Finally!  After weeks of being held up by our wire being on back order, we were able to complete our luxurious, outdoor, bunny condos!  We are very proud of these cages, as they are a project S and I truly worked on together.  I came up with a basic design and dimensions, he altered it for stability, he made all the cuts (I am terrified of most power tools!), and I did most of the assembly, with a little help from him.  After snow almost every day for the last week, the forecast has beautiful weather for the next week, so we planned today as the big moving day for the bunnies. 

So I have to brag for a minute about these cages we built.  First off, all we had to purchase was the wire and the hardware.  We built the rest completely out of scrap lumber.  I could easily sell these when we move and more than pay for a new set at our farm.  Why would I do that?  Well, obviously, with this being our first cage design, we made a lot of mistakes along the way.  They are fully functional, but we want to build a very nice set back at Red Gate without all the mistakes we made on this one. 

So, here is the deal on these cages…we designed them using a combination of cage designs we had seen and researched.  They are designed with even dimensions for stability.  The roof and center tray are 2×8 plywood, which we still hope to shingle the top in the future.  Each cage is just shy of 2×4, with an exterior wire door, and a nest box with door.  The nest box is built with a wire floor, but we have cut individual sheets of wood to lay inside as we desire (like now, while nights are still chilly).

The nest box, before being loaded up with straw.

The top of the nest box does not meet the roof, as I wanted the larger bunnies to have the ability to jump up and lay (which we have found they love in the past), and/or the option for mom to escape annoying kits.  They have already tried the top out, and the nest box in general (top or inside) seems to be the favorite hang out.  Between the cages is a thin, open area that serves as a hay rack.  I’m not yet sure exactly how it will work out in terms of the rabbits pulling the hay through, so we may make some revisions later. 

So, we have moved the rabbits in, split up the 7 growing meat babies we have between 2 cages (males and females) to give them more room, and everyone seems happy.  There is only 1 problem.  Take a look closely at the big picture again, and see if you can tell what’s wrong:

If you noticed that one cage is empty, you are right.  So, if I have a buck, a doe, and 2 cages full of bunnies, then who is missing?  Well, we got an unexpected surprise last night:

Yup.  Lala decided to have a litter of kits.  See, I had her bred over a month ago, right after we moved into this house.  We were hoping to get the cages completed well before her due date.  Well, the wire kept being delayed, then we ran into a few issues building them, but we rushed to get them done this past weekend.  Her due date was last week.  Somehow, I miscalculated by about 2 days though, so even with her being 3 days late like last time, I assumed that date had come and gone and there were not going to be any babies this go around.  I was wrong.  I had been working in the garage and everything was normal with her yesterday afternoon.  We went for a walk last night, came home, ate a quick dinner, and then the kids went out to tend to the bunnies for their evening chores.  They quickly came running back in to make the announcement.  Literally, in a 2.5 hour period, Lala pulled out her hair, created her nest, and filled it with babies!  I ran and grabbed my calendar, realized I had somehow been off by about 2 days.  So now, Lala will remain in the garage for a few more days to prevent any further stress on her. 

Being a protective mommy.

 Although I am a bit disappointed to not be able to move her outside as well, I am thrilled with the new litter.  I now know she seems to consistently have her litter at 33 days, rather than the well-known 28-30.  I don’t yet know how many, though this seems to be a much smaller litter.  She is being quite protective around them right now, and growls at me (yes, rabbits can make a funny “growling” type noise) when I put my hand in there.  I was able to count 3-4, but won’t do a full inspection for a few days, or even until I get ready to move them outside. 

So now, I have very limited days of cage tray cleaning to look forward to.  After that, cleaning will be a simple matter of hosing off the middle “roof”, and raking the ground under the cages.  YIPPEE!  No more stink in the garage, and the rabbits can have lots more room to move and hop around, as well as hide out in their boxes.  Happy bunnies make for a happy me!  Now, I just have to finish building their exercise pen, where they can dig and romp and jump and play to their hearts content!

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