Kaninchen Farm

Working to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Getting Started with Rabbits

If you're interested in raising rabbits, you may be shocked at all the things people say you just HAVE to have, and even more shocked at the prices. However, that doesn't have to be the case. Rabbits need a few basic things, most of which can be found for free or minimal cost. So, what does a rabbit need?

1. Housing - rabbits need a wire cage with a solid roof to keep the rain off. You'll want to sit the cage somewhere relatively shaded outside to keep them cool. Other locations for your cage can include inside a shed or garage, inside the house, or even on a moveable stand over the garden. You can buy a cage kit from Tractor Supply for $37.99 (houses 1 rabbit) or you can build your own 3-hole cage for about $50 that will hold 3 rabbits. This is perfect since most people start out with a trio of rabbits - 1 buck and 2 does. All you need is 1"x2" cage wire for the sides/roof (about $30 for 25'), 1/2"x1" cage wire for the floor (about $20 for 10'), J-clips, and J-clip pliers (need to buy these to assemble the cage kits as well). Do not use hardware cloth for the bottom. It won't hold up, and the poop will be too big to fit through the holes. Just build your cages 7' long and 2' wide, just remember to leave some extra 1"x2" wire for your doors. Since the 1/2"x1" wire comes 30" wide, you will have 6" extra, so cut out a 3"x3" square, and make your wire go up the sides 3". This will prevent babies from falling out between the 1"x2" wire. They can fit through 1"x2" wire, and can even make it about 5' away and dig themselves into a hole.

2. Food - Your rabbit will need either a bowl or J feeder for his food. This can be as simple as a pet bowl from the Dollar Tree, or you can go with a J feeder from Tractor Supply for about $8. You will also need food for the rabbit. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy the pet rabbit food. It is so ridiculously expensive. You can pay $7-10 for 2 pounds of the pet rabbit food, or you can walk into the feed section at any Tractor Supply or other feed store, and get a 25 pound bag for $9.99, or a 50 pound bag for only $13.99.

3. Water - Rabbits also need a way to get water. You can use either a bowl, water bottle, or automatic watering system. We use an automatic watering system during the spring/summer/fall that we built for under $20 (5 gallon bucket, 1/2"ID tubing, and rabbit nipples). These kinds of systems hook up to all of your rabbit cages and make sure they have the constant supply of water that they need.

4. Hay - All rabbits need access to hay 24/7. Hay provides the roughage that rabbits need in order to keep their digestive systems moving. If a rabbit's gut stops moving (a condition called gastric stasis), it can die. You can buy a hay feeder for $7 or you can build one for free from scraps of wire used to cut holes for the doors for your cages.

As you can see, rabbits don't have to cost hundreds of dollars to get started. If you had to buy everything, and didn't have any useful items laying around, you can get started with a homemade cage, 50 lbs of feed, 3 feed bowls, and 3 waterers for about $70 dollars. Now all you need is the rabbits.