DIY Rabbit Cage Rack :: tutorial

I waited months to put together a rack to hold rabbit cages and dropping pans stacked one on top of the other. If you’ve ever looked at rabbit cages (not the small pet cages), you would know that there are generally two types. The kind where the wire sides some down to form legs and the dropping pan can slide in and out like “drawer”. And the kind that has no such drawer function and you’re left wondering how the hell to balance a wire cube on top of a pan with 3″ tall sides. All of the 30″x36″ wire cages I saw that were big enough for my breed were of that second type.

Now, what do you do with a cage and a pan with no apparent method of putting them together? You could buy a stacking leg kit with a pan holder for $25 each. Or you could get crazy with some PVC pipe. I chose the latter.

These two racks are each capable of holding three cages and dropping pans giving me space for six cages now!

Here is how you can make your own:
**The following measurements are for “Pet Lodge” brand 30″x36″ wire rabbit cages and the corresponding dropping pan. I have in no way been paid or otherwise compensated for using or writing about this brand… but that would be great wouldn’t it?**

First collect your supplies:
You may need to cut the PVC to the appropriate lengths listed. All PVC pipe used in this project is 3/4 inch size. This tutorial is to build ONE rack that holds THREE cages. In the pictures I built two of these.
(Number Needed) Description –Part Label
(2) 20 3/4″ PVC lengths –stableizers
(4) 11″ PVC lengths –tops
(8) 21″ PVC lengths –verticals
(6) 37″ PVC lengths –horizontals
(4) 6″ PVC lengths –legs
(12) ‘T’ PVC connectors
(4) Elbow PVC connectors
(6) 24″ lengths of aluminum or steel ‘L’ angled metal; preferably with pre-drilled holes
(12) 1/4″ threaded bolts, 2″ long
(12) metal washers
(12) locking nuts for threaded bolts
(2 oz.) PVC pipe glue/cement

Assemble and glue (4) lengths: 21″ vertical, ‘T’ connector, 6″ leg.

Add to the top of that and glue in place: ‘T’ connector, 21″ vertical. Be sure all of your ‘T’ connectors are facing the exact same direction and lined up.
(Not pictured): add to top of each pole a ‘T’ connector and 11″ tops. Glue in place.

First measure that your 37″ horizontals leave at least 36 1/4″ between 21″ verticals. This measurement may include the ‘T’ connector. Mark a line where the ‘T’ and the PVC meet so when you glue the horizontals into place, you are leaving enough space for the cage to fit in.
Glue 37″ horizontals across and into both sides at the ‘T’ connectors. Repeat for second set. (Not pictured): don’t forget that third set of ‘T’ connectors and 11″ tops connected to the top from the last step. You should have (3) horizontals glued in place now for each set of legs.

Measure 3″ from the bottom of each ‘T’ connector and mark a visible line. This should be a little more than the height of your dropping pan. Hold the metal angle so that the corner of the ‘L’ shape is just above your line. Mark a dot through one of the holes in your metal angle so that it is in the exact inside of the PVC pipe. Drill a hole all of the way through with a 5/16 drill bit. This is one bit bigger than your 1/4″ bolts and they should pass through fine.

If you bought a long length of metal angle and then cut it into pieces you may end up with a cut hole at one of your ends like this. It’s okay, truck on. Just use the next closest complete hole. Attach the metal angle from one set of legs to the other using a bolt, washer, and locking nut on each side of the metal angle. These metal angles will be holding your dropping pan allowing it to slide out for easy cleaning.

Repeat connecting the metal angle from one set of legs to the other set using bolt, washer, nut for the remaining (5) metal angles. The rack should look like this so far. A total of (6) metal angles connecting the two sets of legs from under the ‘T’ connectors.
Your sequence of parts should go like this from top to bottom: 11″ tops, ‘T’ connector to 37″ horizontal, metal angle attached to 21″ vertical, ‘T’ connector to 37″ horizontal, metal angle attached to 21″ vertical, ‘T’ connector to 37″ horizontal, metal angle attached to 6″ leg.

Last, but not least, glue PVC elbows onto the top pieces facing each other as pictured. Glue one side of the 20 3/4″ stabilizer piece into each PVC elbow parallel to the metal angles.

Two finished racks side by side. Now just insert cages, dropping pans, and… Rabbits!


42 thoughts on “DIY Rabbit Cage Rack :: tutorial

  1. For anyone reading this, here we are –eight months later– and we still love these PVC cage racks we built. Our weekly cleaning of the dropping pans goes quickly and smoothly and the PVC is easily scrubbed clean from urine stains.

    The cages themselves sit perfectly in each section of the rack and don’t need to be secured since they overhang the front and rear of the rack by 3 inches each. This has meant that when we need to scrub down the cages, they are easily removed.

    We did however, use wire to secure the racks to the walls of the Rabbitry shed just incase we had some over-zealous jumpers, but we have had no sign of that being real necessary. Safety first!

    All in all, we love these cage racks! We now have cages on top as well with absolutely no problems. If you ever have any questions on how we built these or if a step just doesn’t make sense to you… don’t hesitate to leave a reply or send us an email. We are always happy to help a fellow rabbiteer out.

  2. I just found your blog today. We have eight mini satin rabbits for my daughter’s FFA/4-H project. We have put together those very same cages in 24 X24 size with the metal legs they come with. Let me tell you, stacking those together is a pain in the tush, to put it politely. I think this will be one of our next projects. I may have to reply again with some questions about it, but it looks much easier to handle than those awful metal legs.

    • Glad to hear it! Please let me know if you have any questions… I am always more than happy to help. You should be able to follow the tutorial just by tweaking a few measurements. It is super easy to calculate if you have a cage to test with. If you do decide to put one together for your 24 x 24″ cages, please send me your measurements so I can post the alternate size. Thanks for reading!

      • I don’t have the exact measurements for a different size cage (because your cage height may also differ), but all you will need to change is the horizontal bar length and the crossbar length. I beleive someone may have commented here about converting my plans for 24×24″ cages.

        It cost me about $90 to build two 3-tier racks. $55 of that total cost was just the metal “L” for the pans to slide out on. But I still have them and they have worked wonderfully since I built them and are easy to clean.

  3. Thank you for your blog, I’m going to look at purchasing my first buck and two does in the next week. Your ideas are wonderful as I maximize my less than 1/4 acre plot:)

  4. Thanks for showing this. I just made this system over the weekend. However I did modify it a little. I made the first rack, but on the right side I used X pvc connectors instead of T shaped ones. This allowed me to make both racks but only needed one center leg section. I made it to fit 24″ X 24″ cages. Each section is 30″ wide so that I can accommodate a larger cage if need be. And I made mine only 18″ wide. That was the spacing used for the stacking kits that you buy at the store.
    I also made my bottom look like your top with bars going from front to back. This allows me to put some sand bags on the bottom to hold it down. I don’t have any place to tie it to a wall.
    Thanks again for the idea!

      • I was a little worried about that so before I glued anything together i tested it out. It did fit through my standard door. Truth be told I would have done it anyways cause I can lift it over our fence and then use the garage door if i had to.

  5. I’m just made my list and checking it twice. Tell me, are you using schedule 40 (thicker PVC)? Calculated 500″ total PVC or 5 (10′ lengths). I also need to make 2. This is such a great idea!!!

  6. I thought of another question, how tall are your cages? My cages are 18″ tall. Does your plan allow for that size or should I make a change? I’ll look again to see which piece requires an adjustment.

    • I take it (8) 21″ PVC lengths –verticals are the ones I should adjust for the tray height and the height of my cage? If so, no worries, I’ll go to 22″ which should give me wiggle room. I also need to get urine guards. Funny my mostly indoor rabbits do not have an issue with this, but my outdoor raised bunnies are completely possessed! HA! Oh, I’m picking up my first angora (German) in a month or so. Super exciting!!!

  7. Thank you so much for the plan, I built one! I changed a couple of things because I wanted it to hold 6 cages, so mine extends across. This may or may not be a good idea come cleaning time and may bow in the middle???. I’ll keep you posted. I also did not use the angle iron as it made the cost of this thing way more than ordering a stacking kit. I used the PVC and just mirrored the supports for the cage and placed a 5″ piece, T, 7″ piece, T, 5″ piece as my horizontal support for the tray.

    A note on glue, my glue dried so fast that I one joint dry crooked. I put the joint on, and it NEVER allowed for an adjustment!!! I left it, but there must be a better way. What kind did you use? I must try this again, especially if the stack kit is difficult to put together. I can say this was no picnic to make, but I LOVE that I made it. Again, Thank you!

    I used 3/4″ Sch 40. I also used trays from Tractor Supply and Bass Equipment. Same size cages as yours – I love the 36″ length but my arms aren’t long enough to reach the far side of the cage for cleaning. I’m switching to 24″ x 36″ going forward.

    • Yay! I’m glad it worked out!

      That’s a good point about potential bowing of the PVC in the middle when you extended the length to double instead of building two racks. You may need to build that center eventually just to keep it sturdy. I’d like to say that I built two racks instead of one long one with the idea of added center stability in mind, but alas– it was simply the only way I thought of doing it.

      I used the extra strong PVC glue and it worked just fine. It actually took about 1 minute to set up so I had plenty of time to get the glue swabbed on and the pieces adjusted before it began to harden. Maybe the glue you purchased was old?

      The metal angle is certainly the most expensive part. It would have been wonderful to find some as scrap shelving pieces (or something) for free or cheap. After initially considering using PVC as a cross support and for holding the pans, I decided to splurge on the metal angle because it was easy to use and strong. I still saved a good wad of money on building it myself as opposed to buying the leg kits.

      In any case, I’m happy that you’re happy with your new cage rack. Thanks for the update!

  8. Could this plan be modified to have a slanted piece of roofing material to run the droppings down the back of the rack? We want our chickens to scratch through it and we don’t want to use pans as I have made all of our cages and can’t make pans. Thanks.

    • You could easily modify it for slant boards. However, you will only be able to fit two tiers of cages instead of three because slant boards require a lot more vertical space for gravity to do its work. We use trays simply because they are more compact and we don’t currently have enough rabbits for dumping trays to be a long process.

    • If you join “Rabbit facility page”, a group on facebook, someone has the plans to a PVC cage holder with roofing slanted so the droppings will run down. We have built these same cage holders in 24 X 24 size, but we are also increasing our rabbitry to include a large breed. I was interested in how to do this also. Very complete plans in the document file in that group.

  9. How is the PVC frame holding up? Has it started to sag or crack? I was wondering because I like the idea, but I have concerns about the PVC sagging/cracking. I assume you chose PVC because it can be cleaned easily and prevents the rabbits chewing on it, as well as, urine not soaking into it like wood?

  10. Hello. I was wondering if you might have a tutorial on building a stand and a slide out drop tray that will work for just one rabbit cage?
    Shelly P.

  11. I made one today for three 48 x 30 rabbit cages from Bass. I used 1″ PVC thinking it would make up for the larger cages. It was about $90 with the larger PVC. It’s definitely advisable to dry fit everything to tweak it to your cage…didn’t think about the height. Thanks for the idea and the plans.

  12. We copied your design, with one slight change that reduced the overall cost. We used cross connectors instead of T connectors. That way we could use just one leg between each column of cages, so our three up three across stand only uses 8 legs instead of 12.

  13. Sarah, I noticed you don’t use the urine guards for the cages. Do you ever have problems with the upper bunnies leaking onto the lower bunnies? Thanks for all your DYI stuff and blog, it’s really been a great help as I bought and adopted 3 angoras this summer.

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