Meat rabbits are often raised in individual wire cages to facilitate cleaning and keep diseases from spreading through entire herds. These types of cages offer better ventilation and cleanliness than typical pet rabbit cages with solid floors and sides, or cages that have wire floors with catch pans that must be cleaned often to keep faeces away from the bottom wire. Cages with wire bottoms allow faeces and urine to fall through to the floor where cleanup is easier than messing with papers, or pans. Wire is easier to disinfect between uses, and airier to give rabbits better ventilation. All wire cages need to be kept indoors where they are protected from drafts and direct exposure to the elements. Wire meat-rabbit cages are fast and easy to construct singlehandedly with just a few tools.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 41 J-clips
- J-clip pliers
- Wire cutters
- 24-inch galvanised, welded 14- or 16-gauge wire mesh, 18 feet (sold in 50- and 100-foot rolls)
- Wire spring door clasp
Select 14 to 16 gauge woven wire that is strong enough to hold the weight of a large-breed rabbit. Rolls of wire used for cage construction should have mesh openings no greater than 1/2 inch so rabbits have no trouble walking on it.
Cut two 36-inch pieces of wire, one for the top, and one for the bottom of the cage. Cut another single 36-inch piece to use as the front piece of the cage (three identical 36-inch slabs in all). Cut an 84-inch piece of wire to form the sides and back of the cage.
Bend the 84-inch long piece of wire at 24 inches, then again at 36 inches further to make a "U" that will be the sides and back of the cage.
Attach a 36-inch piece of wire to the bottom wires of the sides and back panel with J-clips every six inches. Use the J-clip pliers to crimp the J-clips closed around the two adjoining wires.
Attach a 36-inch piece of wire to the top wire of the sides and back panel with J-clips every six inches. Use the J-clip pliers to crimp the J-clips closed around the two adjoining wires.
Attach the 36-inch long piece of front panel wire to the opening at the front of the cage using J-clips every six inches. Use the J-pliers to crimp the J-clips closed around the adjoining wires.
Cut an opening in the front of the cage that is 18 inches square. Attach the left-hand side of the cut-out square to the left-hand side of the opening with two or three J-clips. Attach a door clasp to the right-hand side of the door.
Tips and warnings
- The wire mesh used for rabbit cage construction is much heavier and stronger than the lightweight chicken wire mesh many people are familiar with. Chicken wire does not have the strength to hold up a rabbit's weight, and it is easily destroyed by chewing. Sixteen-gauge wire rolls are found at most home improvement and hardware stores and can be ordered online.
- Meat breeds are larger rabbits, and each cage should allow, at least five square feet of living space for a buck, and eight square feet for a doe with a litter of babies. Larger cages for does also allow for the greater space needed for a nest box when does are pregnant.
- Hang cages from ceiling beams by inserting 1/2-inch pipes from side to side through the side holes at the top, front and rear of the cage. Hang from the ceiling with chains attached to the pipes.
- Stand off the floor by adding U-channel legs made of metal or PVC. Cut four equal lengths of U-channel moulding. Drill two holes in each U-channel -- one inch from the top, and 23 inches from the top -- to insert a bolt through the wire of the cage and hole in the U-channel to connect at the top and bottom of each of the four sides of the cage.
- Do not use wood for cage legs, because urine and faeces will rot the wood and make cages unstable.
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