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hugelkultur rabbit shelters

 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I'm thinking of combining this:


with this:


What do you think?
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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hopefully, it will look as good as this:
 
C.J. Murray
Posts: 92
Location: 5,500 ft. desert. 13" annual precip.
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I’m not completely sure what all you will be trying to accomplish but I can say this: That would be soooooooo coooooool. That would look so good at my place. Whatever you are thinking I want one.

So the rabbits have an underground home which protects them from the elements, correct? How does the guy access it to clean it out in the second example? Are you wanting to do this so the hugelkultur bed is located close by for backside protection/insulation and for adding rabbit droppings to or is there something I’m not understanding about the setup. Give me all the juicy details.
 
Abe Connally
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If air temperatures are above 85 degrees F for very long, rabbit reproduction drops significantly. So, these underground shelters help with that. You don't have to clean them out much, cause you train the rabbits to use the external cage for droppings.

The underground bit has an access door on the top. You can find more info about these shelters here: http://ressources.ciheam.org/om/pdf/c08/95605275.pdf

My idea is to bury the shelter in a hugel bed. It will be cooler there, and produce some food for the rabbits at the same time. Maybe incorporate some vines over a trellis like this:
 
C.J. Murray
Posts: 92
Location: 5,500 ft. desert. 13" annual precip.
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I way like the idea of the hugelbed being close by. Because of the need to access the underground home it appears to me that you could only have the hugelbed against the back side and around the ends. Is that how you envision it?

I also like the idea of the trellis over the top with vining, fruiting plants. That would be great shade in the summer. If one were to design the trellis so that once the harvest was over the vines could be removed and plastic installed it could then become a green house type enclosure for the winter. Isn’t it Salatin who winters chickens and rabbits together in a hoop house for the winter?

If one is not opposed to using tires they could be stacked up and filled with dirt and the top tire used for the home and planter bed dirt between the tires. It looks to me like they access the underground home from behind in the trellis photo as there isn’t enough room to stand between the cages. Stacks of tires could be spaced far enough apart to allow room between cages to work since there will be hugelbed behind. The gaps between the tire stacks could be tire tread strips screwed to the tire stacks.

In the trellis photo there are tubes coming out of the wall below the cage. Any idea what their function is?

There’s some good stacking of functions.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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Because of the need to access the underground home it appears to me that you could only have the hugelbed against the back side and around the ends. Is that how you envision it?


You don't much space to access from above, so you can have plants around the door on top, on the backside, and the sides. Really, only the front is taken out.

For a vine, it would be nice to have something that is perennial, producing leaves year round for the rabbits. Because the sun is lower in the winter, you can design the trellis like a roof, and still have significant solar gain. Through some green house plastic over the top for a while, too.

If one is not opposed to using tires they could be stacked up and filled with dirt and the top tire used for the home and planter bed dirt between the tires. It looks to me like they access the underground home from behind in the trellis photo as there isn’t enough room to stand between the cages. Stacks of tires could be spaced far enough apart to allow room between cages to work since there will be hugelbed behind. The gaps between the tire stacks could be tire tread strips screwed to the tire stacks.

That is an interesting idea, but I prefer bricks for the homes, as they stay cool and provide some thermal mass. They do access those shelters from behind.

I think the tubes you see in that photo might be for drainage, but I'm not sure.

I am sure we could stack more functions, if we thought about it more. Those muscovy ducks eat the rabbit manure and flies, worms, etc below the cages.
 
C.J. Murray
Posts: 92
Location: 5,500 ft. desert. 13" annual precip.
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I think integrating the raised bed against a wall that is basically wasted space is such a great idea. Especially since it makes the vines available that much higher off ground level right from the start so as to lessen the time it takes them to provide useful shade.

Since the vines will be growing up the back of the trellis it will shade the hugel bed (I think I've seen it said somewhere that a bed using hugelkulter is called a hugelbeet) if the rabbit nests are aligned east to west. Since the point is to keep the rabbit nests cool I don't think they should be facing west to collect the afternoon sun. I think the rabbit nests need to face east. Any thoughts?
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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the vines will provide partial shade it he summer, which is probably a good thing for a climates the needs a system like this. I would face the whole thing south for solar in the winter, and plant partial shade stuff in the hugelbeet.
 
Food Forest
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Abe Connally wrote:I'm thinking of combining this:


with this:


What do you think?


updates please? very interested
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I'm still figuring out the details, but I'm thinking that for my climate, this may not work well. I need a shade structure above the rabbits (and for rain catchment), and that doesn't make for a very good grow bed (in the shade of a roof).

I'm hoping to build a barn this year that will incorporate the underground shelters, but I'm still figuring out the hugelkultur parts.
 
Devin James
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Location: Central Texas Hill Country
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First time posting here. Been reading a while.
I am inspired by this thread. I have a few hugelkulture beds, and a few sheet mulched beds, and room to expand here in Central Texas. I found an abandoned pet rabbit, Florida White I think, last week while out fishing. While fishing I was thinking, "chickens, rabbits or goats" and letting my mind scatter and wonder on the pros and cons of each. In a very Alice in Wonderland sort of way, this white rabbit appears in my peripheral. Long story short, I chased then stalked the bunny, caught it an brought her home.

I work for the municipally owned electric utility and I have access to numerous electric wire spools. You know, the ever present bachelor table. The spool laid on its side is 4 feet tall with the center tube 3 feet deep. I plan to lay three of the wire spools side by side in an interlocking fashion along the perimeter deer fence. Then attach a standard hutch on the outside of the fence/spool, and cut access doors on the inside the garden side of the spool. The wooden spools will provide subteranian habitat for the rabbits, a retaining wall for the hugel bed, and they will eventually rot adding it all back to the bed.

Before this is constructed, the hutch attached to the spool is mobile, provided you take out the rabbit, feeders, and such; just roll it to another area.

My biggest concern is that a hugelkulture bed may create too much heat for the rabbits to live. A rabbit burrow in a hot compost heap? I'm thinking, if the bottom portion of the spools is filled with the native clay soil to bury the central tube of the spool, then mound the rotting wood and compostables above and beside the clay, then the rabbits would be protected from the compost heat. Or I could use the native juniper logs to ensure very slow decomposition around the spools.

eh. I'll make some drawings

 
John Polk
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Great thread. Gets the creative juices flowing. Many permies projects can be spawned from this, adapted to local conditions/needs.

I am not 'into' rabbits (yet?), but can imagine other uses for the theme(s). The vining trellis (or a small grape arbor) makes me thing "what a great place to set a bee hive." Protection from from the elements, and pollination at the same time.

Keep the ideas flowing. Multiple functions are such an important part of permaculture.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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so, ok, how do I make this work and still have rain catchment over an area? I need a protected area for ducks, pigs, rabbits, and chickens, so I figured I'd build a half-buried barn. and the half-buried part could have some buried rabbit hutches. The problem is, that puts the rabbit cages in the center of the barn, and it would be better if they went out a side for fresh air.

Any ideas?
 
John Polk
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Instead of making the barn "half buried", you could just place a soil berm outside one wall, and have the hutches attached to the inside of that wall.
Perhaps a two story hutch, where the lower entrance goes into the berm, and the upper entrance leads out on top of the berm.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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that's a good idea, but, unfortunately, it won't work for me. I have to have it half buried because it is set into the side of the hill. So, I figured I would put the shelters into the retaining wall for the hill. The hole is already dug, so I am kinda tied to that space.
 
Peri Ledo
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Location: southern Spain
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I'm excited about this huggelkultur shelter for rabbits, but... wouldn't the rabbits just dig new exits and help themselves with the veggies grown on top of the huggelbed?
 
Peri Ledo
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Location: southern Spain
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maybe i missed the point and the huggelkultur bed is meant to feed the rabits, but still... wouldnt they scape? Is there need to fence around the beds?
thanks
 
Abe Connally
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they are not loose in the beds, they are enclosed.
 
R Scott
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I am working through the same issues except under a growbed in an aquaponic grow bed in a walapini greenhouse. I am not doing top access, I am doing double front doors--a small one for the rabbit and a larger cleanout door for me.

 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Abe Connally : have you followed the comments in The forum tread 'Hugelkultur Greenhouse Combination' ? I would like to know what you thought of them Especially mine !
Depending on your location and climate, this might have an effect on your Rabbit hutches ! So, were you able to give this a try and how did it work for you !

For the Future of the Craft ! be safe, keep warm ! PYRO-Logical Big Al ! As always, your questions and comments are solicited and are Welcome ! - A. L.
 
Amedean Messan
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Bump.
 
Abe Connally
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We've built some underground shelters for our rabbit. Here's how we made them:
http://velacreations.com/blog/352-rabbit-dwelling.html



And this week, we started getting animals in place with vermicompost and quail under the rabbit shelters:
http://velacreations.com/blog/365-quail-and-worms.html

 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Bravo, great setup. I prefer tractors and colonies for my climate and my needs but for a dry climate like your's, you've done an amazing job stacking functions.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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David Miller wrote:Bravo, great setup. I prefer tractors and colonies for my climate and my needs but for a dry climate like your's, you've done an amazing job stacking functions.

Thank you!

We have used colonies here, but we had a hard time controlling individual does (over eating, losing kits, etc). In this setup, we plan to do mini colonies of 2-3 does, so they can still have the social contact and behaviors, but gives us a bit more control on individual feed rates and breeding patterns. Also, manure management is a lot easier in cages. Another factor in our climate is the heat, and that's the idea behind the buried shelters. They work really well to maintain a constant temperature for the bunnies.

We also use tractors during the wet season (4 months). During the dry season, there is not much grass. We typically put growers/fatteners in the tractors.

The whole point of the Food Web is to integrate and stack functions. This small web (rabbits, quail, and earthworms) is very basic, but highly functional. We will be adding additional webs and cycles to maximize efficiency and reduce waste.
 
R Scott
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I love the milk crate vermi bins. Much more manageable and the worms should still migrate from bin to bin. Do you have a way to partition off the quail run or is it just a single pen?
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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R Scott wrote:I love the milk crate vermi bins. Much more manageable and the worms should still migrate from bin to bin. Do you have a way to partition off the quail run or is it just a single pen?


for now, it is a single pen, but we made wire panels to put in when we want to partition things off.

The crates are plastic apple crates, about $1 each, and then we have a tray underneath to catch stuff that falls through. We plan to pull a few crates each month for poultry food, and save the rest to maintain the population.
 
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