First off, I'll ask if you've raised rabbits before?
Only beef cattle and one hog.
A three foot square cage is more than adequate.
I spoke with Richard Steinberg in Owatonna, MN who breeds Florida Whites exclusively and he told me 2x2x14 is plenty of room. Do you think I need 3x3x16 for a medium size rabbit like the Florida White?
I am using all galvanized steel cages with slanted metal dividers under each cage that will run into a 3 inch pvc pipe cut in half. According to Richard, I can flush the system daily into a five gallon bucket.
I am going to to build the shed like a deck, with (3) 2x10x18 for the header and ledger resting on 6x6 posts on 4 12 inch concrete footings 48 inches deep and belled out at the bottom. The joists will be 2x10x8. The walls will be 2x4 with 2 inch foam insulation in the walls and the roof. I plan on adding 4 shed vents for light and ventilation, and leaving the sofit open for ventilation as well.
I am trying to figure out how to build a rocket mass heater under neath the structure. I will be running full uv spectrum fluorescent lights for the rabbits and maybe for starting seedlings if the temperature is right.
Thank for all the great info. This is a big project and having never even held a rabbit, at least for 20 years, it is good to get real world information.
Hope the pointers help.
Sounds like quite the build I am assuming that you are building so stout to protect from the disagreeable winters you have in your region.
That and for resale if I move I want a very useful shed.
I've seen the PVC waste removal system and have used it as well in the past but as with all things there are weak points to it. Namely bunny turds can clump from time to time and when washing out you can get overflows occasionally from the pvc system. Most of the time the clumping occurs not as a point of the manure itself but rather the amount of shed hair that lands on the base plate. Hence the reason I do the grey tarp sluice system now.
Great point, when he told me about it it sounded great, but I could see it easily clogging.
As to your thinking about the RMH for the bunny shed. Sounds like a nice thing indeed however in the winter months I fallow out my bunnies and do hutch share so they can cuddle each other for warmth but again your winters can be pretty severe and as I always err on the side of caution the RMH sounds great. Plus the early starting shed for seedlings would just be an added bonus.
A note on space. Technically Richard is correct in the dimensions he gave you. However let me put this bug in your ear. If you were a rabbit and you had a choice would you rather be in a 3 ft. square cage or the stated 2x2x14 one?
I would not make it for 48 hours in a 10x10 cage. I don't want to be cruel, I can only go with what others tell me is sufficient, but your point is well taken. Also a wire cage sounds cruel, but as Bennet mentions these rabbits are bred for captivity and there fury feet protect them. I might as you suggest want to crossbreed at some point with New Zealands and I would need the bigger cage any way, so good point.
I like to let my kids stretch and get exercise and personally I think the smaller version are just glorified veal cages. And veal and the raising of such I have never viewed as very humane. Your choice in the end but trust me they'll be happier to produce for you in a larger setting. Besides at some point you might hit on getting a larger breed and in so doing you already have cages appropriate for their size with no redesign.
All the best in your build
Thanks again for all your help.
Steve Gagnon wrote:
I am a newbie to this site, but I gotta say that I really like the tone and helpfulness!
Jami McBride wrote:
Yup, the tone is very important here at Permies
John - sounds like you've got it all planned out, but I would add that should your set up start stinking - laws or not you will get a visit from animal control (called in by your pool neighbors no doubt). So the more manure processing the better with any system. When your adding water the splash over can turn the ground sour (stink) to fix this use lime on the soil to balance out the PH.
And I echo chickencoopguy about the cage size.
All the best with your project!