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My setup (with Pictures)

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#1  Unread postby TheChad » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:40 pm


Hi everyone,

I wasn’t sure where to make my first introductory post, so I figured why not here since I have pictures of my setup.

I am a first time rabbit owner. I got in to it to supply some meat for the family and give us a larger variety of meat to choose from. We eat a lot of chicken, so this just made since. I had a friend growing up that raised rabbits, so I thought I would give it a try.

I have been reading through the forum a couple months prior to getting my rabbits on Easter weekend. Yep I see the humor in that as well. My wife wasn’t big on the idea, but she is coming around. She says as long as she doesn’t have to process them, she is good. City girls! Lol

Anyway, I went with the two does and a buck. I drove a little over an hour to cross roads rabbitry. Here is the website for any interested http://www.crossroadsrabbitry.com/. I saw someone else from here had also bought some from there and seemed to be happy with them. I wanted to buy some from my state, Alabama. That way they are bread for the heat. They are New Zealand White Rabbits.

To house them I decided to go with a 2x4 frame since I had some leftover from another project. I did seal the wood after putting them together. I built it in my garage, but moved it under the back deck for extra shade.

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Starting the build
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You can see the shoots well in this shot
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loaded with top cages
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I did think it was funny (in the first shot) that after the picture I realized I had their future home in the picture. LOL


I built the cages myself from Hardware cloth .5 x .5 wire. The floors are 16 gauge 1 x .5. So far they have held up well. I ran in to an issue with the doors, but worked around that by bending the ends in. I also mounted the doors inside after watching a video on you tube. He said it was best so that they can’t push it open if left unlocked by mistake. I’m sure if unlocked they would figure it out. I have two grow out cages that will go on the bottom. Each one is 40 inches wide by two feet deep and 18 high.

You will noticed I used the gutter method to catch the waste. Tin roofing and directs it down. One thing I have noticed is that my angle is a little steep. Some of the pellets are overshooting my gutter. I am going to add a tin backboard to bounce them in. I think this will solve the issue. Will let you know.


After reading a ton of reviews on the bottles, I decided on the gravity bowls. Let me say it was the right choice for me. So far so good. I get about a week out of them and the rabbits have no issues.

I am currently free feeding them and that works as well. Will watch to see if they start getting fat and then slowly adjust it. It is just easier at this point. I am using an Alabama feed called Tucker. Works well so far and they seem to like it.

I plan to breed them at 5 months. I got them when they were just two months old. The only issue is that it is summer, so I may give it a try and see how they do. Or I may wait till the fall. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for having me on the forum and I look forward to any thoughts or comments!

-- Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:40 pm --

Few more shots. You can see the watering system and door setup. Plus the rabbits.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:09 pm


Nice setup! Have you had any problem with the rabbits chewing those water dishes? I saw some of those at walmart on Monday and was wondering about using them.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#3  Unread postby TheChad » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:14 pm


alforddm wrote:Nice setup! Have you had any problem with the rabbits chewing those water dishes? I saw some of those at walmart on Monday and was wondering about using them.


Not at all. I would suggest ordering them through Amazon if you have Prime. I found them cheaper there.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Rabbitdog » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:49 pm


You've got great stock starting out! I'm a big fan of Crossroads. Don't worry about the angle being too steep ... there is no such thing. Once the hair starts accumulating and just one pellet hangs up, it will start piling up quick and you'll wish your angle was even steeper. Once the urine and droppings pile up, the metal will start to rust. Wood stinks (sometimes literally) for cages but you can make it work, but the legs will start to rot outside. If you build more, try to go all metal/wire. Not trying to be critical just passing along the results of my failures. I always seem to have to learn the hard way. :)
Please keep growth records on your first litters. Would love to compare my results with yours. My first two litters of Crossroads stock are about 2 weeks old and I'm very impressed. Good job on providing quality food for your family. Best wishes!

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Marinea » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:26 pm


Welcome!

Nice setup you have there.
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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#6  Unread postby TheChad » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:21 am


Rabbitdog wrote:You've got great stock starting out! I'm a big fan of Crossroads. Don't worry about the angle being too steep ... there is no such thing. Once the hair starts accumulating and just one pellet hangs up, it will start piling up quick and you'll wish your angle was even steeper. Once the urine and droppings pile up, the metal will start to rust. Wood stinks (sometimes literally) for cages but you can make it work, but the legs will start to rot outside. If you build more, try to go all metal/wire. Not trying to be critical just passing along the results of my failures. I always seem to have to learn the hard way. :)
Please keep growth records on your first litters. Would love to compare my results with yours. My first two litters of Crossroads stock are about 2 weeks old and I'm very impressed. Good job on providing quality food for your family. Best wishes!


Ya I have had a couple of small piles, but usually the water hose washes them down with no issues. I would have rather went with Metal, but the supplies I had lead me this route. If in the future I need more, I may go that route. So far so good with the setup. I really think the back board will eliminate my main issue. Plan to knock that out tomorrow when I have some time.

I will try to give some records on the litters. I don't have a good scale. I checked the flea markets this past week trying to find one. Its not a big deal for me. I have a little food scale that I can set a box on and get a basic measure. But, it isn't ideal by any means.

So how did you get rabbits from Cross Roads in Virginia? Did you originally live in this area?

-- Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:21 am --

Marinea wrote:Welcome!

Nice setup you have there.


Thanks!

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Rabbitdog » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:36 pm


TheChad wrote:
So how did you get rabbits from Cross Roads in Virginia? Did you originally live in this area?

-- Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:21 am --

Marinea wrote:Welcome!

Nice setup you have there.


Thanks!


We drove down from Virginia after having found Crossroads on the internet and talking on the phone. Was very impressed with their website and the owner's knowledge. Good stock is impossible to find in Virginia, so I bit the bullet and jumped in the car. A real trek but so far, I'd say it was worth it. We'll compare notes soon.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#8  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:51 pm


Why didnt you just hang them from the deck?
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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Aggie03 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:11 pm


I've recently built some cages, too, with a gutter system like yours. I have a problem with the pellets overshooting the gutters, too. I haven't put up any tin yet, but that's the plan. I used a shallower angle than you did and I still have that problem, even when there is some waste piled up. I've noticed that some of the rabbits make more waste than others, and there are couple of cages that I always have to clean under. Otherwise, I like the setup.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Stephanie » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:14 pm


The rotting issue of the wood can be greatly reduced if you don't set the wooden legs directly on the ground. Most garden centers have small patio pavers that work great for setting the legs on and keeping them off the ground. They also keep the wood from wicking up water from the ground. The pavers I used are about 8" x 8" and I think cost me about $1.25 a piece or so. Got 'em at Home Depot. Untreated wood will still eventually rot, but the pavers should just about double their life. I wouldn't use treated lumber around my rabbits. I wouldn't want the possibility of them ingesting any of the chemicals used to treat the wood.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#11  Unread postby TheChad » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:40 pm


Rabbitdog wrote:
TheChad wrote:
So how did you get rabbits from Cross Roads in Virginia? Did you originally live in this area?

-- Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:21 am --

Marinea wrote:Welcome!

Nice setup you have there.


Thanks!


We drove down from Virginia after having found Crossroads on the internet and talking on the phone. Was very impressed with their website and the owner's knowledge. Good stock is impossible to find in Virginia, so I bit the bullet and jumped in the car. A real trek but so far, I'd say it was worth it. We'll compare notes soon.



Well that is a true road trip for some rabbits. Glad he isn't to far from me. They now have another farm just down the road from the original place. Guess the demand is growing for them. Their website is pretty awesome. I didn't get to talk to him for long. I was in a hurry to get back and wasn't feeling great that day. But, I know I can call him if needed. Sounds like they are worth the drive.

-- Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:46 am --

bigfoot_158 wrote:Why didnt you just hang them from the deck?


I thought about it, but I wasn't sure this was the location I would want them in. It is my first time with Rabbits. I felt this system offered me more flexibility to move them and it allowed me to control the waste better. That is a big concern for me. If this location works, I may expand with a couple of cages and try hanging them, but that is down the road.

-- Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:51 am --

Aggie03 wrote:I've recently built some cages, too, with a gutter system like yours. I have a problem with the pellets overshooting the gutters, too. I haven't put up any tin yet, but that's the plan. I used a shallower angle than you did and I still have that problem, even when there is some waste piled up. I've noticed that some of the rabbits make more waste than others, and there are couple of cages that I always have to clean under. Otherwise, I like the setup.


I put the tin back board on and it has seemed to help. When I go out they like to poop for me for some reason. :roll:

I have noticed it hitting the tin and falling back in the gutter where it belongs. I haven't noticed to many pile ups, so I guess the angle may be helping with that. The grow out cages that will go below, have a different angle. Will see how that works. Wasn't as much room below to give it the steep angle. I have already cut a tin back board for it as well.

-- Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:17 am --

Stephanie wrote:The rotting issue of the wood can be greatly reduced if you don't set the wooden legs directly on the ground. Most garden centers have small patio pavers that work great for setting the legs on and keeping them off the ground. They also keep the wood from wicking up water from the ground. The pavers I used are about 8" x 8" and I think cost me about $1.25 a piece or so. Got 'em at Home Depot. Untreated wood will still eventually rot, but the pavers should just about double their life. I wouldn't use treated lumber around my rabbits. I wouldn't want the possibility of them ingesting any of the chemicals used to treat the wood.


That is a great idea. I have to get some soil this week and may pick four up. I had put some scrap wood under the legs to level it a bit, but I think those would make a great permanent solution.

-- Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:40 pm --

Here are some pics of the back splash. It seems to have helped. I can hear them hitting it from time to time.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#12  Unread postby ByronW » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:41 am


Looks like an awesome setup. Do you have any trouble getting the poo out of the gutters with the gutter supports in the way? I' just getting started. and am looking around for the best ideas for my own. Would say a 4" or larger PVC pipe with slot cut in top (so it's basically a gutter) allow for easier cleanout? The PVC should be strong enough not to need the supports..Thanks for sharing BTW!
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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#13  Unread postby TheChad » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:49 am


ByronW wrote:Looks like an awesome setup. Do you have any trouble getting the poo out of the gutters with the gutter supports in the way? I' just getting started. and am looking around for the best ideas for my own. Would say a 4" or larger PVC pipe with slot cut in top (so it's basically a gutter) allow for easier cleanout? The PVC should be strong enough not to need the supports..Thanks for sharing BTW!
Byron


I take a hose pipe and just start on the end closest to the bucket and move back as it starts flowing. It all comes out pretty easily. i will let it go up to a week depending on how much there is. The more I do it the better the fly situation is I have found. The gutter back splash is in the way a bit, but it hasn't slowed the cleanup process. To me it was more important to catch more in the shoot. The actual supports aren't an issue at all in cleanup.

PVC may work. I don't know how it holds up in weather or sunlight. Worth a shot if you have it on hand and want to save money. I would get the thickest pvc. The waste can get a little heavy if you let it go a while.

One thing I am also going to do is put an end cap on the gutter. I think it will make it easier at clean up because sometimes when I get to the end it likes to go out the back. Not a big deal if I start on the end closest to the bucket.

I am also looking at adding some tin as a side guard. I don't want any waste splashing on the grow out cages that will go below. I have a little time before that.

-- Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:49 am --

Wanted to update my setup with some pictures of the new nesting boxes I have made. I got the dimensions from a post here. I used Hardware cloth on the bottom and put two screws in the bottom to keep it from moving all over. I used some old pallet wood and some scrap Hardware cloth from where I built my cages.

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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#14  Unread postby bunnychild » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:26 pm


This is an awesome setup! I had a similar design when I had multiple rabbits and it worked pretty well. I hope you have a garden for all the waste to fertilize.
As for breeding, I don't know how cold it gets in Alabama, but I would think you should be okay breeding in the Fall. Good luck!
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Re: My setup (with Pictures)

Post Number:#15  Unread postby TheChad » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:50 am


I have had to make a few adjustments to my setup due to predators. If you want to read about the situation you can here. http://rabbittalk.com/how-to-stop-a-predator-t31413.html

I used some lattice to help protect the bottom cages and finally an electric fence setup to deter them from going further. If I had it to do all over again, I would have gone with the electric fence first. The lattice just wasn't enough.

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I made the front where it is removable. The lattice just connects to a frame.
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-- Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:50 am --

Here are the pics of the electric fence setup.

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