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Xerocles

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No, not the animals. Well them to. I joined about two weeks ago. It took me this long to find the new member introduction thread. I came over from the sister site backyard chickens. Having a little trouble navigating this site. Anyhow, this is me.
68 year old retired male, divorced. I always say I'm to old to Homestead, I'm just living in the woods with a bunch of animals. 3 1/2 acres. 80 year old house, in reasonably livable condition. Moved here last February. I'm in the Piedmont Region of South Carolina. And I'm in no hurry. One step at a time, and I'll take that step when I'm darn good and ready. Started with a pound rescue dog. Then chickens back in April. Six Easter Eggers, which are giving me more eggs than I can use. 16 x 16 buy 1/2 inch hardware cloth run. Fort Knox Style. In the process of moving to meat rabbits. Cages are built, as soon as the weather cooperates, putting up a covered shed for them. Plan to have rabbits by mid December. One Buck, three does. Cages are roughly three by three, + three 7 ft grow out cages. I'm hoping to get a couple of Nigerian dwarf goats in the spring. Struggling with the fencing issue. 3 acres of massively overgrown brush. The goats will love it, but the cost of the fencing is prohibitive. And where most of the brush is, is spotty. So I'm playing with the idea of electric goat fencing. But most of the information I'm getting online, it's like trying to figure out nuclear physics. I hate to invest in the fencing, and still can't secure my goats. I would really like to have the brush cleared and get a little milk. But it's beginning to sound like more trouble than it's worth. I don't currently have plans beyond the spring for any more animals. Since I'm doing this solo, I think the dog, chickens, rabbits, and goats will give me a full plate.
A couple of questions about the site. I've tried to go several places and get an "oops something went wrong" message. Is this common here? I followed the "where am I where are you", to SC. Oops something went wrong. When I tried to post an intro, from the "are you new" page, same thing. Really sorry the intro thread is hidden so far down in the forums. I thought it didn't exist. Tough on a newcomer to find. And where is this farmer member map? I read about it, but still haven't found it.
Now an animal question,sort of. Like I said, am building a rabbitry. Open sided shed (with tarps for bad weather protection) with suspended all wire cages. Suspended on chain from the joists. Should I connect to the top of the cages? The bottom? Both? Pertinent info repeated. Cages are 3 X 3, 3 X 6, and 3 X 7.
Yeah, I know this is long. I'll break it down into individual threads later. Right now, the cage suspension is formost on my mind.
Thanks for having me.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Hi there, and welcome to the group! There's been a recent change in the forum platform and folks are still getting used to it and there have been a few challenges. Hope the rabbits and goats work out for you. Sounds like your chickens are over-achievers!
 

Baymule

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Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you have things planned out. Good fencing is a must for keeping your animals in and other animals out, including neighbors dogs. Dogs can kill rabbits in their cages, just for the fun of it.

Your cages sound a little deep. Can you reach the back of the cage, can you reach the far corners? Usually cage depth is 2 feet. Hanging wire cages are the way to go! You can wire them together, back to back for stability.
 

Xerocles

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Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you have things planned out. Good fencing is a must for keeping your animals in and other animals out, including neighbors dogs. Dogs can kill rabbits in their cages, just for the fun of it.

Your cages sound a little deep. Can you reach the back of the cage, can you reach the far corners? Usually cage depth is 2 feet. Hanging wire cages are the way to go! You can wire them together, back to back for stability.
@Baymule. Thanks for your input. From the little I've read, you're one of the top "go to" ppl on here. And, yes, I can easily reach all corners of the cages. I made drop down doors, extra large, so I can insert my entire upper torso into the cage if need be.
But still the question. Where do I attach the chains on the cage for best support? Or does it matter?
Oh, and my dog is super protective of "his property and "his" animals. Anything coming on the property leaves quickly or never leaves again.
IMG_20190503_091011006.jpg
 

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animalmom

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A big howdy and welcome! Glad you found us and sorry for the problems you have experienced.

For a long time we hung our rabbit cages. We used airplane cable and "S" hooks and hooked the wire to the top corners (front and back) of the cage. We hung 4 cages that way. Where we could we would hook through the corners of two cages.

With cages your size I'd strongly suggest a stretcher bar in each cage, maybe 2 in your larger cage. These bars keep the floor wire from sagging. They are really called "floor spreaders". Here is a link to show you. https://www.bassequipment.com/Shop/FLOOR-SPEADERS-1453.

What size wire are you using for the cages? If you can get baby-saver wire that would be great for the doe cages. Won't need for the buck and grow-out cage. Usually the wire is 1" x 1" and the baby-saver is 1/2" x 1". Keeps the wee kits from crawling out of the cage. Here's another link regarding wire types. I think the galvanized after welding holds up better, but that's just me. https://www.bassequipment.com/Shop/GALVANIZED-AFTER-WIRE-1474

Please keep in mind I am not saying you should buy from Bass Equipment. They are good folks and they are the first supplier that comes to mind and usually have good descriptions on their product. Obviously you can buy from anyone.

Some folks use hardware cloth but that can have a rough finish that would eat up your rabbits' feet.

Welcome to the wonderful world of rabbits. We've been doing meat rabbits since 2008.
 

Xerocles

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YOU GUYS ARE GREAT! Now you're answering question I have, but haven't even asked yet! I should be ashamed of myself for not having acquired a rabbitry book yet, and ALL my questions may be answered there. But I have been spoiled by our "instant gratification" technology known as the internet. Everything from how to put on a band-aid to how to build a nuclear bomb. But it seems niggling little details are often omitted. Like suspending cages (thanks @animalmom) or cage doors (how tall, how wide, open to inside or outside, hinged top, bottom, side) or hay racks..what material, placement, what dimensions. Or SPREADER BARS (again, thanks @animalmom ). I didnt know they existed (but your link did not mention size. So I am guessing 24" since @Baymule said that is the standard cage depth. I already noted the springiness of my cage floors and intended to use bolts and fender washers to attach a 1 X 4 under the cage bottoms. They will need replacing from time to time, but a quick simple repair.
Now animalmom. An answer for you and a question. Question first. You said for a long time you suspended your cages. Why did you stop? Did I miss something? Now the answer to YOUR question about my cages. First, yes they are bigger than "normal" cages I suppose. But the breeders will be living in them for a number of years....why not give them a little extra comfort? The buck cage will be the smallest @36" X 36" X 24". Yes 24" tall. They can stretch up as high as their little hearts desire. Does get 36 X 42 X 24. Three grow-out cages 36" X 7 feet, but only 18" high. Each grow-out is divided into 3 sections with a door between each section, so initially they have the entire length....but if I get lazy (or anything else distracts me) from 8-10 weeks and haven't processed, they get herded into the center section and sexed...boys to the right, girls to the left, and whoever has the most also gets the center. Also works for any isolation needs..i.e. Keep for breeder, sell for pet, etc so they don't get confused with the freezer patrol. The wire is 1" X 1" top and sides (11 1/2 gauge...now that's WIRE) with 1" X 1/2" floors. Baby saver in doe cages 4" high, I just used 1 X 1 and offset it 1/2 link up and side, so it is effectively 1/4" X 1/4". And yes on the floor I made certain the closer spaced wires were on top.
WHEW! I didn't mean for that to get so long. And I got a TON more questions but guess I should make individual threads instead of hogging all your wonderful tidbits here in the intro section.
 

Mini Horses

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Hello & welcome from VA.

As mentioned, we've just had an "upgrade" and the system is a little mangled for many of us right now. So, muddle along with us.

Others have addressed your rabbit questions, so let's get to goats. Fencing is expensive. Goats can be kept in electric but, not well. I would suggest a few cattle panels which can be moved as needed to other areas. You can add more or use them until you can get more fencing and area will be clearer to put it up. Goats need a shelter. They are awesome brush clearers!

As to milking -- Nigerians are smaller and I doubt your hands are. You may want to consider another breed or a milking machine. Why are you thinking NDs? Probably quantity of milk? I have full sized dairy goats, much easier to milk.

We often reply with more info than asked -- Attempting to save another from our own mistakes.
 

animalmom

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Rabbit books are a good source of information as to how other folks care for their rabbits. One word of warning on any, and I do really, really mean ANY advise you get on raising anything: you need to compare what the advise is to where you live. For example, Bob Bennett wrote what is a really good rabbit book.
51HANqvAM+L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg



He does occasionally casually mention that he is in Connecticut or New Hampshire and for him light is key.So we read, digested and went and built our bunny barn putting in a translucent roof... to get as much light as possible because that is what Bunny Bob said to do. Problem is we live in Texas. Light is never a problem in Texas. The sun is not your friend in Texas. I can grow full sun plants successfully in the shade here. We quickly realized our mistake and put on a metal roof. Then we reclad the three sides in metal. In Texas shade = cooler, cooler = live bunnies. So take any advise and see how it would work in your climate BEFORE you build.

Now, as to your question as to why we no longer suspend the cages... When you hang or suspend cages you need to consider what you will do with the urine and bunny berries. Bunny berries are wonderful for the garden and can go from bunny to garden without composting, in other words they are a cool fertilizer (as oppose to chicken poop which is hot -- would burn the plant).

We started out with trays under the cages which I dumped every day, for several years. Our cages were 36"x36" for the does and 36"x24" for the bucks. (Why that size? Because that is what would fit nicely the the 3-sided bunny barn.) . Well after a while wrangling a 36x36 tray was getting old AND we had a big fat income tax refund coming so we bought this: https://www.kwcages.com/cages/rabbitech.html
rabbitechcategory.jpg

We got a set-up that is two rows of four cages. The berries and urine roll to a trough in the back and down to a collection point on the outside. Much easier for me. The rabbits are in a smaller cage, still 18" tall and I don't think they noticed the smaller space. I have a 4'x4' grow-out cage for when the kits get old enough to be weaned. It works for us. Bass equipment has a similar product but the cages are only 16" tall. I don't think that is tall enough. I like 18" tall.

I would love to give my does larger cages as the cages do get crowded once you put in a nest box and kits. But I traded cage size for easier daily cleaning.

Now having said all that, there are several ways to handle the urine/berries output. Two options off the top of my head: you can leave a dirt floor and run your chickens underneath, you could put in bins and grow earthworms underneath. Options are out there. As you haven't built your bunny shed yet (if I read you right) maybe you would want to consider putting the shed in the chicken yard and letting your hens take care of any bunny berry distribution. Then every once in a while you could rake your chicken yard and put that in your garden. Just a suggestion.

Please don't hesitate to ask any other questions. It is so much easier to do a task right once instead of wrong and a couple redos.

I'm sure I am safe in saying that all of us who raise rabbits for meat or show want to see you be successful. Rabbits are just nice. They come up to the front of their cages looking to see what you brought them, and to get some attention.
 

Xerocles

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@animalmom thank you for your advive and being so nice. I had thought about your suggestion of putting the rabbitry in the chicken run. Plenty of room, Extra Protection. Win-win. But. I've got these two big brown thumbs. I can kill artificial plants. And since I want to grow SOME of my own food, I decided I'm going to Guard those rabbit pellets like the gold they're supposed to be. I'm planning to put 1/4" welded wire trays about 4" off the ground, so manure is captured and easily harvested, and urine continues on down to the soil below. And, yes, I am a little crafty at making things....metal or otherwise. In fact, i made a nesting box of sheet metal to attach OUTSIDE the cage, top hinged for inspection, side hinged for easy cleaning, foam insulation/ wood veneer inserts for insulation, and a door for control of when it is available. A wonderful lady from BYC @ChocolateMouse, who I believe is on this site too, pointed out that I was going to bake my bunnies before weaning. See, I live in SC, and our hottest month highest temps are SUPPOSED to be around 90f. Well, this summer we had a handfull of 100+f days (global warming maybe?). Even though the rabbitry is under old growth hardwoods 90+ % of the day....100 is still 100. So I dismantled my prototype and made a hay rack...which I didn't like...thus the question here.
Oh, since I know it will come up, I ended up making kindling boxes out of 1/2 X 1" wire...with cardboard liners (cardboard is FREE!) for winter and cardboard floor coverings for summer. Easy to clean and disinfect and indestructable. Rolled edges at exit points for safety. One use liners and toss (compost). Here's a pic.
20191122_151247.jpg

I am envious of your professional set-up....but not toooo much. It looks amazing, but, as you mentioned, I like to insure maximum livability comfort for my wards.
Well, there I go writing a thesis again. I'll stop. But next thread will be on resting blocks. Be on the lookout.
 
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