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Enclosures?

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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Enclosures?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby OpelaAcres » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:14 pm


We are working on building cages for rabbits we are expecting in January and I have several questions.

It seems like 30x30x18 is the minimum size recommend, is that correct?

It also seems that most of the pictures I have seven on here are all wire. I was under the impression that I should build them with a little "house" on one side that was enclosed on the 4 sides and the top. Is that not a usual recommendation here?

They will be outdoors with a roof and North and South winds blocks and we live in MO if that helps.

Any other advice anybody has wants to share would be great. Stuff like watering devices (especially in the winter), nesting boxes, everything I am not thinking about, etc?

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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SixGun » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:09 pm


If it is going to be outside, I would build a hutch, which is what you are describing with wood and wire and a house.
All wire cages are primarily used inside sheds or other enclosures.
30 x 30 x 18 is a rather average size, but it also depends on what you are raising. Netherland Dwarf don't need that much space, Flemish Giants need more space.

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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SableSteel » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:07 pm


Minimum is 3/4 sq ft per pound of rabbit (so a 4 lb himi needs 3 sq ft - 18"x24", while a 8 lb harlequin would need 6 sq ft - 36" x 24"). It depends on the breed, but if the rabbits are in an enclosed building (shed, barn, etc) that is insulated, they don't need a wooden area. If you did add a wooden area to the side, I would increase the amount of space in the cage, since that area might restrict their ability to move around
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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:55 pm


My experience has led towards the wooden areas always being used as the bathroom. :( I strongly prefer all wire floors, under some kind of roofed shelter, with a way to block wind in cold months, and removable resting mats and bunny houses to provide warmth and comfort, as needed.

If it's REALLY cold (-f), I usually spread hay or straw over the wire floors, and if it goes to -20 f, I also cover the tops and sides of the cages with ample hay or straw to provide that much more draft protection. My setup is wire cages in a roofed wire building, so there are plenty gaps between the layers wire that can be stuffed. The whole building is also wrapped with tarps or heavy plastic in winter to block wind.

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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby shazza » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:09 pm


i was given a wooden and wire hutch for free earlier this year and yeah, i can attest to any solid-bottomed area in the cage being used as the bathroom and getting really gross really fast. we actually took a sawzall and cut the bottom out of the enclosed area and replaced it with wire so even when they're 'hiding' they're on wire and i don't have to worry about them walking in their own poop/pee and getting nasty feet or infections anymore. i wondered for a while if i should put a wooden hide box or something in my all wire cages but after keeping a few rabbits in the hutch temporarily for various reasons, they honestly only went in the enclosed area when it was very cold and windy, or when i was doing something they didn't appreciate inside their cage (like cleaning out the soda box they stomped and peed on for days...) they spent 90% of their time lounging around in the open area. i pretty much came ot the conclusion that they don't really care that much for a hide area unless they need to get out of the wind (which wouldn't be an issue under a shelter,) or you start messing around in their space (which my cage rabbits just get to deal with because i gotta mess around in your space sometimes, sorry.)
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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby OpelaAcres » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:49 pm


The cages are going into a structure similar to this but with both ends open. Or at least that is the plan for now/this winter.
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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Dwc77 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:43 pm


First off welcome OpelaAcres! I have 4 does also that do have all wire cages with a nest box mounted to the outside of cage. But my grow out cages have a wooden frame with wire stapled to it. Then my buck has a hutch style cage. They all work good tho the grow out cages do kinda get nasty in a corner were they go to the bathroom. Tho even just wire cages can need some TLC from time to time. My does cages are 18"W by 40"L by 18"T they work great for me and I have NZ - FG- Cali cross rabbits. I don't let them in their wooden nest boxes 14" X 16" unless they are having a litter or it is cold out. I don't have any problem with them using them as a bathroom maybe I'm just lucky :D. With 4 does I breed two at a time then the other two a few weeks later. I don't like having 40 or so if everything goes right to process at one time! I do recommend having a few good size grow out cages 6' X 2' or so. My rabbits are outside so the watering thing isn't fun in the winter they get a drink in the morning before work and one after (its the best I can do for them) Also if your raising them for meat don't be afraid to cull the ones that dont do well raising litters. Good luck

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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby PSFAngoras » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:44 am


I personally prefer larger cages, but I have rabbits that mature to 10# plus and I have nestboxes in all my cages year round for wind protection since my rabbits are usually outside. (Getting a roof on the house so they're In the hay barn at my mom's at the moment). Cages are 24x36 for the bucks and 30x36 for the does and grow outs. The buck stack is all it's own with a three sided shelter like a lean to it fits into with a metal roof, and the does' cages are in metal frames in sets of four, enclosed similarly to the Bucks. The rabbits have always done fine in them.

If the weather drops below 0 I throw some hay or straw in the nest boxes for them, but they rarely use it even then. (I have French Angoras mostly, so no lack of insulation even without the hay) As far as water in freezing weather, everyone has metal bowls and gets water at least twice a day, which I what I can do now with them across town, although I wait for them to drink what they need and refill before I go. If they're home they get water before work, after, and before I go to bed, and if I'm off that day they get watered around noon, also. They do fine with twice a day, but I know I'd be annoyed if I was thirsty and couldn't drink, so I try to give them every opportunity.
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Re: Enclosures?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Marinea » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:44 am


Another vote for all wire cages. I read that you are going to be raising NZ. So do I. My buns are outside under a roof and do fine in winter.

As far as cage sizes, my buck cages are 36x30 and my doe cages are 48x30. With the large nestbox you will need and expecting large NZ size litters, smaller might get very crowded. My grow out cages are six feet long. To be honest, that might be a bit bigger than needed, and I am thinking of adding a 48x30 grow out cage with a shelf and see how that goes.

For watering, I use crocks not bottles. Personal preference, but I find them easier to deal with in winter.
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