I’m no stranger to the anxiety of starting out. Whether we’re talking about a new hobby, job or business, we experience some “change anxiety.” I’ve found myself asking, “what am I doing? Have I done enough research? Am I making the right decision?” Starting out with rabbits gave me the same feeling. In the beginning of the bunny business, I would have been seriously unprepared had I not accepted the help of a mentor.
My mentor, Lynn, taught me some of the basics of the bunny business. We went over breeding cycles, genetics, tools of the trade, methods of dispatch and of course housing. The housing you choose at startup will set the pace and pattern of efficiency or waste. Lynn showed me how to identify proper cages. Of course, I had to go out and ignore his advice and in doing so I wasted a LOT of time, money and energy. My “Pitfalls” blog has more details on that.
In the beginning of the bunny business, you may not have set goals yet and that’s fine. I put together the meat calculator to help with the numbers to give you an idea of what you might produce. If you’re just looking for a hobby or something to do with the kids, you don’t need to worry about all that. You just want to have a good family activity that shouldn’t become a second job. You still need to invest in proper housing for the rabbits, and for those that care for them. Trust me on this one, an upfront investment in proper infrastructure will save you time and energy in the long run.
Pull-Out Pan Cage
The pictures above are of the various models of cages I have built and used. On the far left is a pull-out pan design that’s relatively compact and clean… IF you empty the trays every day. If the trays were left go for a couple days, the manure would pile up and come into the cage. Also, even when the trays are emptied daily, the urine on the galvanized metal is atrociously smelly!
Commercial Cage Battery
In the center photo, you can see a large 12 cage battery, accessible from both sides and can be sprayed out down the center. The pans slope to the center, allowing the manure to roll to a middle trough and be easily sprayed out. The clean up on these cages only takes a few seconds per tray. The downside is, of course, the galvanized metal’s reaction to the urine. The trays need to be cleaned daily, or the manure builds up and spraying it out once full would splash the rabbits with decomposed manure possibly making them sick.
Plastic Tray Rabit Cage
The third cage system still needs to be sprayed out every day, but, the urine/galvanization reaction is gone. The 6 cages are shorter and easier maintained than the larger 12 cage system and require less space. This is the design I use today. The six cage and smaller three cage version are easy to clean and keep your bunnies in an easily accessible range.