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Need help deciding cage set up!

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby floppy_lion » Sun May 13, 2018 1:21 pm


So I'm going to be a new bunny owner soon. I'm getting my bunnies from a family friend who's rabbit accidentally had a litter. I'm going to be getting a male and female (brother and sister) but I don't have enough money to neuter or spay them. But I also want to bond them but I've heard it doesn't work well if they aren't spayed and neutered, is that true? I might use an Xpen as a cage or should I build a C&C cage? They're a Lionhead and Mini Lop mix.

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby a7736100 » Sun May 13, 2018 2:20 pm


With both sexes you WILL end up with babies. You can get 2 of one sex and they can grow up together sometimes without problem. If they have a large cage and hiding place they usually get along.

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Sun May 13, 2018 3:59 pm


Even unrelated rabbits can often be kept together fine and personally even if I don't mind and can deal with the resulting kits I would rarely suggest an intake male and female (even one altered) together because they frequently drive each other nuts wanting to breed. Does have targeted the testicle area of bucks when they are really in a bad mood about breeding. I've only had it happen once and not in ones left together but people have found their buck's private parts ripped open by doe teeth. I do not find opposite gender really improves pairing up rabbits. Spaying and neutering can help all combinations of rabbits because there are no hormones driving territorial or breeding behavior but usually it comes down to personality, space, and pen setup more than it does gender. If the personality just doesn't match it's not going to no matter what you do or what gender but a large enough space with plenty of objects to break up line of sight and give privacy works about as well with same gender as opposite pairs or even groups but with more than 2 you often can't build a big enough cage. At that point they need a small room to roam.

I used pens around 3x6' for adult pairs but 30" width is about the max I can reach when I can't practically climb in the cage so the more common width I use and especially if I raise the cage off the floor. Since it's hard to get proper floor wire here, support it over that large of area, and keep poop from being thrown out indoors I build bases out of plywood and seal it with rustoleum enamel. If they chew the edges can be lined with a "continuous hinge". Hardware stores and feed stores sell them in useful sizes of by the foot along with around 14-15" and 30" ones. https://www.theisens.com/products/1-116 ... ous-hinge/, https://www.walmart.com/ip/National-Ste ... e/47648903 . They do also work on the lighter, easier to use coroplast bases and you can splice coro sheets together to make larger cages than a single piece but coroplast can be more easily damaged even without access to an edge and will not last as long. Even with guinea pigs in them I don't have any of my coro left while I still have the first enamel coated plywood cage around currently holding a bull snake after holding guinea pigs, chickens, quail, rabbits... for over 10 years. I scrubbed it down, stuck another coat of enamel on it, replaced the rusty screws to the corner brackets I stuck the panels together with, and good as new.
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Sun May 13, 2018 5:28 pm


When people ask me for 2 bunnies I always say to get 2 females unless they can spay. Females are the only ones when considering unspayed rabbits who "can" coexist without issues and even then sometimes at maturity one will become more dominant and cause issues.
Forget about bonding em if its a male and a female, they'll be happier living in different rooms of the house from each other. In the same room they'd be smelling each other's pheromones too much wich would likelly be causing bad behavior.

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Mon May 14, 2018 1:27 am


If there are no does present I find bucks easier. Does go through hormonal stages more often and I suggest bucks to anyone wanting pets that doesn't plan to spay or neuter. With does intact bucks are less of a good idea to share a cage but if they are given no reason to be territorial I always found them more predictable with people and other rabbits as they matured.

I also have absolutely no issues with does and bucks in the same room and even does caged together with bucks in the room if they are does that get along in the first place. The only thing it might increase the tendency of is buck spraying. I had a new trio of 2 bucks and a doe arrive that I put the doe between the bucks in a small room. Both bucks sprayed across the doe cage to soak the little himi yellow. That was a one time incident though from dozens of rabbits going through a small room and 100s sharing the area in the stable. More often the rabbits just peed up the walls behind their cages so I had to repaint nearly every room I've ever kept rabbits indoors. Rabbits in most rabbitries are not put into gender only blocks of cages and have only the wire wall dividing bucks and does from other bucks and does often scattered through the cages however it works out. I've done colony breeding as well with 5-20does to 1 adult buck and some juveniles. Sometimes with multiple colony groups containing their own buck, does, and kits divided by only wire mesh between the colonies. The only problem I ever had was a big creme d'argent doe that practically refused to go without breeding and would start tearing my wire dividers down if no buck was in her colony to breed with after her litter. One colony pretty much never impacted the relationships of the colony on the other side of the wire. Rabbits have a pretty clear idea of wire being equal to a solid wall when they are cage raised from kits. It's kind of amusing to see the shock of adults put into a colony when a rabbit first enters their space. They come to assume nearby rabbits never directly impact them. They have to learn how the world works all over again when the boundaries are increased and they share it with other rabbits. The places that do or don't have wire walls suddenly become important instead of just expecting them. Within a few weeks though they figure out what rabbits matter in their colony and what rabbits are on the other side of the wire still and don't matter.
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby olafthebunny » Mon May 14, 2018 3:42 am


Well if you don't get them fixed, bonding them will for sure result in babies. And breeding constantly all the time for the doe is not good. Does can breed again right after they have a litter of babies. Which means if you keep them together you would have baby bunnies every month. And that's hard to deal with if you do not want it.
if the bunnies are siblings, I recommend getting two females, so that they won't have babies, that DON'T breed with any other bunnies.. If they breed with someone else bunnies or you get a male one day, the two girls would fight each other.
Two males will fight.
If you really want a male and female, I would at least get one fixed. That way they can't have babies.

As for a cage setup, both ideas you have are great! there is pros and cons to both of course tho.
X-pens are great from what I've heard, but if you don't have a good enough cover, the bunnies will jump out.
C and C cages are pretty great as well, and I would love to have one one day! They can get expensive and do require some handy work though. For really good videos and ideas on those types of cages you should check out Stormy Rabbits on you tube. she has had many of those in the past and her ideas and way she built them is pretty cool. There is also plenty of good ideas for bunny cages on Pinterest! I remember when I was looking for an indoor cage for one of bunnies. I scrolled Pinterest and You Tube constantly :lol:

Bunnies make great pets and you will soon find out how fun they are! They have great personality, almost like a dog! They're unlike most small pets people have. Unlike guinea pigs, they're more active and wild!
It's so fun to watch them hopp about, and they will become your best friend.

Please let us know what you decide and feel free to ask us if you have any more questions on rabbits!

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby floppy_lion » Mon May 14, 2018 7:09 am


So with everyone's advice I'm either going with 2 girls or 2 guys. I can't decide. But I'm still unsure of the cage plan because C&C cages can get expensive but some Xpens are too.

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Marinea » Mon May 14, 2018 7:16 am


I also recommend bucks as pets. I have just found them easier to deal with.

But keep this in mind: there is no guarantee that any two rabbits, siblings or not, will get along as adults. Have a plan in case they have to be separated at some point.
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby akane » Mon May 14, 2018 12:23 pm


There are lots of diy cage options. I do have about 100 c&c panels from doing guinea pig cage builds in the past but the cost for a pen big enough for multiple rabbits is why I build most of mine from more bulk materials and several of the people who bought multiple pets from me did as well. While I do my indoor ones partially in solid plywood panels to contain bedding and pee I more commonly saw others build chick growout style pens with hardware cloth on wood frame. You do have to always seal wood with enamel or polyurethane so it cleans about the same as plastic after that. You also frequently need to protect the lower pieces of wood edges with metal because bored rabbits turn into little beavers but there are ways to use cost effective wood with rabbits. Along the lines of this http://www.thegardencoop.com/images/gro ... ickens.jpg and this one has the wood sealed in paint for guinea pigs https://dirtartful.files.wordpress.com/ ... =470&h=264. The style works for containing most small animals that aren't too strong or destructive. Rabbits just require more wood protection than chickens or guinea pigs typically do. I've also done the pvc frame version like this one but smaller to avoid the wood chewing problem https://i.pinimg.com/474x/f2/77/6b/f277 ... ut-pen.jpg but pvc always eventually gets brittle until the poles snap and over long distances it will bow without supports when you try to lift it off the ground so it takes more design thought than wood. You also can't staple or nail the wire directly to the pvc as easily. We zip tied around with a freaking ton of zip ties.

I also pick up midwest ferret and critter nation cages used whenever possible. They are 2x2x3' front and back and 2' square sides panels with heavy duty metal bars and nice swinging doors. I've spliced them into 2x6' with metal brackets and zip ties. For my jumping animals I've also made them 2 levels high and still combined into double the length. Bass equipment that sells rabbit supplies sells the deeper metal pans for them. This is made out of just what comes with ferret nations aside from replacing the pans and to splice 2 long some metal brackets along with replaceable wood slid in the gaps between the pans that used to be filled by the side panels. Image
For a solid floor and higher sides I did this one with an enamel covered wood base for the cuy (meat strain of guinea pigs that get 4-8lbs).
Image
The cost of a new fn or cn module is a bit much when just taking them apart for the panels or housing numerous and large animals. We happened to find someone that inherited a storage unit full of old fn cages so we filled our suv and have gotten some with chinchillas we bought since then. They frequently show up used on craigslist and similar locations though.
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby floppy_lion » Mon May 14, 2018 4:58 pm


A friend of mine said that if I got two males they would fight until death to be the dominant one.Is that true?

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon May 14, 2018 5:05 pm


floppy_lion wrote:A friend of mine said that if I got two males they would fight until death to be the dominant one.Is that true?

Here's the thing... they might. Or, they might be best buds until the end of time. Or they'll be friends for several years and then one day they decide they hate each other. The same thing can happen with females, though.

No matter what, you should have a plan just in case they decide they no longer want to be around one another. Rabbits don't necessarily get "depressed" when they're by themselves, so they don't need another rabbit to bond with. But a lot of rabbits seem to enjoy being social and there's nothing wrong with keeping two rabbits together (in an adequate space) as long as they are both happy together. As long as you have a back-up plan, your bunnies should be fine.

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Mon May 14, 2018 5:40 pm


The risk of fights with bucks is much higher. Anyone who wants 2 unspayed bunnies I recomend females. When they question why I just pic up one male and bring him close to another and instant murder mode. People get my drift very well after that. Females will get pissy at times and some just wont tolerate cohabitation either but the risk is much much much lower especially if they grow up together.

In the case where they decide they dont want to live in the same cage anymore 2 females is also easier. They'll still be able to be neighbors without issues while bucks will spray at each other and stuff you generally dont wanna see in pets :/

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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby akane » Mon May 14, 2018 8:56 pm


I haven't found bucks to be at all like that. My favorite out every group is usually a buck for it's personality. I've definitely never had an issue caging them side by side even with does around them. I even had a mini rex buck make a big enough gap in my first cage row design to squeeze over the wire divider into the cage of a champagne d'argent buck with a doe on the other side of him. When my husband found them the champagne was lounging and the mini rex was investigating the top wire probably for a better escape route. The bucks tend to pee up the walls around their cage a bit worse than the does and I had that one incidence of spraying a doe only in the first week of settling in the new rabbits but they otherwise didn't usually target anything specific. I only see the odd mention of a buck that sprays people on here. I've never seen one act aggressive just being moved past or even set near another buck. I could put them on the same table if I wanted and had breeders do so when showing me what rabbits they had for sale. A couple places we had multiple does and bucks wandering the basement or barn floor, in floor pens a couple feet away, and on the table at the same time and only used the multiple surfaces or pens to keep the bucks from breeding the does while sorting what my husband and I wanted. I had multiple bucks and does in a small room in our condo while keeping majority at my mom's farm and let one of the bucks just have a constantly open cage because he mostly didn't care to leave it to bother the other bucks or does. If I did that with a doe they often pooped and peed all in front of the other doe cages and caused thumping and grunting episodes between them and the nearby caged does. I nearly always had intact does around so I rarely confined fully mature breeding bucks together but the various temporary situations and with minimal dividers I never had problems.

They also had a much lower incidence of aggression toward people. I had one buck that would bite and draw blood without warning but I had several crazy does that would threaten, lunge, and tear past leather gloves. I ended up culling every doe I bought from one breeder because the entire line was either aggressive toward me or thrashed around so wildly when picked up that I couldn't hold on to them when I had minimal issues with even my checkered giants. "Demon rabbit" was flat out hormone insane from the time she reached maturity. She even attacked me from the ground. I had plenty of good does but the ratio of nice, calm bucks to difficult ones is much higher than the does and I have no buck I can say was completely not worth having around due only to temperament like I can say about many does I culled from multiple breeds and sources.

That's why for keeping a single gender in the house without the opposite around I don't think the odds of 2 bucks fighting is anywhere near guaranteed. I wouldn't even say the potential for 2 does to fight or 2 bucks is that much different to be worth definitely settling on one gender over the other before seeing the individual rabbits and they should be completely equal to house if you do need to separate them. It's a different situation when they have a doe to fight over but my bucks have always seemed to need a better reason than personality clashes to get territorial. I sold many to live as the only rabbit pair in a house and the only follow up I ever got back from anyone was pictures of 2 bucks sharing a spacious diy cage or yard pen. I did also have several does go to live together and some that people did opt to spay or neuter without any reported issues that couldn't be resolved with some cage changes. The only one I did have someone separate was attempting male/female pairs with only the males neutered and they ended up doing 2 neutered males and 2 unaltered females together out of the 4 they bought instead. Most of those were my more predictable line of mini rex. I did not sell what I bred from the line that tended to produce hormonal does and I had 4 different sources of netherlands that varied greatly so only some went as pets at all and certain ones I sold to live in pairs or colonies based on the personality of the parents and related rabbits. Not many of my larger breeds were purchased for pets despite the fact they were probably easier to handle and keep together. Most of the american chinchilla x cinnamons and champagne d'argent their new owners planned to individually cage outdoors for meat or garden fertilizer and the american sables mostly sold as 4-h projects to breed and show.
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#14  Unread postby olafthebunny » Tue May 15, 2018 3:47 am


Bucks will most likely fight. Like the others said - they could fight or be best buds. I know someone who had two un fixed completely happy males. But the risk is higher of two boys fighting than two girls fighting. To play it safe as a new bunny owner, I would recommend two girls.
But I'm not putting boy bunnies down at all. I love them! well...all bunnies really :lol: I have two boys myself. One lives inside in my bedroom, the other lives outside. They don't play together at all, because I know that with how hyper active mine are, one would be dead in a second.
To help you with your decision, Boys may be more friendly and playful with you. of course it depends on personality though. Females may be more calm and in my opinion, cuddly. Of course as with the boys personality can change anything. I know plenty of people who have super friendly and wild females :lol: :bunnyhop:

It's really just your choice now. I can't wait to see what you decide! Please send pics when you get your rabbits! We bunny lovers of Rabbit Talk loooovvve pics, let me just say :lol:
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Re: Need help deciding cage set up!

Post Number:#15  Unread postby floppy_lion » Wed May 16, 2018 8:18 pm


Ok, with everyone's stories I'm leaning towards 2 females...I think. :lol: The family friend I'm getting them from said she will know the looks in about a week and I just texted her about who seems to be getting along with who and who she would recommend (of the same gender) to be adopted together. Her bunnies had one other litter before this one so this is her second one and she said she kept 2 girls from it and they are getting along. But she said that they're still exploring so she can't tell but she will let me know who hangs out with who the most.

I will be sure to post pictures! She has already sent me pictures of some of the babies and of the mom and dad; they're so cute! :D

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