24 Carrot Rabbitry

City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Posts Tagged ‘projects’

Homemade compost tumbler

I’ve been wanting a compost tumbler.  We generate enough yard, rabbit, and kitchen waste, I should be able to make some slammin’ compost!

Where my uncle works, they get plenty of things in 55-gallon metal drums, so we were able to get one for free (Thank you, Uncle’s boss!).  It had some sort of solvent/denatured alcohol stuff in it, so we let it air for a long, long time.  Months.  I know these barrels aren’t normally favored for this, but by the time Shay started working on it, the residue was gone.  It just smelled of rusty drum.  Some cement, some wood, some wheels, and some hardware, and Shay has turned it into a compost tumbler for me.

My new compost tumbler!

It rides on wheels, and is turned by a handle on the side. I do have to be careful as I am bringing the handle back up and around, that I don't lift it off of the wheels. Occasionally, it does start to roll off track, but, as long as I keep an eye on one of the wheels, I catch it quickly and just reverse the direction until it pops back into place.

Holes drilled in the ends, and in a row along the bottom, ensure good air flow through the contents and also help release excess water.

A file made these edges safe. I don't run my fingers along them on purpose, but I shouldn't get cut on them by accident.

I’ve already filled it up with dropped hay, bunny berries, garden trimmings, and such.  Now I just need to paint it black!

I rotate it every day or two, spraying the contents with water when needed.  We don’t have a lawn mower (my grandmother made my uncle get rid of it so he wouldn’t mow the yard anymore because of his age — so someone else cuts the yard), so I can’t grind the stuff up before I put it in there.  This will make it take longer to turn to compost than if I was able to shred everything up really fine.  Oh, well.

Shay admits that it cost more in the end than he expected because of the hardware (had to be suitable for outdoors), but I have a compost tumbler, and I’m happy! :)

Mostly finishing the rabbitry…

When I left off, the rabbitry wasn’t under roof yet, so I figured I’d better post the rest!

Shay started the roof off with a board screwed to the side of the building to which we were attaching the rabbitry.  To that he added the rafters, and then he capped the ends.

Rafters were screwed with metal hurricane ties to the board attached to the building.

Detail of rafters attached to the building.

Detail of cap attached to rafters, and rafters attached to the structure with metal hurricane ties.

Detail in the other direction. The backlighting of the sky was such that I had to modify the colors.

Another view. Shay spaced the rafters out more than you normally would, because they don't bear much load at all.

We set three posts along the front of the rabbitry into dry concrete mix.  This makes for a stronger concrete over time.  We poured some dry mix into the bottom of the hole, set the post in, and poured dry mix around it.  We used a rod to poke up and down in the mix to help work air pockets out, and also hammered the 4×4 to vibrate the mix (making sure we kept it plumb).  Once they were all done, we wet the top of the concrete down with a hose to allow the top to set quickly.  The rest sets over time, as it pulls moisture from the surrounding soil.  It results in a more dense concrete, and you don’t have to stop working to let it set!

View of one end of the rabbitry, with the corner post set in dry concrete mix.

Detail of a corner post set in dry concrete mix.

Detail of center post set in concrete. To keep the structure straight, the board you see across the doorway is a permanent fixture. I was afraid we were all going to kill ourselves on it, but, surprisingly, we all seem to remember the thing is there.

Umm… I just realized that I don’t have my pictures of the thing with the corrugated metal roof on.  I’ll hunt for them and put them in another post.

Rabbitry pics… almost done!

Naturally, before starting a project like this, it is necessary to check your local laws on keeping animals and building structures.  Where we are, a structure of less than 100 square feet with no floor does not require a permit, and rabbits are not explicitly mentioned.  Dogs, cats, goats, chickens, snakes, and all kinds of other things are, but not rabbits.  Since we are keeping only four rabbits permanently, our setup should be no problem.  We are endeavoring to make it blend in with the house as well as possible, and to make it look nice.

Most everything is done but the roof, now.  Hopefully, we’ll get it roofed tomorrow.  Nevermind the heat advisory…

Rabbitry basic structure. The space in the upper row is for a small extra cage I have that is currently occupied. In the future, it will be a segregation cage.

Cages are suspended from the corners at an angle.  The chain is held by heavy wire staples.

Cages are suspended from the corners at an angle. The chain is held by heavy wire staples.

Bracing and supports for poop chutes added, and upper chutes added. They drop five inches from back to front.

Bottom poop chutes installed, as well as gutters. The gutters drop three inches from ends to center. Doing them like this instead of from one end to the other allows for a greater incline. Dropping 3" over 12 feet is a gentler slope than dropping 3" over 6 feet. A light rinsing daily should keep them from blocking up. They will drain into a pan of peat moss.

Rabbitry moved into place, and screen surround started at left. This structure is being built on the back side of an outdoor storage room, so coming across the window isn't a problem. Light will still come in through the window.

Screen surround finished. The surround is built of the old window screens that used to be on the house. They need painting, but we'll get to that later. When it's COOLER! Oh, and that's a fig tree at right.

A view from the other side, through the crepe myrtle tree, with another very small fig tree at left. You might notice a square of lattice at the back of the surround. That is to protect the old screen from the aspidistra right beside it. Unfortunately, you can't see much of the aspidistra in this picture, since it is being blocked by the fig tree. It is under the ligustrum shrub.

As you can see, Hershey, the young red rabbit in the middle, is anxious to move into the new rabbitry, where he won't be squashed by his mother any longer.

It’s too hot!

We are building a rabbitry, and we are confined to early mornings and late evenings, because it has gotten so hot so quickly! 90 degrees with 90% humidity is just brutal, and time to go inside.

We have the rabbitry itself finished now, so tomorrow morning we will move it into place and begin enclosing it. The cages are all hung already, and the waste chutes are done, and the gutters for carrying it all to a pan are done.

We are incredibly blessed by some of the ways we’ve been able to save money on this project. My uncle had saved some chain for years, which we used to suspend the cages. He just had his hail-damaged roof and gutters replaced, so we had our gutters. And the security system on the house rendered the window screens unusable, and they’ve been sitting on support under the eave of the house ever since. We’ll be using those to screen in the entire rabbitry (most of them are 8′ tall), and we’ll roof the whole structure. One screen will become the door.

I am really looking forward to our rabbits having room to spread out, and a setup that will be much, much, MUCH easier to keep clean!

I will be posting pictures soon.