Monday, January 18, 2010

Comments on Cages

Sorry for the fuzzy photos here, folks. Can't seem to get the knack of photographing constantly moving bunnies. These photos were taken a few days ago (at 15 days). Over the past week they've been increasingly mobile, advancing from crawling to a little hopping. They groom and snuggle with each other still, and although they're still nursing they're also eating a little hay now. Good thing too, because mom occasionally give them the hairy eyeball- they have teeth now. We get them out at least once a day to handle everyone so they get used to it, but because they're young they go right to sleep as soon as we put them back. They're very cute.

Thought I'd talk a little about cages. Even if you're going to keep a bun as a housepet, he'll still need his own spot. They're good at getting into all kinds of trouble, such as chewing on cords along with an assortment of other troubles, etc, so its generally a good idea to both bunny proof and also keep your bun in a cage or pen when you're not at home. The cage will also be where the bun's litter box and food is kept. Primarily I'm going to talk to the house rabbit owner here, with one to a few rabbits.

At a minimum, I'd suggest a cage 36" long x 30" high (to allow "periscope" room for your bun to sit up and look around) per rabbit. Bigger will of course be appreciated, especially if the critter will be cage bound. You can find rabbit cages in the pet store, but I feel most styles are too small for French or German Angoras as they are average cat size. There are also an assortment of other types of commercial cages you can order online.

An easy cage to use is a dog crate. Dog crates with plastic tray bottoms are great. You can find them at the pet store, online, new or used. You can also modify them to have a suspended floor of hard wire cloth if you're not litter training. Fritz here (the little 'bits' dad) lives in a dog crate. You can see his littler box and hay rack (which is actually a spice or small item rack that works with modular pantry shelving) in the back there.

Look for a 36-48" crate with a removable plastic bottom (makes cleaning easier!) and a door on the long side and top for easy access if you can find it. Fritz' cage only has a door on the short size, which is ok, but that means sometimes I have to lean into the cage to clean or grab things. Sometimes crates are tall enough to build a second level perch if you like. Here's a really fantastic modified dog crate cage. Depending on your household, you may also find it acceptable to simply designate a bunny corner and use a dog exercise pen to contain the bun when you are not around. If you go this way, though, get the tallest one you can find. French angoras are spectacular jumpers. Go for a pen that is a minimum of 3 feet high, and/or get some extra panels to make a lid for the pen (especially if there's a hidey box inside the pen - they'll hop on top and over).

You can also build a rabbit condo. A really popular method is with the collapsible wire storage cubes, as it uses readily accessible materials and can be done with no woodworking skills. Here are several websites to get your creative juices flowing:
How to build a rabbit condo (with YouTube link)
Ed and Beth Bunny condo tutorial
Awesome gallery of home-made wire cages

There are lots of other cage styles that you can build with a few basic woodworking skills. Here's a different approach. I also recently saw a multilevel cage made from a cheap wood shelving unit. If you have the skills, have fun with it!

1 comment:

Absolutely Small said...

Thanks for the advice! I am happy human of a house bun. She's our first, though, so I'm always looking for ways to make her happier. Your bunny photos are just wonderful!