I'm seriously considering moving my rabbits from the goat shelter to the garage, which is attached to the house. I lost a young doe last week, probably to a raccoon that climbed up the milking stand to reach the hanging cages (and I thought I'd done such a good job of putting them up out of reach!), and with the economy I'm also going to start worrying about two-legged predators. I'd just feel safer with the rabbits in the garage where I can close things up better at night.
But, it IS an *attached* garage, and we really don't need barn smells in the house. The floor is gravel, so unlike cement, I wouldn't be able to keep it cleaned up really well.
What I'm wondering is if I build a big worm bed to go under the rabbit cages, will that actually keep the smell down well enough to have the rabbits so close to our indoor spaces? I can always use the worms to supplement the chickens, so they wouldn't go to waste.
My rabbits are in an attached garage and it's not too bad. I have cages with poo pans and I keep the pans cleaned regularly, usually every two or three days. Good ventilation is also important and I keep the people doors open all day and a fan going.
I'm also experimenting with 1/4" hardware cloth in the poo pans with the edges bent down one inch to keep the poo pellets from sitting in the urine. I find it keeps things drier because the poo pellets don't sit soaking in urine, they dry out fast and some urine can actually evaporate. Also easier to clean out, no big soggy mass to clean, just dispose of the dry pellets, rinse the urine out, sanitize and there you go. Seems to really keep any smell to a minimum.
basically we have a small rabbitry, "IRONWOOD RABBITRY", in our attached garage.
They are on racks 36" high with slanted Polyetheylene (visqueen) plastic sheeting chutes underneath that lead into a 5 gal bucket on about a 30 or so degree angle, so that it runs down. We brush what doesnt run down daily into the buckets, then wash the chute with 8 oz of water and a 1/2 oz of bleach, into the buckets. From there, the buckets are removed daily, and eventually spread on the garden.
We sweep daily, on a concrete floor, so its easier than you'll have it but still possible. Any spills are covered with some pine/spruce sawdust and swept up. We remove our sweepings and waste daily and keep our hay and feed in the gargage also.
My garage is 25' X 12' so I can fit my tool bench, table saw, work bench, and rabbit rack ( 2 X 8' racks on each side) plus a 6' double tier rack on the head wall, and still get my Suzuki Aerio inside for oil changes and light maintenance when I wish.
Odor-wise, our garage smells like hay, but not like rabbits. Just outside the garage, you can catch an whiff of the stuff waiting to go to the garden, but for us, the odor is not a problem.
Originally Posted by BlueJuniperFarm
Thanks, both of you, for the ideas. I think there's something there that I can use!
Next I'm going to see if I can figure out a way to have the chickens in the garage (just for the winter)!
I know there is a yahoo group for worms... I think the "official" name is vermaposting?
Maybe someone here has the link...
Its one of the things I meant to do this year, but didn't. Plus I have Stupid Chickens now, and they would just root thru it and eat the worms I think. I have no idea if there is any odor or not?
I do know that when I shovel the few spots where there is drop poo, when I get to the bottom there are always TONS of worms, but thats like one cage inside and a few outside. I'd like to have one or two beds set up, we're on a major road to a lake, so selling worms would be a big $$$ maker I think.
I would be cautious. I just moved the rabbit area from adjacent to the barn doors to a much more sheltered, less ventilated spot in the barn - and the smell is driving me nuts. I am very sensitive to smells! Much more than most. But it's such a 'gamey'? smell I don't think I could take it in the garage.
Of course hygiene management might make all the difference in the world.
When I've had ammonia smells from the chickens, I've stirred the litter well and sprinkled horticultural limestone (just powdered limestone rock, not quick lime) into the litter. It works wonders, is a good addition to the soil and is totally natural.
There is a liquid you can spray in the pans (NIX) and some also using a powder called Sweet PDZ? I have also heard that certain additvies in feed will keep the odor down, Yucca was it? Vanilla in the water too?
I have zero sense of smell, so I probably clean mine more often than some, since I can't smell if its bad or not. Now, joy of joys, I CAN smell chicken poop. Oh goody!
When I was a kid my Dad brought our rabbit's hutch down into our basement each winter and placed it by a sunny window. We never had an odor problem. He rigged up a sliding tray under the cage so droppings/urine would fall through the wire base into the tray. The tray was filled with peat moss, and I think that was the trick. He'd just replace the peat moss regularly, and put the "used" peat moss into our dormant garden. Bunny was happy, Mom was happy (and she was a stickler for cleanliess), and we had a terrific garden each year.