Rabbit housing may use a variety of buildings as long as the rabbits are protected from predators, disturbances, and extreme weather conditions. The type of insulated and fan-ventilated housing used for poultry is suggested for large commercial rabbitries. It is important to consider labor efficiency when designing the hutch. A readymade hutch can be purchased or one can be built. Hutches constructed with wood frames, and wire mesh sides, tops and floors are satisfactory.
For most breeds, Â½ by 1-inch welded-steel wire floor, and 1 x 2-inch wire sides and top are suitable. Wire floors make it easier to keep the hutch clean and reduce the potential for disease. Exposed wood should be covered with wire to prevent the rabbits from chewing the wood. Avoid any rough spots or loose ends of wire to prevent injury to the rabbit. Floor-to-ceiling height should be at least 18 inches (giant breeds do better with a 24-inch height), the minimum cage depth 30 inches, and the width can vary from 30 to 48 inches.
Each hutch must be equipped with feeding and watering equipment. Individual glazed-masonry feeders and waterers, or metal self-feeders which attach to the outside of the hutch, and automatic waterers, as well as creep feeders for the young bunnies, are suitable for any size rabbitry. Nest boxes are needed for the doe at the time of kindling. Good dimensions for a nest box are 18 inches deep by 12 inches wide by 14 inches high. Wire boxes with disposable liners are more sanitary than wood boxes.
Rabbits will not perform well if they are crowded. They should have at least 1 square foot of floor area for each pound of body weight. An 8- to 10-pound rabbit needs 7Â½ square feet of floor area. A floor space of at least 10 square feet is desirable for a breeding doe with a litter.
Females are also more sensitive if they are pregnant. In caring for rabbits which are nearing delivery, one must prepare a nest lined with materials to keep the mother warm. The nest can be made of a simple cardboard or litter box which should be lined with hay or wood shavings. In creating a nest, it is not recommended to use newspapers or tissue because these materials do not sufficiently hold warmth in them. Moderating the temperature is important in keeping rabbits because the more body heat these animals use, the higher their tendency of eating too much.
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