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!
3. Consider what wire height you need. Rabbit cage wire is usually available in 50 or 100-foot rolls that are 14, 16, or 18 inches high. A 14” high cage is suitable for smaller breeds; however, it’s better to buy an 18” high roll. Why? Because it’s highly advisable to make your cages into sliders. Even if you have a barn set-up that can support hanging cages, it’s much better to build tray slots into your cages. It makes them much more desirable for resale. If you are set on making hanging cages, ask if your dealer sells 14” high wire; it might be less expensive. Consider what length of roll you need as well. Sometimes a dealer will cut you off a portion of a roll less than 50 feet. However, don’t underestimate how much you need! Leave room for mistakes; you can always use the extra to make a bunny play pen!
4. Put the floors on the right way. Rabbit cage floor wire has mesh of ½ x 1 inches. Always install floors with the bars every ½ inch up. This makes the floor easier on bunny feet.
5. Make your cages desirable for sale. Don’t make the same mistake I did! I built some cages that were in 6 foot lengths, without sliding trays. They worked in my barn, but when it came time to sell them, I realized my mistake. Several people were interested in rabbit cages, but they wouldn’t fit in anyone else’s barn. It’s advisable to make your cages with one of the following outside dimensions: 18 x24”, 24 x24”, 30 x 24”, 36 x 24”, or 30 x 36”. Any larger or smaller and you may have trouble selling them some day. Also, stackers and sliders are much more desirable than hanging cages, I’ve found.