hutch flooring

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michaels4gardens

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I decided to make a animal house for 6 hens and 3 rabbits, it has two levels , the top is for rabbits and chicken roosts, the bottom is running room for hens.Yesterday I worked on my "animal house" a little bit, and got the floor assembled. The floor is made from 1/2 inch EMT [1/2 " ID metal electrical conduit] it is galvanized and very strong in a short span of 2 feet. The hole in the floor is for hens to get through to the bottom level, for running and scratching through the food scraps the rabbits drop. The wood sides will be covered with galvanized sheet metal so the rabbits can't chew on it.
The problem with the "normal wire mesh flooring" is that it always fails or gets rusty in a few years when the galvanized coating wears through. And- rabbits tend to get "sore hocks" easily on it. The conduit provides a much larger surface area to support their weight than the wire flooring . Conduit has the additional advantage of being rounded, so droppings and urine can't accumulate under their feet. It is much easier to keep clean than a wire mesh floor . I expect this floor to last much longer than i do. The conduit costs about the same as good quality wire mesh flooring. The negative aspect of using conduit for flooring- is the weight, and the labor. .. I have about 4 hours into building the floor.
 

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alforddm

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That is amazing! How far apart is the conduit?
 

michaels4gardens

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there is 9/16 inch between the conduit. There are screws every 2 feet on the bottom side that hold the tubing and wood sides together. the conduit is set in 3/4 inch holes, drilled 3/4 inch deep.
 

Rainey

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Haven't seen you here for a while. Please post photos of the completed structure when you have time. And you said the conduit is strong at 2' length--how much longer would you think it could be and still work as flooring? (our cages are 3'x4' and the floor is what wears out)
 

michaels4gardens

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Rainey":2ezq1sza said:
Haven't seen you here for a while. Please post photos of the completed structure when you have time. And you said the conduit is strong at 2' length--how much longer would you think it could be and still work as flooring? (our cages are 3'x4' and the floor is what wears out)
I don't have rabbits now, but will begin to look for some after I have a good enclosure.
conduit would easily work at 3 feet, 4' would be a stretch without a piece screwed to the bottom to keep all the conduit the right distance apart in the middle . the conduit comes in 10 foot lengths.
 

MaggieJ

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Cool idea, Michael! I hope you will post updates as you put it into use.

It's very nice to see you back! :D We've missed you!
 

michaels4gardens

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.... animal cages ...
My theory on animal housing is.. build something as well as you know how, -build something as good for the livestock as practical, - build something that can be cleaned and serviced with minimum trouble.
I am building this particular design because the floor is easy on rabbits feet, it remains clean much longer than a "normal" floor would. Making life better for all of us by reducing labor and disease , and improving the comfort and longevity of the livestock.The doors will be almost as wide as the individual cage,[3 feet wide x 2 feet deep x 2 feet high] easy for me to access every corner without undo trouble. The rabbit sections will have a 8 inch wide shelf built into them at 13 inches off the floor ,this shelf gives the rabbits something to jump up on for exercise and gives the does a place to get away from the kits, who will chase them around the cage to exhaustion, [constantly wanting to nurse] . . The chickens are much more happy also- they are not bored, but always busy scratching through the litter on the bottom [sloped solid metal sheeting] floor, looking for some treat the rabbits have dropped. If the hens are bored, they pick on each other, and don't have nearly so long a productive life.
At one time I did experiments with different types of "housing" for rabbits and chickens to determine how exercise and additional cage space might affect productive longevity . Chickens in a small commercial cage typically lasted 2 years. Chickens in a cage with room to jump up on roosts, and a place to get below rabbits and scratch lasted about 6 years, Chickens who could go outside, eat what they wanted to, and run and scratch to their hearts content lasted 9 to 12 years and typically died of old age about the time they stopped laying.
Rabbits - does in a 30 x 24 commercial cage rebred at 5 weeks lasted 3 to 4 years. Does in a 36 L x 24 W x 36 high cage with 8 inch "resting boards" at 13 and 24 inches from the floor, rebred at 5 weeks lasted 6 to 8 years. Does in a outdoor colony lasted about 4 years ...
In both chickens and rabbits-- some genetic lines/ breeds are much more "long lived" than others...
 

Marinea

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I love the EMT. It is what we use to suspend all our cages in the wooden frames. Our pieces are three feet long, and have had no issues at all. We use one piece of EMT per foot length of cage.

I, too, would love to see completed pictures.
 

Dani4Hedgies

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Can't wait to see the completed hutch we are still designing ours so I'm looking for all the idea I can :pancake:
 

akane

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Do you have a pipe cutter and use a drill press for the wood? Also how well does the EMT drill if you just wanted to run a bolt through it? We were debating if sides of a rabbit or chinchilla cage could also be made the same as the floor but then how to hang anything with no crossbars. I can't get the right wire for good rabbit floors locally but want to try an indoor trio again if I can get the custom cage build just right for all the problems we ran into in the past and easy wire/bar floor maintenance instead of tons of bedding and solid floors. Probably 4, 36x30" cages for tans. Otherwise I was going to order floor wire to modify the older ferret nations we have replaced for the chinchillas and cover the back in sealed wood for urine containment but they still sell for $100 each 2x3' compartment even used so it seems an expensive thing to use for a purpose it's not even fully suited anyway.
 

michaels4gardens

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akane":3m41j3tr said:
Do you have a pipe cutter and use a drill press for the wood? Also how well does the EMT drill if you just wanted to run a bolt through it? We were debating if sides of a rabbit or chinchilla cage could also be made the same as the floor but then how to hang anything with no crossbars. I can't get the right wire for good rabbit floors locally but want to try an indoor trio again if I can get the custom cage build just right for all the problems we ran into in the past and easy wire/bar floor maintenance instead of tons of bedding and solid floors. Probably 4, 36x30" cages for tans. Otherwise I was going to order floor wire to modify the older ferret nations we have replaced for the chinchillas and cover the back in sealed wood for urine containment but they still sell for $100 each 2x3' compartment even used so it seems an expensive thing to use for a purpose it's not even fully suited anyway.
I used a chop saw, [with composite metal cutting blade] but a pipe cutter would work,- slower but neater, with no need to grind the ends, ... used a drill press for the 3/4 holes in the wood - here at lowes the 1/2 inch x 10' conduit was 2.19 ea when purchased in 10 or more. I checked the price of new cages also- don't feel so bad about my $50/ hole materials cost when it includes the metal roof and weather/ critter proof housing...
Back when I decided to "move my rabbit business into the 20th century", i bought 50 baby saver wire cages at $18/ hole, I thought i was getting raped..... so i bought materials after that so I could build the rest myself and save 1/3 on the price.... I was paying .08 cents/ lb for pellets , and getting 1.79/lb for 4 to 5 lb white rabbits..[in Northern Cal.].I did well in those conditions .. [shows my age]
 

Marinea

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We used a reciprocating saw with a hacksaw blade in it to cut the EMT.

Hubby says the EMT can be drilled, but that you need to punch the spot first so that the drill bit doesn't skitter around. And you have to be careful to make sure the hole is straight if you're going all the way through the pipe.
 

michaels4gardens

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Marinea":2axsgyj5 said:
We used a reciprocating saw with a hacksaw blade in it to cut the EMT.

Hubby says the EMT can be drilled, but that you need to punch the spot first so that the drill bit doesn't skitter around. And you have to be careful to make sure the hole is straight if you're going all the way through the pipe.
Hubby is right... even when i use my drill press i must "center punch" the place i want to drill, unless I use a very short drill bit.

-- Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:28 pm --

IMG_20180206_115215.jpga little more work on 'animal house" <br /><br /> -- Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:30 pm -- <br /><br /> last picture for the day
 

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akane

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I don't have much currently for tools. Prior to last year we just had a circular saw and a handheld drill. We have a table saw and drill press setup now with a band saw in 2 parts on the screen porch that the motor half is too freaking heavy for my back to carry even if we got a spot cleared right now. We were going to take a reciprocating saw from someone but similar to the reasons we don't have the bandsaw setup my husband's brother took it. The simpler pipe cutters are around $12-15 from lowes so it's not a huge cost addition if it cuts 4+ cages worth of material.
 

michaels4gardens

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been a while since i worked with metal framing materials <br /><br /> -- Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:13 pm -- <br /><br /> worked a little on the "animal house" until the rain came...
 

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Shea

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This is giving me ideas. . . . It is the wrong time of year for me to be getting "ideas". I have too many half finished "ideas" as it is. :x
 

michaels4gardens

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started the doors...

-- Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:06 am --

Been a while,
Wife had a hip replacement, so I have been confined to the house for a month-- she is moving around without my help for the most part now - so i have been working on my animal house again..
Doors...

-- Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:13 am --

more on doors <br /><br /> -- Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:50 pm -- <br /><br /> a little more work
 

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michaels4gardens

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I need to discover some way to cover the extra holes in the metal framing that won't be too ugly - the holes are 1 1/2 inches wide so- they must be covered in the rabbit hutches,- young rabbits can get through those...
 

Marinea

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Two questions for you Michael,

How are you handling light? And summer heat?

I have open, hanging wire cages under two ceiling fans and I still get warm rabbits during the summer. And I am not seeing a lot of light getting in there, unless I am missing something, which I likely am.
 

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