hutch with a ramp, a couple boxes, and some areas of wire and some with not to rest their feet. Does this hutch need to be elevated? If so, how much and why? Predators or parasites?

 

We have a bunch of ducks, and thought of putting the hutch over near them and the garden, but I'm worried about potential parasites on the ground over there (duck poop, etc). Valid or no?

 

Is a rabbit tractor or run something that is feasible while avoiding parasites? As you can see, parasites are my main stressor....ugh!

 

Thanks for any ideas or pics of your setups!

post #2 of 9

I don't have any rabbits and haven't in several years but I'm thinking about making some wire cages with tin roofs that can be moved over the grass. Here is a link to the kind I'm considering.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMZleocFsdU

I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
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I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
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post #3 of 9

P.S. I've heard good things about the American Chinchillas. Where are you getting yours?

I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
Reply
I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
Reply
post #4 of 9

Well according to the ARBA website an American Chinchilla is required to have at least 4 feet squared of cage space. So if I'm correct with my math (ugh math) it will come out to the sides being 2ft x 2ft. But that is just the minimum requirement and that seems a bit small for a Chin. 

 

I raise Holland Lops, which are considerably smaller than American Chins. I'll just explain my housing situation. Half of a woodshed has been sectioned off and turned into a little barn with a floor. We have 2ft x 2ft stacking cages with dropping pans in there. They can stack three cages tall so I can put 12 2ft x 2ft cages in there. In the barn I also have one 30in x 30in cage and I plan to get two more. So I will have 15 cages (at least) in the barn along with all the feed, transport cages, and supplies in there as well. Now I say barn, but really its just half a woodshed, with a plyboard floor. The whole front wall is a big barn style door so when you slide it the whole front wall is gone. They have on window in the big door and I plan on putting another window/fan in the back wall. I really like this setup the only problems I have are.. 1. During the hot summer days it gets stuffy in there. So I need to put another window and fan in there. 2. Having the wood floor is comfortable, but the bucks' spraying always leaves stains on the floor. So usually my does are only in the barn. 3. If I keep the dropping pans clean then it's ok, but if I am not diligent in keeping it clean the smell does build up pretty badly. When it wheaters very bad I just leave the big door shut and the window open. If you'd like I can post pictures. Sorry for such a long paragraph.

 

Next I have some outdoor hutches. They are actually quail pens converted into rabbit hutches. They are probably 1 1/2 feet off the ground. Then 12 ft long and I'd say about 6 ft wide. I could have made the cages a bit bigger in there, but I only made 6 cages in there. All the wire is made up of hardware cloth. But, warning even hardware cloth doesn't keep out all the predators. Some dogs did kill two of my rabbits and the dogs just ripped through the hardware cloth. So some more fortification is in store. The roof is made up from tin and an old truck cover. I have three different variations of outdoor hutches and I'll post some pics later.

post #5 of 9
If you leave your tractor, they will dig out. I had to cover my rabbit run in wire, then add soil back above that for the bunnies'digging pleasure.
Amy
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Amy
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post #6 of 9

When the local rabbit rescue looks into the history of any rabbit they take in that has worms, almost always, the rabbit has been on the ground. If there are wild rabbits in the area, a domestic rabbit on the ground can pick up whatever parasites exist in the wild population. 

 

One of the main reasons for the all-wire cages is sanitation. Yes, the wire is hard on the rabbits' feet, but so is sitting on urine- and feces-coated wood. If you want to have solid areas for the rabbits to get off the wire, you need to make them easily cleanable, because the rabbits most likely will soil them.

 

How much of an issue predators are will depend on your area. If a dog (or something dog-like) is determined enough, it will get into a rabbit cage or tractor. Even if it doesn't get into the cage, if it can get under it, it can bite the rabbits' feet - or worse (believe me, it can get much worse). The best thing is to keep the rabbits in an area that at least has a perimeter fence that will keep a lot of predators away from the rabbits. Rabbits are instinctively afraid of snakes; I have had rabbits kill themselves diving into nest boxes when a snake crawled through the rabbitry. (Obviously, there is only so much you can do about them). Rabbits are also afraid of things that flap overhead (think, "large, predatory bird"). While your rabbits may not actually be accessible to hawks, you want to make sure they have cover so they won't feel exposed to anything that may fly over them.

post #7 of 9

Thanks for all your great information. My plan is to make moveable tractors with wood slat bottoms or 2x4 inch welded wire bottoms and 2x4 inch wire sides and then wire mesh. I have a fenced in side yard that is shaded with trees but has grass and weeds. It was used in the past as a day-care yard for children. I don't know about parasites but that is a concern. Thanks for the time to address all these concerns. I only want 2 or 3 does and a buck for meat. I have a large family. I have had rabbits in the past but it was a very long time ago.

I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
Reply
I am the original Red Neck Woman, the Wildbunch AKA my children, and my husband have recently moved to the boonies. 3 1/2 acres with 3 ponds and surrounded by woods.
Reply
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kangasox View Post
 

Does this hutch need to be elevated? If so, how much and why?

The advantage of elevation for me is that I don't have to crouch and bend as much.  My bunnies now have 2-storey houses,  the downstairs is running around room, and the upstairs is where they have their dinner and do their poo.  It is so much easier for me to serve the dinner and take out their toilets without having to crouch down and it's also easier to pick them up without having to bend down to fetch them out.  

post #9 of 9

To rid the problem of a rabbit getting worms could you build a hutch off the ground (so they are not living on the ground) and then if you will be home in the evening let the rabbits out into a little separate pen in the grass that they can play in, of course under supervision. I have a friend that lets her bunnies play in the garden and she watches them to make sure they don't eat the veggies. I'm just asking, can the rabbit still get worms if they just play on the ground every now and then? I personally couldn't do this because I have too many rabbits and it would take to long, but you might could do it since you'll only have three.

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