Grow Out Pen :: plans

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Now that I have sold the last rabbit kit from spring breedings, I have a much better view of what and who I have for winter breedings. For winter breedings I will have one more doe than last season, and enviably, one more litter of kits. This means that I will not have a comfortable enough or large enough space for kits to grow up in after they have been weaned. Especially if Clementine has another litter of eleven!

The health and cleanliness of our rabbits is very important to us as is the welfare of all our animals and insects. So this fall/early winter we will need to build a “grow out pen” for incoming rabbit kits. It will also be a time to upgrade our rabbit play pen with matching wire fencing and some AstroTurf. The area itself has worked well with recycled materials, but it looks a little tacky. I’ll admit it.

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What we plan to do is to redo the wire fencing on the 10′ x 10′ foot rabbit play pen and make it extend all the way up to the deck above. This should keep predators out when we put this new grow out pen inside. Basically we will have a large winter hutch with legs inside of an under-deck enclosed kennel.

As you can see, we will make the grow out pen 3′ feet deep by 9′ feet wide and 5′ tall. While it will have a wooden frame, I want to use the same corrugated PVC roofing material that we used on the main rabbit shed for this grow out pen’s walls and roof. Hopefully the PVC material will be easy to scrub down in-between breeding seasons.

The new grow out pen will be divided in two sections with a wall in order to separate the young bucks and does. We don’t need any surprise litters around here! It will also be on 2′ foot tall legs so that rabbits can still use the space underneath to play in. When the grow out pen is in use, I can even put plastic tubs underneath to catch droppings.

As always, we will keep you up to date on progress and share a tutorial with you so you can make your own. Construction on this project will probably take a weekend or two in September or October.

10 thoughts on “Grow Out Pen :: plans

  1. I suggest that the cross beams on the bottom that support the weight of the floor welded/chicken wire not be wood. The hutch will last longer if the urine and dripping water from leaky bottles do not touch wood. Also, the bottom of the hutch perhaps should be made with 1″x1/2″ welded wire to accommodate smaller feet, depending on their size at weaning age. One of my litters did okay on a bottom made of 1″x1″ welded wire, but it worried me. Also be aware that urine will run down the wood legs to some extent (but won’t be too problemsome with 2×4’s. I do see that you plan to use 2×4’s for the framing, but I don’t suggest for the crossbeams on the bottom, as they will cause poo to collect in the wire, as well as hay, while rotting from contact with urine and water.

  2. I am planning on using galvanized welded wire in 1″ x 1/2″ for the bottom. What do you suggest I use for cross beams? Maybe PVC? Metal is far too expensive here. I know that from buying metal angle for the cage racks.

    Thanks for your input by the way.

  3. Um, I’m not sure. I have run into the problem with my own hutch building, so that is why I studied your plan. But, maybe the floor spreaders at bass equipment? http://www.bassequipment.com/Cages/Cage+Components
    If you are dividing the hutch for two sexes with a wall…the floor could be two 3’3″x4’8″ pieces stapled to the ends and middle. The extra inches are for the stapling overlap. (If you cut it exactly 3’x4’6″, you won’t have any overlap to staple to the 2×4’s). Then maybe the floor spreaders would give added support? Or maybe your original plan is sufficient. I just have had some regrets with wood. Oh! or, you could cut strips of chicken wire and use them in place of the wood.

    • I thought about a hanging cage, but I thought a hutch would be better since it will be better defense against the wind and snow. I’ll have to scout out the hardware store to see what kind of (hopefully) cheap waterproof crossbars I can find. But if it comes down to it wood wouldn’t be too bad. Sure it will get poopy (technical term there), but this will only be used for 2-6 weeks out of the whole year. Just the time between weaning and sale/processing.

  4. Yeah, no one will be in this full time. We want to build this just so that we have somewhere big enough for all three of these upcoming litters to grow out after weaning. Last breeding season wasn’t too cramped, but with an added litter in the mix, I don’t think the space I have is adequate. I want these little ones to be able to spread out their legs a little. Really, I worry more about the cold temperatures we will have by then.

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