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Saturday, December 15, 2007


There are four main types of cages- hutches, hangers, stackers and solid bottoms. At some point in my life, I've owned them all, so I thought I'd give my impressions of them all.

My very first rabbit ever was an anti-social mix breed lop by the name of Thumper. He and his successor "Whiskers" both lived in a hutch my Maw-maw (Grandma to you none southerners :)) gave me. I love hutches, if you have a place to put them. No pan cleaning, we just let the poop drop and if someone needed some for a garden, they brought a shovel and helped themselves.

Hutches generally have very small mesh wire on the side for sunlight and ventiliation, and can either have a section made of wood sides for winter, or have tarps put over it, to keep the rabbit from getting too cold. A well made hutch will last for years, with only minor replacements needed.

Downside is, they are usually much bigger than your average cages, and with the price of wood, can be much more expensive. Since hutches are usually outdoor rabbit cages, dogs are able to get to the rabbits. (Poor Whiskers was attacked by a Chow. I was able to beat the dog off with my hand- not smart but I was only in middle school- but she did end up with very bloody feet).

Stackers - the majority of the cages I own are stackers. They are my preference, simply because you can get them stacked up to four high, in the same 24x24 floor space. Of course, those pans aren't exactly thrilling to clean! We have several sets for the smaller rabbits that are two large split cages (I think it's 24x36? I don't recall), on top of another set of two. I could theoretically add another set of cages on top of each of these, but you have to consider your lifting abilities. These pans get HEAVY from having two rabbits use them and I honestly don't think we could lift them over top of our heads. And what a mess that would be if we couldn't!

Stackers give you more for less space. So for very small (space wise) rabbitries, this is what I recommend.

Hangers- ahhh hanging cages. I've got two sets and I'm torn. I see rabbitries that having amazing set ups with hanging cages, the poop drops right on down in to either a compost hole or a sterilite container (we went the container way), and it's wonderful. Definitely not a must clean every few days thing. However, our rabbits love to run around like maniacs and make the cages start swinging. Or chew on each other. Or purposefully scrunch themselves up in different corners so they can pee outside the box. Not cool. Some really nice hanging cages have small wire spaces or very tiny wire to prevent them from giving their neighbors haircuts. So definitely take that in to consideration if you're looking to purchase hangers. If set up properly, you can position two sets of hangers back to back, to maximize the cages you can put in your space.

Solid Bottoms- ahhh I mentioned before we started out using pet cages. Oh....man. Don't do it if you can help it. Unless you want to litter train EVERY rabbit you get, and spend half your life dumping out little litter boxes, it's not worth it. They need to be changed often, are completely impractical for wooled breeds and much more expensive, for smaller dimensions! However, if you can find any cheapos at yard sales, etc, I do say try to have one or two on hand. I've actually loaned one of mine out right now, for a doe that keeps having her babies out of the nestbox! They are great for troublesome does, or as overflow cages. I have a guinea-pig sized one (that could easily house a flemish giant) that I sometimes put babies in. It's also nice to have one in case you need to bring someone inside. When you don't need them, they can be broken down and easily stored.

So there we go, my impressions of four different types of cages! I think, when it's all said and done, if I had the room/facility for it I'd have all hangers. But since I don't, I'm absolutely happy with my stackers.

Keep's Rabbitry


VT Farmer Artist said...

nice commentary on cages, thanks for posting it.

would you add a bit on how to hang the hanging cages? I have seen folks show wooden frames, and ive seen them use dog chain to hang them, but this was decades ago and i dont know how they did it.


rrj said...

Cage hanging by wire is simply and practice. Thanks.