Monday, December 14, 2009
One thing we failed to realize when we first began breeding rabbits for meat was how many cages the little darlings would need while growing to the kill stage. Why no book ever mentions this is beyond me as it was one of the first things I figured out and I am pretty slow. Another thing I learned quickly was that having more than a few bunnies in a typical 2 foot cage, even as babies is just not right and borders upon inhumane, at least in my eyes.
Another thing we learned was bunnies chew things and they can chew their way out of things quite quickly. In fact they chew so quickly that one bored day of the dears gnawing away and they can indeed spring them selves from a wood based cage. I have no clue why when you google rabbit hutches they show beautiful wooden structures. They surely will not keep the cute fur balls contained for very long.
As I have previously written, we have a herd of 9 bunnies running rogue in with the hens. Much as I enjoy watching them living warren style in the coop roaming freely, the darlings also dig. They dig every bit as well as they can chew. I know this because the very first day we had released our breeder bunnies in their new home to run free, they escaped in 20 minutes flat. Out and under the fencing with 12 inch rods going in the ground every few inches. Lucky for us the breeders had never known freedom in any way so they simply stood there waiting for us to rescue them. Having the babies out running is cute and all but it is a matter of time before they figure out that freedom or death is just under that fence.
We decided when the babies ate their way out of their home, that we indeed were going to have to build new hutches for the bunnies and this time do it proper.
Manthing was able to go out and build the new bunny hotel today. This will be where we can put an entire litter of bunnies in one area. The cage is 6 foot long so will be plenty large to house them all. The bad bunnies out running with the hens will be the first to try it out, but only until i have them captured so we can have a butcher day.
We are going to build another cage next to this one that is only half the size. We just ran out of time today to get it done too.
The cage was built in the chicken coop. we only have a few hens so we are not worried about sickness by having the two together. The top of the bunny cage is solid so that if the hens do climb up above it and poop it will not be landing on the bunnies. Under the cage for the moment we will allow the bunny poop to land and I will clean it out when we clean the chicken coop come spring. This spring we will be setting up a large worm bin under the cages to collect the droppings and for smell control. The door is across the entire top rather than in the front for room purposes. We will put a hook and eye for the top rather than propping it with a stick. This way we can herd the bunnies to one end of the cage come butcher day and make the cage smaller with a divider as we go . It is also built tall enough that they cant jump out.
Here is the photo journal of the bunnies and their new home.