|Better Farming Series 36. Raising Rabbits 1: Learning About Rabbits; Building the Pens; Choosing Rabbits (FAO, 1988, 56 p.)|
|Building the rabbit pens|
72. Whichever materials you use, it is best to build your pens side by side, as shown below. That way, two pens will share a wall and you will need fewer materials.
73. Build your pens on legs above the ground. That way, the rabbit droppings will fall to the ground and not collect on the floor.
74. In addition, a pen on legs will help to keep the rabbits safe from other animals.
Be sure to fit your pens with metal guards (see page 38) to keep rats and other small animals from getting to your rabbits.
75. A good size for a rabbit pen is 70 centimetres wide by 90 centimetres long and 50 to 60 centimetres high.
76. This size of pen is good both for full- grown and for young rabbits, so, you will need to build only one size of pen.
77. Make the inside of each pen as smooth as you can. This is to keep your rabbits from hurting themselves.
78. There are many ways to build pens. If you know another farmer who raises rabbits, perhaps you can get some good ideas from him.
79. The drawings on the next page show you several simple rabbit pens that you can build easily.
80. If you want to build a better pen, the drawings on pages 22 to 43 will show you how. You will also learn how to make feeders for plants and grain and how to build nest boxes.
1 you will need four posts of about 10 cm in diameter for the legs and two boards of about 4 x 10 cm for the floor braces (each post should be buried in the ground about 45 cm)
2 cut the top of each of the floor braces as shown to keep the rabbit droppings from collecting on top of the boards
3 the floor braces can be attached to the posts using wood screws or bolts with nuts
4 build the basic frames for the pens one frame for the back and one frame for the front, as shown above and below
5 dig tour holes about 50 cm deep and put about 5 cm of small stones in the bottom of each hole
6 put the frames in the holes and hold them straight with wood strips
7 when the frames are level, fill the holes with earth and pack it well so that the frames cannot move
8 cover the ends of the pens with wooden boards
9 cover the back oat the pens with wooden boards
10 build a wail and cover it with bamboo or wooden strips
11 attach a 15- cm board to the front of the pens, as shown
12 when the board is in place, make sure that the wall in the centre is straight and fasten the front of the wall to the board (see arrow)
13 for the floor, you can use round pieces of wood, straight tree branches or pieces of bamboo about 3 cm in diameter, with a space of no more than 1.5 cm between them
14 if you use tree branches, be sure that they are straight or your rabbits may catch their legs and hurt themselves
15 when you put in the floor, be sure that the space around the edge is no wider than 1.5 cm
16 finish boxing in the front of the pens using 10 cm boards making sure that the openings are square and straight
17 attach four pieces of wood to the inside corners of each pen (see arrows) to hold the pen doors on the inside
18 attach four small wooden blocks that can be turned and a strip of wood (see arrows), to hold the pen doors on the outside
19 build a roof for the pens using wooden boards about 2 cm thick and of any width
20 cover the roof with a piece of sheet metal or pieces of tin cut from cans
Note: if you use pieces cut from cans, begin by putting the first piece of tin at the bottom of the roof and overlap the edges of each piece of tin above it
21 build door frames for both pens; one to close the whole pen and another smaller door to fit inside the larger door
22 cover the inside of the large and small door with wooden strips as shown below
23 make a plant container using two pieces of wood and close it with wooden strips
24 make a water container using a bottle and a tin, such as a sardine tin
25 attach the plant container to the large door and the water container to the small door
26 attach the small door to the large door
Ways to attach the small door
27 you can attach the small door using metal hinges or strips of leather
28 when the small door is closed you can hold it in place with a hook and eye, a wooden block and screw, or a leather strap and a wooden pin
29 to finish the pens, put the large door and the small door in place in each pen and attach a rat guard to each of the legs
How to make a rat guard
30 you can make rat guards for each of the legs of your pens using a piece of tin
Three kinds of grain feeders
31 for a grain feeder you can use a hollow piece of bamboo or a dish or other container. Attach the feeder to a piece of wood to keep the rabbits from spilling their food
32 you can also make a grain feeder using tin or metal
Two kinds of nest boxes
33 build a nest box for each female rabbit using wood about 1.5 cm thick
Some other ideas for your pens
34 you can dig a pit near your pens to hold the rabbit droppings note: rabbit droppings make a good fertilizer for your garden
35 if there are small animals that might harm your rabbits, build a fence around your pens
36 if it rains a lot where you live, build a shelter over your pens to keep your rabbits dry
37 plastic sheets that can be rolled up and down will also help to keep your rabbits dry and to protect them from wind