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How long should a hutch last?

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby hotzcatz » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:51 am


Image

The pictures are from when the hutches were first made, they're now about five years old.

How long does your hutch last? I was cleaning the hutches today and noticed one floor plate had significantly more wear and rust on it than the others. Not quite sure why, but I'm guessing rabbit pee. It can be repaired and last a little longer, but that floor plate will have to be resurfaced with new wire probably before the end of this year or definitely before the end of next year.

The hutches here are both about five years old, now, is that about the right length of time one should expect a wire floor to last? It's 1" x 1/2" galvanized wire on wooden frames. The hutches were made in a modular style so when a floor plate wears out, it can be removed and fixed without having to disassemble the entire thing. The last hutches had wire nailed directly to the wooden frames so when the wire floor rusted though the whole hutch had to be semi-disassembled to replace the floor.

Image

The floors are where most of the wear and tear shows up, although one door has had to have a new set of hinges installed. Today, one of the water tanks for the automatic water supply was disassembled and cleaned since mosquitoes had gotten in after the top screen had a hole kinda eroded through it. The plastic bucket seemed to be becoming fragile, though. It will probably need to be replaced within a year just from the plastic falling apart. Maybe I should find a metal bucket to replace it with, but that would probably just rust away instead of fall apart.

Are there methods or materials which can be used to create a long lasting hutch? Well, there is, but I suppose the actual question is: "are there any cost effective materials which can be used to create a longer lasting hutch?"

Am I expecting too much out of the hutches or is this a kinda normal rate of decay?
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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby a7736100 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:04 pm


Pee is corrosive. Some of my metal urine guards have rotted through.

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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:13 am


How long did it take for them to rot through? Were they galvanized metal or painted?
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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:16 am


when building cages, I always get the heaviest gauge wire I can get, and make sure it is "galvanized after welding"
[not,.. Lowe's, Home depot, or Tr supply wire]
The extra cost of "premium" wire is nothing, when compared to early floor failure.
Nowadays, I am building floors from 1/2 inch conduit... the results are not in yet...
When I built cage floors from 14 gauge, 1/2 x 1" ,double galvanised after welding, [and kept them clean] I would usually get at least 15 years from a floor...

https://www.kwcages.com/1-2-x-1-x-14g-x-24-gaw.html
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby hotzcatz » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:43 am


I'll see if I can source that type of wire for the next time I'm replacing the wire in a floor plate. Not sure if it's available anywhere on the island and shipping would be a touch expensive to get just one roll shipped in.

The PVC coated wire looks nice, but it's even more expensive. Hmpf! Is there any way to treat galvanized wire with some sort of spray on coating? Bunnies wouldn't be idiots and gnaw that off the wire, would they?
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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Ghost » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:12 pm


I would think a decent hutch design would be to assume that the wire floor would be replaced. For a practical design, I would say build them so that the floor could be replaced without having to completely disassemble the hutch. It looks like the structure is made of wood. How is your wood holding out? The problem with wood is that it can soak-up urine. With moisture and nutrients from urine, the bacteria can go crazy and basically eat/dissolve the wood.

The hutches I used, and many I have seen used, are galvanized wire all sides. These are usually thrown out and completely replaced when the floor rusts out.

In the OP, you said "cost effective materials", so that would rule out making the floor of woven stainless steel mesh. Which are sometimes used for lab animals with the appropriate budget.
You have to do the most good for the most. You must remember that a few won't make it. Don't be ashamed to shed a tear for the ones lost along the way, we will not hold it against you. Just remember "the herd goes on".

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Re: How long should a hutch last?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby hotzcatz » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:34 pm


Drooling here with the idea of a woven stainless steel mesh floor, but {sigh!} that's not in the budget! Being in Hawaii, we also have limited places of supply and expensive shipping rates if we buy it from somewhere off island.

So far most of the wood portions seem to be holding up pretty well. There's a couple of the automatic water nipples that had dripped and then there was some moss growing there, but the wood below is fairly intact. All the parts of the wood that can't be reached by bunny teeth has been painted, that has been protecting it from the weather.

Most of the urine seems to be on portions of the wire instead of the wood, which is a good thing, most likely? On the next hutch, I'm thinking of stacking the walls differently so there's no wood below the floor wire inside the walls.

The floor wire wearing out in previous hutches which required deconstructing the entire hutch to repair it is what changed the hutch construction methods for the current hutches. There's big floor plates that can be replaced separately from the rest of the hutch. It's looking like several of the floor plates are going to have to have new wire put on them after only five years, though.

How long do all wire hutches last? I'm using galvanized 1" x 1/2" wire from Tractor Supply (although in Hilo, it's called "Del's") and other than Tractor Supply, Home DePot, Ace or Lowe's I'm limited on sources of supply unless I'm willing to pay a lot for shipping.
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