Newbie to rabbits

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by gmendoza, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    Ive been reading up on rabbits but there isnt a definitive size of cage people have so here are my questions:

    I have an unused coop im retrofitting for rabbits.Its 6'x3'x6'high with a 18" underrun. Im going to gut the flooring and put plastic chicken fencing (3/4") for easy cleaning. The underrun will not be used except for poop cleaning.

    The first floor will have the bucks coop( 2'x3'x2'high) along with the young rabbits communal coop (4'x3'x2'high).

    The second floor will house the does (2'x2'x2'high)x3 for 3 does.There will be poop trays under the does.

    The front doors to the coop will be taken off and Ill slant the roof and wings on the sides to make an awning to keep weather out but also to have fresh air in.

    Im leaning towards raising californians or new zealands FOR MEAT ONLY!!! NOT PETS!!!

    Advice on meat only rabbits is appreciated.
     
  2. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wasn't able to picture your intended setup, but 36"W x 30" is one recommended cage size for each NZ or CA rabbit. Plus, that way the kits can stay in the same cage with the doe until kits are processed on about day 64, then 7 days after that the doe's new litter should arrive if the doe was rebred on day 40. Everyone has their own way. The same size grow out cages are good if using grow out cages. With NZ/CA's the nest boxes are about 20" long x 11" wide x 10 or 11" tall, so be sure to make the cage doors big enough to handle getting the nest boxes in and out easily. It's about impossible to reach all the way to the back corners of 30" deep cage, though. I use 1/2" x 1" welded wire for cages.
     
  3. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Are you kidding me? 3'x3' cage for one stinking rabbit? That mean my old coop will only house 4 rabbits? There has to be error there.

    Ill just get smaller rabbits.Im not about to make 4 boxes like that for just four rabbits. Not worth the effort.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  4. RabbitMage

    RabbitMage Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I had my meat rabbits they stayed in my 30"x30" cages. The bucks could go in something smaller, but I wouldn't put them in anything less than a 24"x30".

    If you're looking for a smaller meat breed, you might check out Florida Whites.
     
  5. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah I might,I mean I have a "micro" farm. No room for large cages for large rabbits to make large babbies.
     
  6. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Are you kidding me? 3'x3' cage for one stinking rabbit? That mean my old coop will only house 4 rabbits? There has to be error there.

    Ill just get smaller rabbits.Im not about to make 4 boxes like that for just four rabbits. Not worth the effort.

    It was you that said NZ or CA's, not me, lol. They're big rabbits, 12lbs for some does, and with a doe and her litter together as they grow out there could be 13 rabbits per cage, not just 1, unless you intend to process at 14 days. [​IMG]

    Not sure where the error would be...below is the mimimum cage size guideline from ARBA:

    "Rule of thumb is that minimum pen space provided should be about 3/4 of a square foot per pound of mature weight. Therefore, a 10 pound animal would require a pen at least 30" x 36" (3/4 square ft x 10 pounds = 7.5 square ft. A pen 30" x 36" = 1080 square inches = 7.5 square ft.). Naturally a larger pen is not harmful, and how much larger is at your discretion."

    Yep, smaller rabbits are better for smaller spaces, and no matter the size all meat rabbits take effort and good management, so they're not for everyone.
     
  7. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rock Hill,SC
    Quote:Are you kidding me? 3'x3' cage for one stinking rabbit? That mean my old coop will only house 4 rabbits? There has to be error there.

    Ill just get smaller rabbits.Im not about to make 4 boxes like that for just four rabbits. Not worth the effort.

    It was you that said NZ or CA's, not me, lol. They're big rabbits, 12lbs for some does, and with a doe and her litter together as they grow out there could be 13 rabbits per cage, not just 1, unless you intend to process at 14 days. [​IMG]

    Not sure where the error would be...below is the mimimum cage size guideline from ARBA:

    "Rule of thumb is that minimum pen space provided should be about 3/4 of a square foot per pound of mature weight. Therefore, a 10 pound animal would require a pen at least 30" x 36" (3/4 square ft x 10 pounds = 7.5 square ft. A pen 30" x 36" = 1080 square inches = 7.5 square ft.). Naturally a larger pen is not harmful, and how much larger is at your discretion."

    Yep, smaller rabbits are better for smaller spaces, and no matter the size all meat rabbits take effort and good management, so they're not for everyone.

    I meant nothing by it, just was shocked at the abscure size of cages.
     
  8. vicki2x2

    vicki2x2 Super Chick

    Feb 9, 2008
    Central Michigan
    Florida Whites are nice little meat rabbits, we just got some last year. I have also raised NZ and Cals, which are twice the size. You might be surprised when you see the rabbits in the cage how much room they really do take up. I have a stacker that is 24 x 24 and that is ok for bucks or non bred does or youngsters you are growing out, but you will need at least a 24 x 30 for a doe and litter. I prefer to use bigger cages, since they live in them 24/7 and have my cages that are left from my NZ and Cals, so I use those 24 x 30 for individuals and a double cage for a doe and litter. If I get over my limit for my big cages, I use the stacker for my smaller hollands until numbers go back down.
     
  9. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I've got CA and NZ rabbits (on the smaller side), I'm using 30 x 30 x 18h for non-bred does and bucks... an 18" height min is good so the bucks have room to do their job. When a doe is due to kindle, I move them to a 30 x 36 cage w/a nesting box. Once you stick a nesting box inside the cage, there isn't much room for the rabbit to move in. My latest doe has 9 kits... Seriously, a 30 x 36 is going to get small fast!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  10. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Using the ARBA "rule of thumb," 24" x 24" cage = approx. 5 lb. rabbit. Among my rabbit breeds are Holland Lops and Mini Rex; they are housed solo in 24" x 24" cages. Does with litters get 24" x 30" cages, even that can get a bit crowded as the litter grows out. At 6 to 9+ lbs, the Harlequins are my largest rabbits, and within the size range most consider "meat rabbits." I wouldn't even think of keeping a 6 lb. Harlie buck in a 24" x 24" cage; he'd barely have room to turn around, let alone stretch out. Until you see a rabbit in there, you may not realize how small 24" x 24" really is. If you really are that cramped for space, you might consider Dutch rabbits. They have what is considered commercial type, and are small enough (4-5 lbs.) to be housed in reasonable comfort in a smaller cage size. Like bantam chickens, though, the "portion size" is smaller; you might have to let them grow longer to get a reasonable sized carcase (assuming you are going to be the consumer here).

    Rabbit cages should be made of wire that is sturdy enough to support them, and large enough to keep predators out and keep the rabbits in. The standard for floor wire is 14 to 16 gauge wire, 1" x 1/2" spacing. Wire with larger spacing doesn't supply good support for the feet, and can lead to nasty, painful sores on the feet. Smaller gauge wire (like hardware cloth) can sag, giving uneven support, which can do the same thing. The remaining tops and walls of the cage are usually 1" x 2" spaced wire. Unfortunately, baby bunnies can get through spaces that size, as can snakes that will eat the kits. My kindling cages are made entirely of 1" x1/2" wire for this reason, though it is more expensive to build a cage this way. Chicken wire is not a good material for a rabbit cage. Believe it or not, a rabbit can chew through chicken wire, as can most predators (because of the way it is wrapped, it can also "unravel" if pulled hard enough). Rabbits' teeth grow constantly, and a rabbit will chew on any surface or edge it can reach. Because of this, wood and plastic can only be used in rabbit housing if done so that the rabbit can't get an edge to work on.
     

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