May 14, 2013 by Mark Oliver Howes
I need something big. A grow out cage. The one we have now is too small and I’m afraid the bunnies aren’t getting enough exercise. I do let them out to run often, but I want a space that’s large, open and easy to clean. None of our current cages fit the description of easy to clean.
I was in the front end loader the other day and saw a big crate come in on the back of a truck. I made a mental note of it and went on loading. When I went down to the pile 20 minutes later, someone was just about to dump their stinky trash on it. I pulled it out of the way and loaded it onto my truck.
Here it is. Not every crate is built this way. This crate has minimal slats on the bottom, yet it is still sturdy.
I got the panels pictured above off the dump as well. The squares are nice and wide and poo should fall through easily. I took the frames off of the mesh, but still repurposed the wood.
Due to the odd placement of the mesh, I used the wood to make it more stable.
I kept a few of the panels whole and tacked them to the sides of the crate. This made the process really fast.
I ran out of panels by the time I got to the back of the cage. I used old pallet boards to close it in; this will also provide shade for the rabbits.
I turned the crate up on the side and added 2×4 legs. I measured it out to about 40 inches. It leaves enough room for the soon-to-come meat chickens to get underneath the cage to turn the compost, yet it is low enough for me to access the entire crate from the top.
I used cedar fence slats for the structure of the doors. I wanted the kids to be able to lift the doors. Cedar is light, yet durable.
Pictured complete with bunnies. I put in seven kits and one 3 month old and they all had PLENTY of room. The thing that really made my day? They were all so happy!
I slapped together a 12″ x 5″ feeder out of pallet boards. It holds a lot of feed and so far, no one has climbed in and dropped poo in the dinner table.
I added this nesting box that someone gave me last year.
I also added some plant pots for cover. I plan on making a removable box for them to get out of the rain and rest their feet. Just not there yet. I’m going to use this:
– also from the dump.
….and, for the last amenity, a piece of plastic corrugated roofing to give the bunnies some cover and to make sure that their food doesn’t get soggy when it rains. I’ll be looking for more of this on the trash pile. It’s easy to work with.
I’m really happy with the result. I think I’m going to get better growth results with this set up. I’ve got about 2 hours into the build, which is pretty minimal. If you’re thinking about rabbits and you have access to a crate like this, do it! Nothing is better than repurposing discarded items. It is the ultimate in recycling.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike Oscar Hotel