Rabbit Hutch | Best Information about Indoor & Outdoor Hutch
The majority of rabbit hutches are manufactured from wood, although more and more attention is now being given to metal hutches, and laboratories have used these for many years. Wood is now relatively expensive, and after wooden rabbit hutch has suffered some wear it often becomes increasingly difficult to clean it easily and well. Exposed edges must be protected for some rabbits will do considerable damage by gnawing.
Unless the wood is carefully treated it has a tendency to absorb urine, and will consequently tend to smell rather more than hutches made of other materials. Nevertheless, the majority of rabbit hutches are made of wood and it will be some years before these are largely replaced by metal hutches. Wood is also of course much easier to use than is metal. The most satisfactory wooden type rabbit hutch is made from a wooden framework with asbestos walls and floor.
Different Types of Rabbit Hutch
Asbestos cement sheet had at one time a bad reputation for cracking. When carefully handled, however, no difficulties in this direction should arise, and the material is certainly more suitable than wood for walls and floors. The floors and walls are smooth and easy to clean. They are also impervious to moisture. An asbestos cement board with a hard smooth surface, and which has good strength is required and should always be specified. The thicker sheet is more satisfactory. The most satisfactory method of fixing asbestos sheet to wood is with screw sand screw cups.
An inch screw of about 6 gauge is the best size. The asbestos sheet can be easily cut with an ordinary sass, although one with small teeth will be found to be most suitable. Some workers prefer to damp the board when cutting but this is not essential. When sheets are being cut they should be adequately supported to prevent the possibility of cracking.etal sheeting, particularly in the form of corrugated iron, has been used a great deal for rabbit hutches and shelters, but in general, it has little to recommend it.
It tends to be excessively hot in summer and excessively cold in winter, and in humid atmospheres condensation is high. The same objections do not apply entirely to aluminous, which have few disadvantages except that of cost. It is probable that this material will be increasingly used particularly for all metal Rabbit hutches. Aluminum or alloy sheeting is also much used in other countries for the construction of equipment such as food hoppers and the like, where a 20 gauge sheet is ideal.
Punched metal sheeting with s inch holes punched at a Winchesters has also been used for rabbit hutch flooring, although it is not entirely satisfactory. Wire mesh or grid is essential in every rabbit hutch. It is used to cover doors on wooden hutches, and for hayracks. Indeed entire hutches are manufactured from welded or woven wire. Poor quality wire netting is a very bad investment.
Badly galvanized netting will soon deteriorate, as will also too light gauge netting. Before purchase the netting should be examined for faults, particularly cracking of the galvanizing sharp splinters. The thickness of the wire is denoted by a gauge number, the higher the number the thinner the wire. 20 gauge is the thinnest wire which should be used in the rabbitry.
A good quality, well galvanized woven wire has many uses and is suitable for floors, but the ideal for this purpose is welded wire, which is being increasingly used in all industries. For rabbit hutch flooring, undoubtedly the most suitable gauge is t4, but 16 gauge may be used for lighter weight rabbit hutches. A mesh of RI x ft inches or Hz x t inch should be used for floors, with much larger mesh suitable for walls and doors. For the latter purpose, a slightly lighter gauge than 14 is also permissible.
Concrete rabbit hutches have been used on the Continent, on some occasions pre-fabricated units being marketed. Concrete is not however really suitable for housing of animals, although making an excellent floor for the rabbitry, and for foundations or blocks for supporting uprights of shelters. In the same way, although bricks and breeze blocks are sometimes used the yare not entirely satisfactory.
There is a wide variety of manufactured boards, including hardboard, plywood, Wedlock ‘ and the like. Few of these are suitable for the rabbit breeder, although metal-clad plywood is valuable for the construction of strong light traveling.
Roofing felts and bituminous roof coverings are excellent when they are in such places as not to come into contact with stock, that is, as a covering over wooden shelters and the like. They are not suitable for rabbit hutch construction.
Equipment for rabbit hutch
Certain equipment is essential in the rabbitry, but in addition, there are other items that, if properly constructed and used, make management easier. There is often a good deal of prejudice against labor-saving devices: often they are contemptuously labeled” gadgets ” and ignored. This is sometimes due to the previous use of badly designed equipment, or to ignorance. Each item of equipment should save time, or it should improve management or ease of operation. When a new item is being considered, it should be given a fair trial to see whether it meets the conditions.
All items should be strongly made and should be capable of being easily cleaned. Above all, they should not be a danger to stock. Splinters, protruding nails, sharp edges of metal, all will cause damage. Feeding equipment should be sufficiently large to enable all the occupants of the rabbit hutch to feed at the same time, and it is advantageous for feeding and watering equipment to be so arranged that feeding and watering can be accomplished without opening the rabbit hutch doors.
Pots and troughs of glazed earthenware, with an inturned lip to prevent animals from scratching out food, are very popular. Enamel pots, galvanized iron, and plastic pots are all useful but do not have the weight of the earthenware type and are more likely to be thrown about or tipped up by the animals. The idea of fixing the pot to a board on which the rabbit has to stand when eating, and thus preventing the pot from being thrown about has some disadvantages, and consequently, a pot fitted into the wire of the door is the best type.
Pets or troughs should not exceed three inches in depth and should be only sufficiently wide for the animal to reacts to the bottom. It is important to remember that there must be sufficient trough space to allow all animals to feed at the same time. Automatic food hoppers save much time and lab our. The yare easily fixed to the door so that the trough projects into the rabbit hutch with the opening for filling remaining outside.
The lip of the trough should not be fitted more than about 41 inches above the floor of the rabbit hutch. In some cases, it is as well to divide the hopper up into several sections in order to allow several different foods being fed at the same time. Hoppers are of course only suitable for concentrated foods such as pellets or cereals. Various types of swinging hoppers have been used when restricted feeding is practiced, the trough being swung outwards from the door and the food tipped in.
An excellent type of hopper of circular design that must, however, be placed entirely within the rabbit hutch has also been developed. It is particularly suitable for colony pens and can be bolted to a wire mesh floor to prevent tipping up. An arrow mouth and sloping divisions prevent the young rabbits from sitting on the mouth of the hopper. Hoppers can be easily made by the breeder to his own design. The ends of the hopper can be cut from the solid Linwood, and the front and back made from sheets of metal and nailed on.
Hay and greens racks prevent these feeding stuff from being contaminated by the stock. The usual type is a simple piece of wire mesh fixed to a corner of the rabbit hutch. This type is unsatisfactory, and the best designs incorporate the following features.
Filling should be possible from outside the rabbit hutch; the angle at which the hay is held should not be too flat as the rabbits will then pull the hay down which may result in seeds, dust, etc. falling into their eyes; there should be some form of trough to catch the leaf from the hay (which is the most valuable part), and the construction should be such that the young rabbits cannot injure themselves by getting caught in the mesh.
A rack made by fixing at an angle a strip of the board to the bottom of the door (or the bracing at floor level) outside the rabbit hutch is satisfactory, although it does obstruct light. The rabbits pull the material through the mesh of the door.
Undoubtedly the most satisfactory type is the rack made as a unit and placed between two hutches, thus forming partition and serving as a rack for both hutches. A major advantage of this type is that it can be used to split up a range of hutches into various sized units. The most suitable mesh for the hay rack is a woven wire or welded wire of r x 2 inches, the longest side of the mesh being vertical.
Watering systems and utensils can be of very varied designs.here is the simple pot at one extreme and at the other, the fully automatic system is supposed to require attention only rarely, and that attention is confined to flushing out the system once monthly. All systems or utensils should be easy to cleats, so fitted that they cannot be split, and the water cannot be contaminated by the stock or with bedding, easily removed or filled from outside the rabbit hutch, and so placed that stock of all ages can drink easily.
The glazed earthenware pot again, when fixed halfway through the door is suitable, but liable to contamination. A semi-automatic system consists of a glass bulb or bottle from which comes a 4-inch diameter glass tube through which the water passes when the animal sucks at it. The edges of the glass tube must be smoothed by placing in a flame, and the bottle or bulb can easily be attached to the rabbit hutch door with metal straps.
The objections to the latter systems are that in freezing weather the bottles are often broken, the rabbits being without water, and they are laborious to fill.
The automatic systems of watering all consist of running the pipe through, underneath, or against the line of rabbit hutches, into which are fitted cups, valves, or a combination of the Two. The cost of installing these systems is high, and sometimes trouble is experienced through jamming up of valves or inlets. Freezing troubles can be overcome by running a suitable electric cable (usually lead-covered hotbed cable) through the pipes, the electricity is controlled by a thermostat.
Open channels running alongside rabbit hutches are not suitable as they become easily contaminated and blocked, and assisting the spread of disease.
Many breeders prefer to use open pots, and there is some evidence that certain types of valves do not allow the stock to drink sufficiently. Where large numbers of pots have to be cleaned and filled, a simple type of gun attached to a lightweight hose (plastic) can be very useful. A double trigger action produces either a high-speed jet of water suitable for swilling out the pot or a large volume at low pressure for filling.
Nest boxes are most useful. They remove the necessity of having partitions in the rabbit hutch and allow the doe to make her nest in an enclosed box instead of on the floor of the rabbit hutch.
If the nest is on the floor, the young very often leave it too early, thus becoming liable to chilling, and to picking up contaminated food, or food which is unsuitable for them.
An est box also simplifies the examination of the litter, for it can be lifted out of the rabbit hutch and the youngsters examined at leisure. It also gives extra protection to the baby rabbits, and the top gives the doe a place from which site can escape the worrying of the young rabbits just before weaning.
A box ten inches wide, ten inches high and fifteen inches long is ideal for the medium-sized breeds, and these sizes can be modified slightly for the largest or smallest breeds. The top and the front of the box should be hinged to allow the box to be fully opened for the examination of the nest and for cleaning. The boxes are best constructed from wood, with a minimum thickness of an inch.
Although it is not generally necessary, extra protection can be given to the nest box by packing it into a larger box withal straw lining. Alternatively, a false bottom can be installed and a low wattage bulb (15 watts) fitted beneath the false floor.
Traveling boxes should be light, strong, and of sufficient size for the comfort of the rabbit. Ventilation must be good, but the box must not be a draught. It is best to keep separate boxes for does and bucks. A buck sent to a show in a box that has previously been used for does may not arrive in the best condition.
The weight of the traveling box should be as close as possible, consistent with strength, for the cost of sending exhibits to shows can be increased considerably if this point is not borne in mind.
With regard to construction, the box should be raised on two slats or metal rails nailed to the bottom, which prevents the box from touching wet floors. A chain should be fixed to the lid to prevent the hinges from being strained when the box is opened. A metal tray can be fitted to prevent the floor from becoming soiled. The tray greatly assists in cleaning out. Adequate ventilation is supplied by holes at the end of the box or by ridge ventilation, but draughts are prevented by baffle boards.
The fastening of the box is important. It should be reliable but easy to undo for a great deal of vexation that can be caused to stewards at shows by difficult catches. Some form of carrying handle gives an additional safeguard if it is attached to both ends of the box and not only to the lid. A strong leather strap is excellent.
Holders for skinning rabbits can save considerable time when there are a number of rabbits to be handled. A slotted iron bar, about ten inches wide bent to a right angle, with the slot several inches long, one inch wide at the mouth and tapering to appoint makes a highly suitable holder. The holders are fixed in pairs about 7 or 8 inches apart, the slotted piece coming away from the wall at slightly less than a right angle. Any sized rabbit can be hung from these holders, for the leg is pushed into the slot above the hock joint, the swelling of which prevents the leg from slipping through.
A variation on this design for those breeders who prefer a swinging type of holder is easy to make rather in the shape of an inverted clothes hanger, with slots in either end. If a large number of rabbits are to be pelted a number of these holders should be used to hold the animals for bleeding and cooling after pelting. Pelt boards and stretchers are essential for all breeders who sell or use the skins produced, whether they are sold for hating furor as prime fur skins.
Pelt boards are the best for the furrier skins, but for hating skins, which are usually sleeved, pelt stretchers are preferred .able for ease and quickness. Pelt boards are made of fairly soft wood and should be 2 feet wide and 2:1. feet long.
It is always best to have the boards too large rather than too small. If 1,4-inch battens are screwed to both sides of the boards a the top and bottom, then both sides of the board can be used for a pelt, as the pins or nails used for nailing out the pelts will be shorter than this. Pelts should however only be nailed on both sides when the board can be hung freely. When it is hung against a wall then only one side can be used. For nailing out pelts, II- inch pins should be used. Heavy gauge furriers pins are excellent. Pelt stretchers are made either of wood or wire, the latter being preferable.
A five-foot length of steel spring wire of 8 or 9 gauge is used. The Centrex of the length of wire is wound for several turns around a 2-inch diameter pipe, the ends of the length being left about 12 or54 inches apart. A variation of this type consists of a stretcher having shoulders. Wooden adjustable stretchers are also easy to make.
Hygiene trays or units make useful accessories in rabbit hutches. Au nit consists of a metal tray over which is fitted a metal grid. If placed in the corner of the rabbit hutch used by the rabbits the majority of feces will be collected and can easily be removed. Cleaning of the entire rabbit hutch can, therefore, be less frequent, and rotting of wooden floors by urine can be largely prevented. Any metal may be used, although aluminum alloy is probably the most suitable.
The tray should measure at least r Hz inches square by 1?,- inches deep, and the grid should be made from welded wire grid of inches mesh, or t x inch mesh, of at least 14 gauge wire. The grid is attached to one side of the tray by wire rings or clips and should overlap the other three sides. The tray can be improved by extending two sides of the tray to a height of 5 or 6 inches, these increased sides being placed against the rabbit hutch back and side.
Cleaning equipment is essential in all rabbi tries. A scraper may consist of an ordinary hot (those with straight sides arc best) with the blade straightened to slightly more than a right angle with the handle. An eighteen-inch handle is quite long enough. Some breeders prefer a narrow scraper, but eight inches wide is probably the most useful.
The second type of scraper consists of heavy gauge metal sheet 7 or so inches wide and 5 inches high, with one long edge bent over to form a tube for the handle. One or two stiff brushes, one with a short handle, for rabbit hutches and one for the rabbitry floor, are desirable. A wheelbarrow or manure trolley is necessary for the laterality, but in no circumstances should this barrow be used for food or clean bedding.
A rabbit”, the table is essential for the handling of stock. Any table which is firm and large enough is suitable. The table should also be of the right height for easy handling. A movable table has advantages. An old tea-trolley may be easily adapted. The tabletop should be covered with sacking to prevent the rabbits from slipping. A false top covered each side is better still, one side being used for bucks and the other for does. Both sides should be clearly marked. A mature buck will usually be much quieter on a top that has not carried does recently.
Bedding of rabbit hutch
All solid floors must be covered with suitable bedding.here is a variety of bedding materials available, including sawdust, peat moss, straw, hay, leaves, wood chips and shaving sand even soil. Usually, that bedding material which is cheapest is selected by the rabbit breeder, although in most cases sawdust is undoubtedly the most suitable.
The best sawdust should not be dusty nor should it be damp. It has the advantages of absorbing moisture well, being a gooseberry, being generally unpalatable to stock so that they will not eat it, and finally does not stain the rabbits’ coats. Peat moss, whilst having most of the same advantages has the grave disadvantage that there is a tendency to stain coats, particularly with white breeds.
Straw is well-liked by many breeders, but there is always the disadvantage that stock may eat it and if it has been contaminated, it may pick up infections in this way. Hay does not have such good absorbing powers as any of the others and is moreover much more costly. Dried leaves are often used, but it is doubtful whether they have much to recommend them.
They break up easily and their absorbing powers are not high. Although dried soil and cinders have been used, there is little to recommend them. The main essentials of good bedding are that it should have good absorbency, it should not be dusty or stain the stock, it should if possible assist to eliminate odors, and it should not be harmful to plants when the manure is used for the garden or field.
There is a widespread fallacy that sawdust may be injurious.
Sawdust is, however, a valuable addition to the soil, although in a fresh condition it may cause a slight but temporary shortage of available nitrogen. This is however soon replaced.fter rabbit hutches are cleaned out a sprinkling of lime before the fresh bedding is put into the rabbit hutch will assist in keeping the rabbit hutch sweet.
The depth of the bedding and the frequency of changing will depend on the type of stock, the type of bedding, the type of ration, and the weather conditions. Thus no guide can be given, except to say that the bedding should not be allowed to become damp. As soon as this occurs, the bedding should be changed.
Bedding which the pregnant doe will use to make her nest should be carefully chosen. The nest box should first be lined with a half-inch or so of sawdust, on top of which should be placed some bedding. Hay, best chopped into six-inch length is, probably, the most suitable material. An additional amount of the hay should be left in the rabbit hutch from which the doe will prepare her nest.