Rabbit cage experimental build

Eggscaping

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After my partner got metal shelves for storage in her bedroom, I got the bright idea to use them as the foundation for my upcoming experiment of raising meat rabbits. I'm going to use them because the floor spacing is good for letting the pellets fall through - I'm using dog kennel replacement trays underneath, that will slide easily out to dump rabbit poops on the garden - rabbit poop being a 'cold' manure which doesn't need to be aged before use. An added plus is the trays are easily cleaned, as will be the metal 'foundation' racks. The actual front/sides, top will be wood frame with hardware cloth and the 'house' for the rabbit to sleep/hide in will also be wood.
Here are a couple of pictures of the shelves with pans...we are just starting this and it's an experiment. There will be 4 cages in all - one for the buck, two for two does, and a grow-out cage for the babies. They'll also have a movable 'tractor' that we can shift around the yard enabling them to eat grass, drop poop, and not have to spend all their time in a cage. I think the cages will be large enough though, the size of the trays which are: DIMENSIONS: 40.75”L x 26.5”W x 1.25”H
The cages will be 20 inches high. The breed of rabbit is going to be cinnamon, a medium sized rabbit with good meat to bone ratio and said to be good parents.
I would love to hear comments/suggestions on the cage idea.
 

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Eggscaping

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On the bottom? I plan to use 1/2 inch hardware cloth around the sides on the doe's cages, for when the babies first leave the nest...up six inches or so. Do you think I should use a similar temporary hardware cloth on the floor for when the little ones are still very small?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I would. I've only bred 2 litters, so I'm no expert. I have read that babies don't do well on wide spaced wire. I'm not sure if the adult will be okay. Be sure to put some plywood down to give them a break from just wire. I am interested in seeing if you idea works out.
 

Eggscaping

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Thank you. The rabbit cages will all have a closed-off nest box as well, with a solid floor, for them to retire into for privacy. Raising rabbits is brand new to me too, so this is all a learning experience.
 

Eggscaping

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I would. I've only bred 2 litters, so I'm no expert. I have read that babies don't do well on wide spaced wire. I'm not sure if the adult will be okay. Be sure to put some plywood down to give them a break from just wire. I am interested in seeing if you idea works out.
Here's what we got done today...would have been more but we had to go on a hunt to a close by town to find the right cage wire.
 

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Eggscaping

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Looks pretty good. :)
Got them finished yesterday, and fastened tarps all around today. The transparent plastic roof lets light in, and the tarps can be unfastened when it's not windy enough to blow cold air or rain into the cages. Each cage is set with straw in nest boxes, and a 'dog kennel replacement tray' underneath. Friday I pick up the rabbits. One young buck, one young doe, and one senior doe, already pregnant - because the breeder had a snow collapse take out some of his rabbits and didn't have another young doe. Supposedly this doe is a really good one though, and an excellent mother. I have 18% protein pellets for young rabbits and pregnant does and 16% for the buck. I have a bale of meadow hay. I have the clip-on pellet feeder boxes, the clip on water bottles, the hay mangers, and ....am I forgetting anything?
I've never raised rabbits before, so this is all new to me - I've done a lot of reading though.
 

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oldhenlikesdogs

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I never imagined how good these were gonna turn out. You did a great job. It's definitely an idea others could replicate.

I've got a few rabbits that like to dig out their pellets. I've never used the big feeders. They look easier than feeding everyone daily. I also had troubles with the hay racks. My bunnies would pull them off a lot, plus one ended up with it caught in its hair. Mine are half lionhead.

Did the breeder use the water bottles? Mine will only drink out of crocks. I apparently have spoiled rabbits. :)

I think senior experienced doe is better than an untried one. So you got a good selection in my opinion.

You will need to give them wood to chew on. Either fresh branches, or blocks of wood. Otherwise they will slowly chew your wood to wear their teeth down.

@21hens-incharge come look at this wonderful idea. :)
 

21hens-incharge

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Nice job!

I only had one food scraper. For that bunny I put a flat tray under the feeder area. It worked ok to catch the spillage and she would eat it from there. She only did it when she was grumpy with kits.

Yup they need a way to wear their teeth down. It is a good idea to do weekly tooth checks to make sure you hey stay aligned and are wearing well. I had an elderly buck who must have injured his teeth somehow. He was great for many years ,hen suddenly his bottom teeth were outside the upper. He had to have them trimmed every month.

I look forward to pics of the new kids.

By the way heat is way worse on bunnies than cold.
 

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