Finished and Baby Bunnies!

Okay, that’s a lie. I’m not ACTUALLY finished, but work on the hutch is sincerely about 1-2 days away from being complete. In fact it is so close that we have one of the cages completely buttoned down and secure. And not a moment too soon since Evo got out of her cage today once again.

We put the door frames up on monday and set about affixing the wire mesh yesterday. I really wanted to put the mesh up pre-door-frames but Chuck insisted this was better. Turns out that the only way to affix the mesh to the walls this way is to crawl into the cages. I weigh too much for this and am too large to fit my fat hips through the door frames, but luckily Greg is significantly lighter and slimmer. He generously crawled into each hutch to staple the wires in place along the door frames and walls. The fact that a grown man can fit into an individual unit of this cage should give you an idea of how spacious they really are. And the fact that each unit can hold well over 100lbs says that my construction is very sturdy.

Greg is completely inside this cage stapling the wire down.

We finished one whole cage and the second one only needs it’s wire for the door stapled in place. But because of Evo’s most recent breakout we decided the priority was moving her outside where she will be safer.

We brought out a pile of used hay and fur from Tasty’s old nest and dropped it around the hutch for the dogs to examine yesterday. And today we brought out huge handfulls of hay and thoroughly covered the bottom of the cage floor. While the breeze is still chilly we’re getting another warm-front through this week so there should be no serious issues with the transition to outdoors. It is the week after that brings up concerns as it will be dropping possibly as low as 10 degrees. Still, with extra hay and their shelter boxes the bunnies should be toasty warm. The hutch is well-ventillated to prevent the buildup of moisture which is the real problem for bunnies. In a dry environment with bedding and shelter they can easily withstand lower temperatures than we ever get up here.

Evo looking around her new home.

Also the cages have a little design quirk in them that I built-in. The cages don’t have a built-in latch. Instead each cage has a pair of eyelets (one on the door and one on the frame) that a padlock slides through. The ONLY way to shut the door is to lock it with a padlock. This is not exactly required but I really wanted to make sure that my cages were always locked.

You can see that the only way this will stay shut is VIA the padlock on it.

Today we finish the door on the second cage and start wrapping the wire on the third. And tomorrow we move Nutro outside and Purina and her litter into the empty grow-crate. Eventually all four rabbits will be outside but for now this is a good way to transition them.

Moving Purina is especially important as the baby bunnies have grown quite active. Momma is eating over 1lb of food a day at this point as her babies are almost 10oz each and STILL nursing.

I was 9oz when this picture was taken.

At this point the babies are trying to explore and have been slipping out the wide bars of what was supposed to be a VERY temporary location. If we can get them into the grow-crate they will have deer netting stretched across solid bars for walls and will have both more space and less escaping!
luckily for Purina her babies are starting to eat solid foods. They won’t be close to weaning for another week or so yet (in the wild rabbits are typically weaned at 4 weeks) but right now they’re trying out their new teeth.

They have been seen to consume some of the hay and mouth on the pellets a bit. I also have some oats mixed into mom’s food that will entice them to eat it. And some have even been trying the water bottle. At this point I can’t even tell the runt apart from the rest because they are all healthy and active. Hoorah!

I also added a little page about my rabbitry. I linked to this blog in a few directories and ad sites so I figured having a page on my rabbits would be wise. It has a brief description of my rabbits and husbandry practices, the latter of which I am proud to be able to state. I feel like my rabbits are very well cared for and I like to show it. If you’re interested in one of my rabbits… Send me an e-mail! :3

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8 thoughts on “Finished and Baby Bunnies!

  1. Great post!! I would love to see more on your rabbits. My daughter has shown them once in 4-H and we will do again at some point. Right now we have too much going on and I just had to cut a few things. Hated to do it, but 4-H was one. We still have the rabbits which we are wanting to start breeding for her to show again when the time comes and also for meat. So I’m trying to learn as much as possible.

    I really like your cages, but to be clear, is it 4 cages? I was just wondering how it was fixed where the top two rabbits dropping fall? I like that idea though. It would hold more rabbits in less space.

    And those babies are SIMPLE ADORABLE. Nothing cuter than little bunnies. Good luck with it all and I look forward to seeing more posts.

    • Thanks! I am sure you will see plenty of bunny posts here now and in the future. 4H is great for kids and I hope you can get back into it sometime. I wish I could have participated in 4H as a kid.
      It IS four cages. And the cages are solid bottoms except on the very back (which is slotted because of an accident in construction) and the very front (which is the same wire mesh as the walls for the same accident). I really hate wire bottom cages for several reasons; including that they are normally stacked and the droppings fall on the rabbits below. Solid bottom cages with a non-slick bottom prevent sore hocks, broken nails/toes and splay legs and the droppings fall on the solid bottom instead of the rabbits below. They also help with babies that end up “on the wire” since the babies end up in hay instead and have the potential to live longer and they allow for a rabbit to dig through the bedding which is thier strongest natural instinct (which also wears down thier nails). Now, wire mesh cages are the standard and are far easier to sanitize and keep clean but as far as keeping the animals happy goes they’re not very effective. With a solid bottom cage you need bedding (I use a hay that is a natural diet for the rabbits; a locally grown timothy/orchard grass mix that also helps wear down teeth) that is changed regularly and you need to keep your eyes out for infections like mastitis more. It is a good idea to custom make nest boxes to make sure the fronts are very low (2-3 inches) so thier teats don’t scrape on it hopping in and out and pick up this infection. And you need to change the bedding regularly so nothing bad grows in it which means a lot of waste. It is highly compostable but the seeds then tend to grow in the compost. (Not that growing rabbit forage is bad!).

      Hope that answers your questions!

      • It does. Thank you!! We are needing to build some more cages so I will take your advice when doing so. I look forward to seeing more of your bunny posts. 4-H is a wonderful thing and the kids enjoy it. Hopefully next year after we finish our house we will be able to be involved in it again. Thanks for replying back.

        • I suggest doing your own research first. My personal experience in production rabbits is limited. My six+ years experience is all about keeping them as healthy, happy pets with limited vet care and optimal behavior for having fun with the rabbits. Production facilities have reasons beyond production for their smaller wire cages such as ease of care and good sanitization. 4H may also have it’s own regulations. It’s good to know that someone else is considering solid floors though, even if it’s much more work.

    • These are actually what I refer to as Boring White Bunnies because they are New Zealand Whites and one NZW/Californian; the two most common (and efficient) meat breeds in the world and both VERY white. :3 Someday I will get New Zealands in other colors but I couldn’t pass up getting four adult proven breeding rabbits for $70.

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