Working on a new rabbit cage

My current rabbit cage was not meant to be permanent, it was something I threw together after I already had the rabbits to get their cages up off the ground to make sure no predators were able to get to them. It is made from 2×6’s and landscape timbers, it is cantilevered so there isn’t anything in the way when you are by the cage. Its a fine cage, but it wouldn’t be warm enough in winter time. It also is such that I only have access to the cages in the 2′ dimension so the rabbits have a lot of space to get away from me if I am trying to pick them up. That is not what I want. Plus, the current design would be fairly hard to make work for the winter time. Not impossible, but not the best for what I’ll need to do in winter.

So I knew at the VERY least that I’d be needing to move the rabbits next to the house. I did not want to buy heated water bottles since they are fairly expensive, so from the get-go I went with water nipples. What I am going to try for winter time is to run the hose in the house (though this could be done outside also) and then have a submersible heater in an insulated container and a recirculating pump. Instead of having the water nipple line end at the last cage I will bring it back around to the tank so warm water (target temp ~80-90 unless I ask opinions and the consensus is that is too hot) is constantly recirculating the system. The nipples are metal, so they’ll conduct heat away from the water pretty well, but the tubing is pretty short between the nipple and the main line so I am thinking if the main line is circulating the conduction from that 1-3″ of water will HOPEFULLY keep things from freezing up in the nipple. I want the rabbits close to the house so there is access to electricity, but if I run the water inside then it’ll use less electricity and it’ll be easier to tell if the pump and heater are working. I could likely hook up a sensor / alarm to trigger in the house if things are getting too cold so I could address it faster.

Outside of the water, I want them by the house so it’ll block the wind better. By the basement I would have the basement wall on one side and the retaining wall blocking the prevailing winds (though the trees usually do a good job, ground level winds here are NOTHING like they are further up). I don’t think the rabbits will stay there all year, that is closer to the house than I’d like during the summer time from a smell perspective, though they aren’t too bad right now with only 4 of them. In winter time the cold / freezing should keep it from smelling.

I spent a half hour yesterday just looking where I wanted the rabbits to go and contemplating. I then sat down and starting thinking and drawing and came up with a fairly good idea for a modular rabbit cage. I’ll wait until I have more done before I share it in case it doesn’t work out.

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