Thursday, July 26, 2012

THURSDIY: Rabbit Condo

Since we're moving to a new apartment, it's only fitting that the rabbits get a brand new condo also! So here's a tutorial for any rabbit owner who wants to change or create an appropriately sized rabbit cage. This design is based off of Budget Bunny's design but modified to suit my bonded rabbits and their needs.

Building a rabbit condo is MUCH more cost efficient than buying a cage that is most likely too small for them. No matter how large your cage is, your bunnies should always have plenty of time out of their cage, but for those days when you'll be gone for extended periods of time, large cages are MUCH better. 

Just a few general notes before the tutorial, rabbits should NOT be housed outside and this tutorial is for indoor use. In addition, a rabbit's cage should be large enough for them to hop at least three times from one end to another and for your rabbit to stand up on it's hind legs. If you have multiple rabbits, they should be able to both stand on their hind legs and hop three times simultaneously.

This tutorial will explain how to make a condo that is three grids wide and two grids long and five stories high. 

 Wood Base & Linoleum Flooring
To start off, I just bought a large $8 piece of wood that I knew would fit the dimensions of the cage. To give an idea, each grid is 14in x 14in, so I measured out the size that I needed per floor (read full tutorial and it will make sense) and had the store cut them for me. Lowes has a free cutting service for people who buy wood.

 In addition to the base, I also got siding for the cage to reduce the mess that would usually fall out (my first condo did not have it, but it makes a huge difference as far as mess is concerned). With the size of my cage I only needed four two inch thick wood pieces (I think they were each 16inches long and only $2 each) to cover the outside of my cage. 

NOTE: As you can see in the picture, the siding is screwed into the wood, but the grids will be attached to the OUTSIDE of the base. You will also need to screw wholes into the siding (before or after attachment to the base, whatever works for you!) 

At Lowes, I also bought linoleum flooring tiles with a stick on feature so that you do not need paste to attach the tiles, only to remove the sticky part. I've noticed when adding the flooring, it's best to put the floor in and let it sit overnight so that they'll stay stuck. I bought a pack of 45 tiles for only 17$.


 Shelving Grids

Shelving Grids can be easily found at Target and bought for about $16 dollars. Each box comes with 20 grids, and for this particular design I will be using 56 grids (I always put a roof on mine because Oscar WILL jump out) but I've seen plenty of cages without roofs. In total will need about 3 boxes, even if you don't use them for the structure you can always use them for ramps inside of your cage (my cage does not have ramps because my rabbits prefer jumping, when they did have ramps they didn't use them.) 

This is a one-time investment because I've had my grids for about three years and they have yet to brake or become unusable.

 Zip Ties &Wire Cutters

Most people usually have a pair of wire cutters or even pliers around their house but if you don't you can pick one up for usually under $5. This is a VERY great investment because it saves a bunch of time and stress when it comes to cutting the tails of the zip ties off of the cage. Scissors make cutting the zip ties very difficult and time consuming. Believe me, I know from experience.

Zip ties are a must, and for this design you'll need between 250 - 300 (you may make mistakes and have to re-do sections and floors) so invest in getting the biggest bag you can find. I recommend the 8inch sized zip ties, the smaller ones, although cheaper, will NOT hold nearly as well and you'll have to use significantly more in the long run. 

I personally have yet to find packs of zip ties larger than 100 cables, and the ones I get run about $7 dollars each, so about $21 for three packs. It's good to have these around for any repairs you might have, and this can be a one time investment, but if you move somewhere with your rabbits, you'll have to get brand new zip ties to hold together the condo.

All of the items aside from the zip ties are a one time investment. 

Now let's start building!

 Line up the grids next to each other.

 Zip tie the grids together at the top and bottom of the grids for extra security.

 Pictured above is a basic layout of one wall that I will create.
I find it eaiser to create the two walls closet to the wall first (my cage is going in a corner)
This way I can just attach those two sides and begin to add the base with extra security.

 For when four grids meet together, I double zip tie it in a diagonal.
This improves the strength of the wall significantly.
Once the two side walls are completed, I place them against the corner of my room and add the base.

 In this picture you can see the base that I have added and the second floor.
The base is attached by zip ties to the grids (I drilled holes in the siding so it'd be much easier)
When I added the ground floor, I then attached the grids to the other two sides so that I could add the second floor.
Repeat this process until you get the desired floor count you like. 
Tip: I make every other floor a third of the base floor so that the rabbits will have the majority of the space to stand on their hind legs if they want to.
 A view of the cage from the side.
To add doors, simply cut zip ties off of one side of one grid in various locations around the cage.
To put it back together, simply put binder clips in replacement of the zip ties.
It's enough space for me to get the litter box out and to clean each of the floors.

 Ta-daa!! You've done it!
Only for $107 dollars.
so you can see prices of rabbit cages compared to what you spend building your own condo.
These are just some examples, and clearly, building your own produces a MUCH larger and appropriate home for your rabbits.

Now just add bunnies!

- Bunny

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