Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Prepping the Rabbit Hutch and a Hutch Tour

Monday I knew wet weather was on the way and that I needed to take the dry day to do some clean up and work on our rabbit hutch. Po is the family bunny, a Holland Lop. He is still a kid, only 3 months old or so.

Meet Po-

I thought while I'm at it I would give you a bit of a tour of Po's hutch. We set up his hutch in a animal pen that was already here.

I'm not sure what the owners used it for, the neighbors said they didn't have a dog. Maybe it was just for the garbage cans. ( I spotted a can dumped over with two raccoon in it last night on my way home) But it works well as a run for him and to keep curious night time critters from harassing him. (we have coyotes and cougars too!) It has a lean-to roof and is nestled up against the brick of the fireplace.

I had noticed that even though his hutch is under cover, rain would hit the bricks and bounce back up into the bottom level of the hutch. He could still stay dry upstairs, but who want's to only have half a dry home? And besides the bottom corners is where he chose to keep his litter box. So it would be soaking wet and he would still sit there...if you have ever had rabbits you will know that wet dirty litter is not healthy for buns.

I pulled a bit of plastic I had in my fabric stash. It's the kind you can use to cover tables and it is sold by the yard at Jo-Ann fabric. (a shower liner would work too) I draped it partially across the front and around the side that is open on the bottom.

I folded it at the corner and used the feed bucket to hold it down. Bricks on the corners keep it from flapping in the wind.

I didn't want the plastic to go across the whole front. This gives Po a place to sit in the fresh air. And keeps the hutch from having condensation inside. I tucked his food dispenser in behind the plastic to make sure rain dos net wet his food. I don't fill the dispenser all the way. Food can go bad left in it, so I just give him fresh food regularly. If we do head out for an over night I will add more to make sure he doesn't run out while we are gone. 

The plastic just flips up out of the way when we are cleaning the cage or he is out for exercise. 

Po enjoys lounging upstairs in the "loft". We use fleece for bedding. Underneath is layers of newspaper. The newspaper wicks the moisture down through the fleece and away from Po's feet, rather like how the new cloth diapers work. 

The upstairs nest box has a box of rabbit safe shaving and paper mix with hay. This is where he likes to sleep and snuggle and he keeps this area pretty clean on his own. I rarely find any poop or pee in here. So far he has been really good about not chewing on fleece, but he does like to move the blanket around and "make his bed" by digging in it. 

Down the ramp is his litter box with more rabbit safe shaving/paper mix.  I buy this premixed at Pet Co. This isn't where I would have picked to put the litter box.. but this is where he decided to have his "potty corner" He does most of his pee in it. It really saves having to change the fleece and paper. I just use a little broom and pan to sweep up his little "bunny raisens" and change the litter, and we can go for a week without changing the fleece/paper. 
 He has some toys down here and likes these wicker balls to chew and throw around. 

The downstairs nest box has a box I cut holes into and the hay feeder. He loves to play with boxes and sit on boxes and hide in boxes. In this case he can play and munch hay in here and stay cozy on windy, cool, days.

So the rain storm came in and now the hutch looks like this.  

You can see how the bottom half of the plastic is all wet. 

But the bottom floor now stays cozy and dry.

Unfortunately the run was quite wet, so Po came inside for a run around the house. 

The rain is also putting a damper on or other projects. My hubby has been putting up new garden fences. This winter the dogs will use this space for a run, and then next spring/summer the yard will get fenced and then with some chicken wire to secure the lower fence, Po will be able to free-range during the day in the garden. 

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