Archive for the Rabbit Equipment Category

Does a Rabbit make a Good Christmas Gift?

December 8, 2015

Every year around this time people visit pet stores, ask to pet the cute bunnies, and consider giving their loved ones a rabbit for Christmas.  But is this really a good idea?  Rabbits are not mere curiosities: they are living animals with needs and wants and opinions — oh yes! — opinions.  They can live up to twelve years and require daily time and attention.  A rabbit owner must be gentle and patient, must have a quiet and safe place for the rabbit to live, and must be able to afford expenses like food and vet bills.
For these reasons, some people say you should never give rabbits as Christmas presents.  But I’m going to break the mold.  I’m going to suggest that sometimes, SOMETIMES, it’s okay.  Because if my mother had never given me a rabbit when I asked for a horse, then, well, this blog wouldn’t exist, and I might never have gotten to know the sweetness of bunny kisses.
I think that giving someone a rabbit for Christmas can be a great idea — in certain cases.  I would say don’t even consider it unless all of the following qualifications are met:
-The recipient must be a family member or very close friend. It must be a responsible person that you know beyond doubt will take good care of the rabbit.
-You have talked to the recipient and they agreed to care for the rabbit.  I know it’s not fun to spoil surprises, but it’s also not fun to be surprised with an animal you didn’t want!  Definitely talk to the recipient and make sure they are willing to take on the care of an animal.
-The recipient must have a quiet, safe place for the rabbit’s cage to stay.  Rabbits can live indoors or outside, but they need to have shelter from the elements and need to have a quiet, peaceful environment in order to thrive.  They must be protected from dogs, cats, and wild predators as well.  Even though everyone would love a pet rabbit, not everyone has a good place to keep it.
-Last, but extremely important: If you give someone a rabbit, you MUST also give them the right supplies to care for it.  This includes a cage, food dishes, a water supply, and more.  However, we have made this part easy for you by putting together the Supreme Rabbit Home Complete Package — all you need to care for one pet rabbit.

Rabbit Equipment on Sale – Complete Starter Package for a Christmas gift

FLASH SALE!  TODAY the Rabbit Starter Package is only $99 with FREE SHIPPING!  That’s over $25 off the original price.  FINISH YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!
This is not an ordinary rabbit cage.  It’s made of top-quality North American wire.  We sand the edges on every panel by hand, and test it against bare skin to make sure there are no dangerous edges for you or the bunny.  The door is lined with protective plastic, and the floor is reinforced to keep the rabbit secure and safe.  The cage comes with splash guards and a slide-out drop tray.  This design keeps the rabbit out of its droppings, which is essential for helping it stay healthy. This cage is so strong and so tidy that it works well in an outdoor shelter or inside the house.
The package comes with a 16oz Lixit water bottle and two plastic dishes, one for food, and one for a backup water supply.  These dishes are by far the best on the market.  They clip easily but securely onto the cage so rabbits can’t tip them over.
The starter kit goes beyond the basics to make your pet comfortable.  It provides a plastic resting mat that keeps your rabbits’ feet off the wire, along with a fun chew toy.  Lastly, the package includes a deluxe, guillotine-style nail trimmer: the only kind of trimmer that is safe for rabbits’ nails.
All of these supplies together would normally cost about $125.  But right now, Premium Rabbit Supplies is offering the entire package for just $99 on their website.  And to make your holiday shopping extra simple, the shipping is free to anywhere in the United States.

Caring for Rabbits in the Winter

November 27, 2013

Can rabbits live outside in the winter?  Absolutely.  But there are a few things you should know about cold-weather rabbit care if you’re going to keep your rabbits outside in sub-freezing temperatures.

Wintery weather in Michigan - snow blowing

This is the view out my window at the moment.  I don’t think I’ll post a “selfie” right now, but if I did, you’d see I’m wearing a scarf.  In the house.  As usual.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving.  I live in northern Michigan, and if we don’t have snow by this time of November, we wonder what’s going on.  Some days I feel like I’d  welcome global warming if that meant I didn’t have to thaw frozen water bottles in November.  This year I was trudging through four inches of snow on my birthday, which was two weeks ago.  We’ve got eight inches on the ground right now.  And we’re sure grateful for our tank full of propane, because we’re burning through it fast.

I always feel for the little critters that live outside this time of year, both the wild animals and my domestic rabbits.  It seems impossible to live in an environment where the temperature doesn’t touch above freezing for weeks at a time, and yet they make it through.  Truth is that rabbits are built to handle winter weather much better than summer heat.  My rabbits often look their best over the winter.  They’re active and eager to see me rather than stretched out panting.  Their coats are dense and not molting.   Bitter cold is fatal for baby rabbits, but adult bunnies can do very well outside in the winter if you know how to care for them.

Care Tips for Pet and Show Rabbits Living Outside in Cold Weather

photo of domestic rabbit playing in the snow

Water matters…as usual.

Water is the most important thing you can provide for your rabbits during the hot summer season.  And guess what?  It’s also the most important thing you can give them in the winter.  If a rabbit doesn’t have water to drink, it won’t eat, and that can lead to G.I. Stasis quickly.  Provide your rabbits with fresh water at least twice a day.  It’s important any time of year, but especially when their water is going to freeze thirty minutes after they get it.

Since water freezes so quickly, it’s important to use the right watering equipment.  I always use plastic crocks in the winter  — no bottles, no glass, and no ceramic.   (EZ crock, I’m your biggest fan.)   Plastic will not crack when it expands, nor be as brittle if you drop it.  I keep two water crocks for each rabbit, so I can alternate between them well letting the frozen crocks melt in the house for twelve hours.  That’s a whole lot better than trying to work the ice cube out of each crock on the spot.

Rabbits will gnaw on the ice in their crocks, and sometimes this creates a hollow big enough that you’re tempted to just top it off with water instead of replace the whole crock.  Don’t do it.  Rabbits deserve a full dish of water which won’t freeze as fast as a little puddle on top of an ice cube.  I’m talking to myself here…

Handling your bunnies matters…as usual.

I’m always talking about how important it is to take your rabbits out on a regular basis and look them over for signs of illness.  This is especially true in the winter.  Feeding rabbits in cold weather can be tricky: you never want to let them get too fat, and yet they burn many more calories when they’re trying to get warm.  You need to watch your individual rabbits closely to make sure they are staying in good shape.  Watch them in their cages to make sure they are eating and moving around normally.  Take them out and feel their spines.  Lack of water will bring out a rough spine quickly, even if the rabbit still looks chubby under its winter coat.  In my experience, a rabbit who is suffering over winter will be very rough over the backbone.

Check your rabbits’ drop trays regularly.  If it stops producing normal-looking droppings, you have a problem and need to act fast.  (Take your rabbit where its warm, force-feed fluids, and keep it moving around, like you would a colicky horse.)  Of course, you won’t be able to know if the droppings have stopped unless you clean your drop trays once or twice a week… so make a point to clean them, even though it’s literally a frozen nightmare to do on a dark, 16-degree evening when you get home from work.

What and how much should you feed rabbits over the winter?

How much should you feed your rabbits over the winter?  Feed whatever will keep them in good condition.  That’s always the rule.  Where I live, the average high temp in January-February  is under 30 and the average low hovers around 11 degrees Fahrenheit.  It’s so cold that I want to make sure my rabbits have all the energy they need, so I full-feed.  (Full feeding means filling up the cups so rabbits have constant access to food.)  If you live in a warmer climate, you may find that your rabbits put on excess weight if you full-feed.  Or you might not.  My feeding program may not work for your rabbits, and yours may not work for mine.  Develop a plan that’s best for your own bunnies.

A lot of breeders feed high energy supplements over the winter, such as calf manna or an oat/barley/sunflower seed mixture.  I’ve never done this myself, but if you’ve got a bunny that’s underweight, those conditioners will help quickly.

Hay is always helpful for rabbits to have, including during winter.

rabbit playing in snow

Should you use electric heating devices?  Nest box warming pads, heated dishes, heat lamps and so on?

I am very, very wary of using electric heating devices around rabbits.  I strongly advise against them.  Firstly because they are unnecessary.  Barring very old and very young ones, rabbits can live outside in sub-freezing temperatures without issue.  (If you’re still not convinced, check out the paragraph on wild rabbits in the winter, below.)

Secondly, I don’t think you should use electric heating devices due to the fire risk.  Heated nest box pads very nearly killed our first two rabbits.  We had the bunnies in a wooden hutch, tucked up to the house so the cords on the heating pads would reach the outlet.  We were very careful to keep the cords out of reach of the bunnies’ teeth.  And yet something caught fire.  I thank God that we saw it from the window in time to rescue the rabbits, but they smelled like smoke for a long time.

In short, I don’t think the benefits of using electric heating devises with your adult rabbits are worth the risk.  If you want to help keep your bunnies warm, give them a nest box stuffed with straw.  Some bunnies will use it and some won’t, but at least it will make you feel like you did something.

What about a climate controlled rabbit barn?

If you plan to heat your whole bunny barn using electricity, that’s a different story.  I do think that can be done safely: I’ve used an electric space heater in the barn without issues.  There are better and worse ways to do it, but that’s a topic we’ll have to cover in another article.  For now, let’s focus on keeping rabbits outdoors.

Breeding rabbits in the winter

Again, this is a topic we should save for another article.  But I want to mention that it is totally possible to have success breeding rabbits in the winter: it’s just harder. Due to the lack of daylight, does will often be less receptive to the buck.  However, if you use an artificial source to make sure she’s got 10-12 hours of daylight, you may be able to trick her body into thinking its spring.  Once you’ve gotten a successful breeding, your biggest challenge will be keeping the babies alive in the cold.  I usually bring the doe into the house or a heated area for a week before and after she kindles.  After that I will leave the kits in the house and bring them out to the doe once or twice a day for feeding, until they are over two weeks old.

wild bunny in hole

Above photo: a wild cottontail peeks out of his hole in our yard, wondering if he should come out yet.

How do the wild rabbits get through the winter?

My family loves to watch the wild animals that live in our yard.  By day we feed the birds, and at night the wild cottontails come out to clean up the seeds that fell under the feeder.  Unlike the ground squirrel and chipmunk that we see in the summer, wild rabbits do not hibernate over the winter.  In fact, we see more wild rabbits when its snowy than at other times of the year.  When they’ve finished the leftover sunflower seeds, they’ll nibble on the raspberry canes that grow outside their holes.  During the day they stay in the shelter of their homes, cuddled up in their thick fuzzy coats.  At dusk they come out and warm themselves with activity, showing off leaps and straight-up vertical springs that no domestic rabbit can match.  I’m not sure how they make it through the winter, and yet somehow they do.  So to celebrate the hardiness of the winter bunny, I’ll leave you with a few sweet pictures of our feeder friends.  Happy winter!

 

bunny at feeder

wild cottontail at bird feeder

rabbit at feed plot

Midnight flashlight photo-op

 blue jay on a stick in winter

blue jay

squirrel

This squirrel is convinced he owns the feeder and everything near it.  He’ll run off the jays without hesitation.

 

Vote in our Winter poll!

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News on Rabbit Tattoos

March 10, 2013

baby polish rabbits

There’s a New Rule on Rabbit Tattoos

Let’s start with history:

Back in the old days, nearly everybody used clamp tattooers, right?  You pierce the ear, spread ink in the holes, coat it with petroleum jelly and hope you can still see it in two weeks…remember?  In those days, tattoo combinations were fairly limited.  My clamp came with just ten keys: 0-9.  So my bunnies got crazy tattoos such as 589273 and 41835.  Good luck trying to remember those.

Even if you spent the extra money and bought an A-Z set, you still only had one key of each letter and number.  So tattoos such as ABBY, BOOTS, and R2D2 were out of the question.

Another disadvantage was that you were limited to a certain number of characters.  My clamp tongs had room for six characters, but my 4-H leader’s could only take four.

But those, as I said, were the old days.  Like, when we all had dial-up.  Like, before Lionheads got insanely popular. Those days even dated back to the time when 80% of rabbit judges were men.

Today, in this post-post-post-modern era, it’s different.  Today bunnies get tattoos such as these:

rabbit tattoo

rabbit tattoo

rabbit tattoo

Or even:

rabbit tattoo

 

Tattoos that were perfectly legitimate in the days of clamps turned from this:

rabbit tattoo

to this:

rabbit tattoo

So what brought the change?

Here’s what: someone had an idea.  And ideas change the world.

Someone decided to take an electric toothbrush, replace the bristles with a cluster of needles, and thus produce a hand-held, battery-operated tattoo pen for rabbit breeders.   Brilliant, isn’t it?

I don’t know exactly when they first came on the market, but as soon as they started to catch on, these battery-operated tattooers spread among rabbit breeders as fast as Holland Lops did in the 1980’s.  Now they are much more common than the old clamps.  Even I, bunny budgeter extraordinaire, bought one of these new tattoo pens.  (Well actually, I traded the owner of BunnyRabbit.com some of my books for it…)

Pro’s and Con’s of Hand-held Rabbit Tattoo Pens

Breeders love them, because they don’t seem to hurt the rabbit as much, they take less nerve to use, they produce letters that are solid and small, and they work great for touch-ups.  And, of course, they offer a lot more flexibility.  We rabbit breeders are creative people.  We think it’s fantastic that we can now tattoo our rabbits with:

 

rabbit tattoo

 

But many judges and show secretaries are not as thrilled.  Some hand tattoos come out amazing, yes!  Some are much easier to read than clamps, yes!   But some come out looking like my messy handwriting.  Some are so small that judges have trouble reading them.  And the biggest problem with the new tattoos is the very flexibility that we breeders love.  Remember, we live in the post-post-post-modern age…or something like that.   Thus, ARBA registrars and show secretaries use computerized systems to handle their records, and it makes their jobs MUCH easier.  But there’s a catch: how do you enter a tattoo like this into a computer?

 

rabbit tattoo

 

And if you were a judge, would you WANT to read a tattoo like that in front of a whole showroom?

I wouldn’t.

Enter a Revised ARBA Show Rule

So the ARBA did something about it.  Just in the last month, the ARBA board approved a change to show rule 26.  According to my district director, the board approved the change unanimously.  And, having been a show secretary myself, I support their decision. It now reads:

SECTION 26. All animals must be permanently and legibly earmarked in the left ear. The tattoo is to only contain numerals 0-9 and/or letters A-Z.  The tattoo is to contain no language of a profane or sexual nature. 

We can do that, right?

By the way, there is still no limit to the number of characters in a rabbit’s tattoo.  However, if you want to be friendly to rabbit software programs, keep it to six or less.

And thus, ARBA has brought us into the post-post-post-post-modern age of rabbit tattoos.   That’s like saying we’re living in the future, isn’t it?

 

rabbit battery operated handheld tattoo penHey!  While we’re on the subject, check out this new handheld tattoo pen, developed by a tattoo artist with 20 years of experience.  It comes at a good price that includes goodies like All-Natural Bunny Balm to promote healing, and an indispensable ink well holder.  I recommend.

Free Rabbitry Record Sheets to Download and Print

March 2, 2013

(Scroll down to skip all the chit-chat and get straight to the free downloads.)

What Records should you keep to Raise Rabbits Successfully?

It’s  a fact: if you want to be successful in raising show rabbits, record keeping is vital.  But which ones really matter?

As a teen, I made up all kinds of record sheets for my bunnies.  I had record sheets to track nearly everything: litters, shows, feed economics, health, hereditary traits, rabbits sold, chores accomplished, show quality of developing juniors, you name it.  I had a lot more fun making record sheets than I had filling them out.  In fact, I hardly ever filled out most of them.

rabbit record keeping sheets to download and printEventually I cut the fat out of my record book.  It wasn’t as sophisticated anymore, but I trimmed it down to the records I actually kept and needed.  And I was left with the following:

Pedigrees of course:  (Hint: custom-designed pedigrees are more fun than software-generated ones.)

Rabbits Sold: Write down every bunny sold and who you sold it to.  That way, when someone contacts you about the rabbit they sold them, you’re not sitting there wondering which rabbit they bought.

Income and Expenses:  Not fun, but must be done.

Doe Breeding Cards:  This is important.  Tells you at a glance who was bred to who and when.  Easy reference to look up kits’ birth dates, as well as to keep track of which of your does consistently produce nice offspring.

Show records when Grand Champion Legs are won:  Placements that didn’t win legs became extraneous.  I mean, two years later, do we really care that Chad beat Rocky…AGAIN?

Handy Dandy Calendar:  To doodle on regarding show dates and due dates.

-The Rabbitry Journal:  All my other extraneous records begone, and enter the Journal.  This was the single most helpful record I kept.  Every Sunday I made an entry in the rabbitry journal, just rambling about what happened in the past week.  I made notes on how the breeding program was going, litters born and how they went.  I jotted a recap of shows I went to.  If I was trying out a new feed supplement or had to purchase pellets, I wrote it down.  If a bunny was sneezing, or I suspected one of having fur mites, I wrote it down.  Basically I jotted down any notable events that happened in the past week.  That way I could keep track of how my management practices were evolving and affecting the success of my rabbitry.  If a problem occurred, I could trace it back to where it began and what was happening at the time.

Download Free Printable Rabbit Record Charts

So – here you go.  Record sheets you can download and print for your very own.

To download, right-click either “pdf” or “word” under each icon.  Then click “save link as” if you are using firefox, or “save target as” if you are using IE.

Show Records – I used this one on a rabbitry-wide basis:  I only kept one sheet for the whole rabbitry and noted several rabbits’ placements on it in each show.  But you could print one of these for each rabbit if you prefer.
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD  or PDF

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Doe Production Card
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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Rabbits Sold / Income Chart
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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Income Totals by Month/Year
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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Rabbitry Expenses List
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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Expenses Totals by Month/Year
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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The Rabbitry Journal – Design 1
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

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The Rabbitry Journal – Design 2
rabbitry expenses chart
Download: WORD or PDF

If you’re looking for more, Lindsey @ 4Kings Rabbitry has some cool record sheets to download at her site: http://www.4kingsrabbitry.com/rabbitry-documents.html

Printable Pedigree Templates

This one isn’t quite free, but it’s not expensive either.  We’ll design you a fully-custom pedigree with hand-drawn bunnies, then send you a printable Word template that you can fill in with your bunnies’ info and use as often as you like.  Cost is only $20.  Visit this page to learn more.  Sample designs below:

rabbit pedigree design
custom rabbit retro pedigree
pine lionhead rabbit pedigree design

Happy Recording!

New Rabbit Supply website just launched!

We have your rabbit supply needs covered at PremiumRabbits.com!  We’ve got the essentials in cages, carriers, drop trays, cage stands, nest boxes, feeding and watering equipment, as well as valuable accessories such as EZ-mats, harnesses, cage card holders, and much more.  Visit PremiumRabbits.com to see our selection.

 

 

 

Vanodine V18 is not back yet.

May 1, 2011

Updated 11/18/11  – Vanodine is still not available in the US.

For a long time, Vanodine was very popular product with rabbit breeders.  This iodine-based product is a biocide, which means it kills pretty much everything from viruses to bacteria to fungi.   For rabbit breeders, that means safety from snuffles (pasturella sp.) and other diseases.  Vanodine was very popular with rabbit breeders because it is very safe to use in the rabbitry.  You can do everything from clean cages with it to sanitize your rabbit’s drinking water…seriously!

Vanodine is made by a company in the UK, and for the last few years, importation to the US has stopped.  Unfortunately, Vanodine is no longer available in the United States.

Thanks to Kammalop Specialties for the update.

 

The Best Weapon Against Rabbit Cage Trays

April 30, 2011

What gets those rabbit cages cleaner than anything else?  What’s more effective than Vanodine, a power washer, or even bleach??  (As a side note…have you ever poured straight chlorine bleach on to an aluminum rabbit drinking dish?  I have.  It’s interesting.)

But what’s the best weapon against dirty rabbit cages?  Motivation, of course.

Belgian Hare Lookin' At YouI was thinking today about motivation, and how it’s not quite the same thing as perseverance.  Sure, they’re both guided by the same thing: vision — but perseverance sounds like the ability to hang on when you’re giving your all in a righteous war; when it’s conquer or be conquered… but motivation isn’t half so romantic.   Motivation just sounds like getting ourselves to stop slacking and do what we know we ought to do do.

All people struggle with staying motivated.  Yes, I mean BOTH kinds of people: the rabbit breeders and the non-rabbit breeders.  But we rabbit breeders find the results of a lack of motivation to be devastating in our herds.  Lost breeding dates, mixed up pedigrees, littermates kept in the same cage so long that they are breeding each other, droppings piled high enough to reach the cage floor… I’m not picking on anybody, because at some point in my history of raising rabbits, I’ve been guilty of all of those things.

Here are some tips that might keep you going in those times when you’re lacking motivation.  *cough* When it’s time to empty trays. *cough*

*Read More!* (more…)

Rabbits in Outdoor Hutches part 2

April 23, 2011

The Story of the Rolling Rabbit Hutch and other Matters

Keeping 4-H Rabbits in Outside Hutches, part II.

[For the rolling hutch story, see tip #8.  For the burning hutch story, see tip #9.]

Click here to see part 1 of this post
6. Put a fence around your rabbit hutch to keep predators out.   A strong wire or wood fence can keep enemies out and bunnies in.

7. Insulate your hutch with straw bales.  Rabbits really do quite well in the cold and don’t need much help keeping warm in the winter, even if the temperatures regularly drop below zero, as long as they are protected from drafts.  However, if you want to insulate your hutch during the winter, one of the best ways to do it is stacking straw bales around the sides and rear of the hutch.  You can even lay them on the roof.  You sometimes see hutches with quilts thrown over them, but quilts get wet, chewed, and moldy very quickly and don’t provide as much insulation as straw.

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Outdoor Hutch Rabbit Care

April 20, 2011

Caring for Outdoor Hutch Rabbits: Ten tips for keeping your rabbits healthy and safe, and for building pet, 4-H, show, and meat rabbit hutches.

Rabbit Hutch Building plan and rabbit cage design

Click for full size

Where do they keep rabbits in France?

In the hutch back of Notre Dame!
…Okay, dumb joke.  But if you are starting in rabbits and want to keep them in the hutch ‘back of your house, here are ten tips that can help them stay safe and healthy.

1.  Use weatherproof materials to build 4-H rabbit hutches.  The legs of your hutch should be of pressure-treated lumber so dampness in the ground won’t rot them as quickly.  However, the upper part of the hutch that supports the cage should not be pressure-treated, because you don’t want your rabbits ingesting the chemicals in the wood.  The sides and roof of your cage will take a beating from the weather, so make the sides and roof of sturdy plywood.  The roof of my first rabbit hutch was particleboard that quickly fell apart.  Even OSB weathers after a while.  If you can shingle the roof that’s great!  You can cut a piece of plastic tarp to go over the roof, but water will seep under it.  Never use chicken wire for rabbit hutch construction.  It may not be strong enough to hold up against the rabbits, let alone any predators.


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2011 Standard of Perfection Corrections

February 9, 2011

The 2011-2015 ARBA Standard of Perfection is now in effect: do you have your copy?   If you’ve already purchased this book, you’ll want to make note of a few errors that occured in the first printing.  The following notices were posted here on the ARBA website.

Please note the following correction for the printed 2011-2015 ARBA Standard of Perfection Page 34,  STANDARD & GUIDE FOR JUDGING MEAT CLASSES.  MEAT PENS, second paragraph, second sentence “Pointed animals must all have the same point color” is an error.  The sentence “Pointed animals must all have the same point color” should be removed.  The 2011-2015 Standard of Perfection correction page will be updated to reflect this correction.

Read More!

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Tips for Building Rabbit Cages

January 31, 2011

Five Tips for Building Your Own Rabbit Cages

1. Make sure you have two essential tools: J-clip pliers and wire snips.  Specially designed J-clip pliers are available from your local rabbit supply dealer and are a must-have for building rabbit cages.   Those funny clips slide on easily with the right tool, but are hard to manage with any other type of pliers—trust me.  The other essential tool is a sturdy pair of wire cutters.  You have to make hundreds of wire snips to build a few cages, and without the right tool, this is the most tiring part of building rabbit cages.  A pair of needle-nosed pliers can also come in handy for getting those J-clips off that landed in the wrong places.

2. Buy pre-cut floors.  The dealer that sells you a roll of wire will probably also sell you floors pre-cut to your size specifications.  It’s highly uneconomical and impractical to buy a roll ½ x 1” floor wire in addition to the 1 x 2” wire that is suitable for the sides and top of a cage.  Plus, it saves you thousands of wire snips!

Read More!

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Buy or Build Rabbit Cages

January 30, 2011

To Build or Buy: A Breeder’s Dilemma

Do you remember your start in rabbits? (Most people do; I’ve only heard of one breeder that didn’t, and wasn’t born into it.) When you started, which did you pay more for: your rabbit or its cage? A decent pedigreed rabbit costs around $30.00. An average single-hole cage with a sliding tray can run more like $35.00..and up. Thus a question arises in the mind of many breeders: should I buy or build my show rabbit cages?

I’ve had experience with both buying and building rabbit cages. Building your own cages can be cost effective, but is it worth it? I think the answer depends on three things: how handy you are with the tools, how much time you have for the project, and how many cages you plan to make.


Buying and Building Cages: Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s to Buying Rabbit Cages:
Cages purchased from a rabbit supply dealer are solidly built and won’t pop apart when you aren’t expecting them to, which can be sad reality of homemade cages! The freestanding stacking units are a marvel, really, and very space efficient. Plus—you’re saved a lot of time and hassle!
Con’s to Buying Rabbit Cages:
Cages purchased from dealers tend to be quite expensive. Also, they may not have just the size and shape you want in stock. However, most local suppliers are happy to custom-build cages to fit your barn.
Pro’s to Building Your Own Rabbit Cages:
One of the advantages to building your own cages is that they are completely customizable—if you’re handy enough to accomplish it! I would say, based, on my experience, that it is cost-effective to buy wire and build your own cages if you are going to build at least 20-25 holes. The time spent building cages can be a great chance to have some fun with Dad, and it gives you a real sense of pride (and relief) when you’re finally done!
Con’s to Building Your Own Rabbit Cages:
Building your own cages is a clumsy process, and there is plenty of room for errors, such as cutting a side too short, or putting a floor on upside-down. Personally , I think the hardest part about building your own cages is cutting the wire with manual clippers. The project is very time consuming, and in the end you have a product that will probably need a hutch or shelf to support it and may have rough edges.

Overall, I think it’s better to buy your rabbit cages. The local dealers need your support, and buying cages gives you more time to focus on the bunnies. But the choice is yours, and if you are still considering building cages, check back here soon for 5 tips that will make your job much easier!

 

Buy your cage-building supplies here!

We have your rabbit supply needs covered at PremiumRabbits.com!  We’ve got the essentials in cages, carriers, drop trays, cage stands, nest boxes, feeding and watering equipment, as well as valuable accessories such as EZ-mats, harnesses, cage card holders, and much more.  Visit PremiumRabbits.com to see our selection.

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