Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Rabbit Hutch from my stud

When I found our rabbits, we were going to slap a rabbit hutch together and call it good. Just something easy. Well, the plan kept changing. In the meantime we had them in a temporary cage that my friend let me borrow.

Joel spent a little time here and there on it and it was finally finished a couple weeks ago. He rocks my socks off. More on that in a little. I've got to save the best for last.

How have the rabbits been doing?
Well, Pumpkin is perfect. He is doing great. He is very friendly and even friendlier than Theodore a few times.

Coming in for a visit with the family. They aren't litter trained, but they prefer to only poop on the towel. Works well!
But Joel spent a lot of time taking care of Theodore one night while I was with my sister and the boys. Something had been up with Theodore. He had bare spots on him and scabs! We've got three thoughts on this:

1) We are hoping he was just stressed because I don't want this to be a regular occurrence when he gets his coat in. There was one night that he kept trying to nibble me - which was very odd for him. So maybe when he was trying to nibble on me and everything else, that was the same stress reaction that caused him to nibble himself... He seems nothing but happy right now and he hasn't been doing that at all any more!

2) When we got him, he had a bare spot on the back of his neck (he was beautifully groomed), but his coat was just starting to get full, so the alternative to stress I can think of is that he has a habit of itching when it comes in. It could have been particularly ichy spots... There is only so much you can take off him at a time (because of trying not to stress him out and because it isn't all ready at once either), but our system was admittedly flawed and we will try harder to brush him evenly so that there aren't spots that were less brushed each time.

3) Then the other variable is that some of the spots were in spots we couldn't imagine Theodore doing himself. But I REALLY hope that it isn't Pumpkin beating up his father.

He seems to be doing much better. And we are in between coats now. They get a full coat that needs to be plucked 3-4 times a year. He's all skinny looking now.

He does well with everyone.

All the collected fiber!

Here is how we do their feed. We did this with the chickens last year. I just keep a tote on the porch for the food and the rabbit hutch is right beside the porch.

And now, I present to you: THE HUTCH

It is 4 feet by 4 feet. In the summer it will be all open under there, but for now, we put hay bales around for insulation. We learned this trick from a youtube video a long time ago about how they winterized their chicken tractor. They had placed hay bales around the outside, so the chicken poop fell through the bottom and decomposed all winter which provided some extra heat. I'm not sure how well rabbit droppings decompose, but the bales at least keep them warmer with fewer drafts.

The front 3 feet have hardware cloth on the bottom so the dropping fall through and they stay clean.

Pulling that handle would slide the back floor out so that the dropping could fall down.
The back of the roof also lifts up so that we can pull them out if they are hiding too.

The back foot (so it is 1 foot by 4 feet) is sort of closed off so that they can escape if they are shy or need more wind protection. It has two holes on each side so that they can run around in circles (which they do) in and out, and in and out. It acts as their burrow area. That area has a plywood floor, but the floor can be slid out so that the dropping fall under as well.

There are lots of reasons for this, but one was something we read on wikipedia about the two different types of rabbit droppings. It's their way of ruminating because they don't ruminate like cows... in other words, they eat one of the types of droppings again (the kind they would leave in the burrow) and it gives them the nutrients that they couldn't digest the first time. I'm not sure if they use it the way we designed, but either way, they stay clean and it works well.

Two doors on the front that open up.

Aren't they so cute!

And here is the sweet detail that my husband put on! Seriously. I was so excited! I had mentioned a while ago that I wanted a heart latch, or something like that, because I saw an adorable hutch (that was way too small) that had one. But I had forgotten about it and he hadn't.

What a sweet surprise when I went out to look at the finished hutch for the first time!

And that sweet details that is up there makes him a:


This is visible right on the front of the hutch below the front doors (when it's not covered in snow). As it should be. He inadvertently left his signature.

I love my man.

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