Meat Rabbit Housing

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draperies

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I usually see meat rabbits being kept in all wire cages and rarely see any mention of the various hutch styles typically used for pet rabbits. Is the only reason for this the additional cost and spacing required? Are there any other downsides to keeping meat rabbits in a hutch with a hideout?
 

SableSteel

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The hutches with hideouts I would never use. I've had some given to me. Ended up just taking them to the dump. Wood absorbs urine and is IMPOSSIBLE to sanitize. It starts to smell very bad very quick and can foster diseases. The 'hideout' area is very difficult to clean. The hutches have less ventilation (might be okay in some areas but not in the desert where I live). And they take up so much room - you could fit a 6 hole wire cage in the same floor space that one wooden hutch takes, and b/c I keep mine in a climate controlled barn space is expensive. The wooden hutches also tend to be of poorer build than wire cages from my experience. Pet people don't really know what they are looking for in a cage, considering they usually only buy one or two cages, so the hutch makers dont have to try hard to impress. The dropping pan is often too shallow to be effective and hard to get out; the latches are untrustworthy and the bar spacing doesn't fit with any standard resting mats, water bottles, or J feeders.
 

Teddy2511

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SableSteel":13nm1ggm said:
The hutches with hideouts I would never use. I've had some given to me. Ended up just taking them to the dump. Wood absorbs urine and is IMPOSSIBLE to sanitize. It starts to smell very bad very quick and can foster diseases. The 'hideout' area is very difficult to clean. The hutches have less ventilation (might be okay in some areas but not in the desert where I live)... The dropping pan is often too shallow to be effective and hard to get out; the latches are untrustworthy and the bar spacing doesn't fit with any standard resting mats, water bottles, or J feeders.

I don't raise meat rabbits, but I have owned/bred bunnies for more than 9 years. I second Sable's statement. Hutches are cute, and possibly practical if you have only 1-2 bunnies and their hutches are out in the elements (thus requiring greater shelter), but they are impossible to keep clean.
A pet owner may think that the living environment of a hutch is superior to an all-wire cage (I have heard of wire cages condemned), in regard to comfort for the rabbit and visual appeal... But a pet owner only has to clean 1 or 2 cages and may be willing to invest the extra time. As a breeder, I recognize that I would spend far too much time trying to keep cages sanitary if I used hutches and that my rabbits would be far more difficult to keep clean.
(I have used and experienced the frustration of a hutch with an enclosed hide area.)

Meat breeders are probably thinking practical, healthy, and clean.
Pet owners are likely considering cute, bunny comfort*, and visual appeal.


*(I list this only because it is what I suspect people believe. I do not personally think a bunny needs to be in a hutch to be comfortable.)
 

Preitler

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Things are quite different over here. Wire cages are pretty much a no-go because of decades of ARAs making them a synonym for cruelty - although in the context of chicken or other industrial animal production. There is also no tradition here of using wire cages for rabbits.

Wood hutches are the standard here, and although they might not be as easily sanitized as wire this isn't really an issue, healthwise. My hutches are rather big, I mostly use ca. 1" wood slat floors, 2-3 levels, hidey houses etc. for each breeding doe pair, and the rabbits get quite some garden time.

Most commercial pet hutches are - rubbish. Too small, those with shallow litter tray drawers that don't really work are almost impossible to clean, and the whole setup just isn't right.

Old style farm hutches, like my grandfather used, are somewhat similiar, some with a closed nestbox space at one side, but usually they use solid flooring and no hay racks, so the wasted hay builds up fast enough to keep the floor reasonable dry. Just big enough for the rabbit to stretch out. Another meat breeder in my road still uses those, and worse, even those pet hutches sold for rabbits and "pet rabbit cages". No fun to look at when you actually like rabbits. (See the size of the head of the rabbit in the top cage right beside the water bottle)
Bad hutch.JPG

As been said, what works or not also depends hugly on the local climate, what parasites and predators are around (we here are pretty lucky in that regard).
 

Zass

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In my location (eastern US,) for rabbit comfort and health, nothing has beat clean, large sized wire cages hung in a climate controlled building with resting tiles or mats.
I've tried it all. :D The hanging cages literally my last choice, because I didn't want my rabbits living in what looked like a "commercial" setup, and I liked the charm of hutches, or the thought of rabbits living on the ground.
 

CanineWild

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@Preitler if you ever felt the urge to show a pic of your slat floors I'd be interested in seeing them! I (finally) found a source of cage bottom wire I'll use, but will probably make some hutches that was also, as it's so hard and expensive to find here ;) (don't go through any trouble mind you, I'm just curious!)
 

Olbunny

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Hello all. We use nesting boxes year round. Our pens are 30"x45". Our 4 breeders all poo in their particular corner not in their boxes. 12"x12"x16". After each set of kits are weaned cleaning the box is pretty easy. Pressure wash if needed but usually fairly dry n clean. I open up the box n hook the door open in the summer n kits are a couple weeks old. The door hooked open provides a large platform for mama to escape kits. I removed the box from the buck for summer.
They like a hidey hole, their rabbits. They keep them clean n we build the pens large enough so why not ?
 

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Rabbits by Accident

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The links to the photos did not work. So I'm not sure what they were going to show. However, we just rescued a whole bunch of rabbits and he included two hutches which were made from wire closet shelving. At first we were going to trash them and make some nice wooden hutches and then after using them for a week we realized they're wonderful. There are quite a few videos about it if you're interested.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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The links to the photos did not work. So I'm not sure what they were going to show. However, we just rescued a whole bunch of rabbits and he included two hutches which were made from wire closet shelving. At first we were going to trash them and make some nice wooden hutches and then after using them for a week we realized they're wonderful. There are quite a few videos about it if you're interested.
while the wire shelving may seem like a good cheep idea it has some major downfalls. First, because it is coted/painted and not galvanized the rabbits are likely to chew off the coting and it will begin to rust. Second the wire is not spaced correctly and, depending on the brand of shelving, may be flimsy and begin to sag. All of these issues can lead to sore hocks if left for two long (I'm guessing you mean this )
 

Rabbits by Accident

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Yes! That is what I was talking about. I have tiles and shelves for the rabbits as well. Will that help with the hock issue? I have also read that using hardware cloth as the floor can also cause sore hocks.

Thanks for any help,

Liz
 
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