The latest problem I had to solve had to do with the fiber rabbits. My hairy little bunnies were living in individual cages in the garage. It was no problem during the winter and the fall. Even into the spring, the temps were low, the garage didn't get hot, and my wool covered friends were doing fine. But then summer hit--really hit--and the garage was no longer a place anyone should be living in, lest they get cooked. So the rabbits had to move out.
But what to do with them? Yes, they all had cages, but I can't just leave cages all over the property. And building individual hutches was not only a waste of all the nice cages they already had, but really expensive. Plus, can you imagine 7 little hutches all lined up? I didn't even know where to put them.
Yeah, no. No hutches. So I then considered building a half a house for the cages, and putting them up on shelving. But that's another building. And I hate building. And there are a lot of buildings here already (12!). So that wasn't a happy idea, but it was the best I had.
Fast forward a few weeks and I've been mulling this problem over and over in my head. What to do with my homeless rabbits? If I build ANOTHER building, where does it go? How much is it going to cost? Then one night my husband and I were sitting outside in the evening and it hits me--I'm going to put them in the chicken run. Why? Because I read The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery last year, and I think he said that he keeps his rabbits in with his chickens. hmmm...It was either him or Joel Salatin. Maybe both. I don't want to give the wrong person credit, so how about this? Someone once said that keeping rabbits and chickens together works, and I didn't want to build anything else, so I used what I had, and now the rabbits live with the chickens in their run.
And it does, in fact, work.
Take a look.
The original plan was to build shelving all around the run in the part that is 8 feet tall. When I started it, though, I realized I could build up instead of around, and it would save space, and I wouldn't whack my head as much. So the rabbits who are in the cages with bottoms are on top. The rabbits without bottoms on their cages are on the bottom. My husband, who is brilliant, liked the idea of the shelves in the run, and suggested closet wire shelving for the cages. You know why? Because when the rabbits poop, it goes right on through. And you know who really likes that? The chickens. And me. Because now I have fewer trays to dump and scrub out.
|Pickle and Collette share a cage. When I tried to separate them, they both looked lost. If ever I need to move someone out, I have room on the other shelf.|
I do rely on the rabbit manure for my gardens. It's like rocket fuel for the plants. When I need a shot of rabbit poo, I can put the bottom trays back and collect. When I don't need it, I don't have to collect it, and I have less cleaning. I think it will work well.
The only issue I have with this is that there is no ceiling on the run. Therefore, I have to construct a sunshade/rain shade for the cages. I'm thinking a tarp of some kind will work. I will also need to make protection for them for the winter, or I'll have to put them back in the garage. I'll figure it out as I go, I think.
|The chickens like the "stuff" the rabbits give them, and can still access the run behind them--there is an opening under that shelf that leads to a really nice run in back.|
I guess we'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned!!