wire hutches - buy or build your own?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Thinkinaboutit, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting into rabbits for the first time and have decided on all-wire hutches. Is it better or cheaper to build your own? Any tips on doing so?

    Or would it be better to just buy ready-made?


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  2. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ready-made cages are more expensive - you pay for the convenience - and in my experience are usually too small for the average meat rabbit.

    If you are handy at all, wire cages are quite simple to make. There are plans available free on-line.... google something like "making rabbit cages" or check the "Useful Rabbits Links" sticky at the top of this page.

    A few things you might want to keep in mind:
    - A working doe needs approx. 7 - 8 sq. ft. (Usual cage sizes are 33"x30" or 24"x48". Bucks can get away with a little less, but it is often easier just to make all the cages the same size. Make sure you can easily reach all the way to the back to catch a reluctant bunny.
    - Get the right tools. A strong pair of tin-snips to cut the wire and the correct pliers to close the J-clips of hog rings.
    - Don't skimp on the quality of the wire, particularly for the floor. You will need very heavy gauge 1/2"x1" wire for the floor (the rigidity helps to prevent foot problems and the size of the holes allows most "bunny berries" to drop through.) The rest of the cage could be made from 1" sq. welded wire. The heavier the gauge, the longer the cage should last.
    -Have some idea of how you plan to arrange your cages and where, before you make the cages. This will help you to decide where to place the door and where to cut for a food hopper, if you are planning to use them. You want easy access to the rabbit itself and its feed and water equipment.
    - Make sure the door is large enough to get the nest-box in and out easily. Most of my rabbits learn to feel so secure in their cages that even when the door is left open will not try to escape. (Except the two junior does aging in the fridge at the moment. They were escape artists and always making a ruckus.)

    That's all I can think of at the moment. One vote for DIY.
     

  3. bnlfan

    bnlfan Well-Known Member

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    Here are some pictures of how mine have been made. All you need are a good set of wire cutters, pliers, wire fence, hardware cloth (for bottom), clips, flat edge, and time to make them.

    [​IMG]
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    If you want better pictures just let me know and I will send you some.

    Good luck,
    bnlfan
     
  4. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    Not to criticize the hardware cloth flooring but be aware that some larger breeds are more prone to sore hocks if the flooring isn't very sturdy.. hardware cloth can sag, causing rabbits over 7# sore hocks. Also, it is harder for the rabbit poo to fall through and it mounds up making chores (scraping the inside of the cages) more difficult.

    I know this because a fairly local breeder here made all her cages with hardware cloth flooring. I bought a doe from her in Feb who had all four hocks open and bleeding. She had sat on the pile of poop since it was the only "relief" she could get from the sagging flooring.

    This was a french angora (about 7#) who would never take to being bred. She will be 2 in October. I brought her inside the house and doctored her up for months... she is still refusing to be bred so will be going to a nice wooler home to live her days next weekend instead of passing on her wonderful set of genes...

    Get 14 gauge 1x1/2 flooring.. don't skimp.. unless you are raising dwarf breeds maybe? (Be sure their poops are smaller than the holes of the floor wires).

    Good luck!
    Terri
     
  5. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

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    MaggieJ – thanks a lot for all your tips!

    bnlfan – Wow! Great pics! Thanks!

    TerriA – I’m pretty much settled on getting New Zealands or Californians, I think. Don’t know what size their droppings are. Do I need 14 gauge 1x1/2 for them?


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  6. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    Based on my previous experience raising NZW I would say yes!! My French Angoras are simply "wooly NZW" with their commercial type bodies... and my NZW weighed almost as much as my angoras (angoras in full coat tend to weigh a bit more simply because of the wool! LOL!)

    I'd NEVER personally use hardware cloth floors for bunnies that get to over 3#.. and my little jersey woolies weigh about that and I'd actually never use anything but the 1x1/2 inch wire for cage flooring for them either. The ONLY possible bunnie's I might (and have) used hardware cloth for flooring are NEWLY weaned kits.. for a week or two as I either sell or evaluate for type. Their poop is small enough to fall through. But trust me, it only takes a couple of weeks before my hutch needs emptying due to the poop size getting bigger.. there is plenty of room for rabbits in that hutch.. but their droppings are too big to fit through the holes of the hardware cloth mesh and is a REAL PIA to daily clean and sanitize!!

    Terri
     
  7. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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  8. BellsBunnies

    BellsBunnies Well-Known Member

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    We have both home-made cages and store-bought. I like each of them for different reasons. I have to agree about the hardware cloth and the poop not falling thru making cleaning time harder. To help prevent sore-hock you can put in a piece of un-treated wood and replace it as needed. We use 12X12 floor tiles-easy to clean and keeps the rabbits off the wire. They stay cooler and give some releif from the heat also.
     
  9. bnlfan

    bnlfan Well-Known Member

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    I've never had a problem with the poo falling through. But, I also don't have the largest rabbits around.