Rabbit Cages with Easy Manure Collection

by Moderator

Lisa's heavy-duty under-the-cage tarp for manure collection

Lisa's heavy-duty under-the-cage tarp for manure collection

Our friend Lisa gave us permission to show you her amazing rabbit cage set up. She lives where the winters can be brutally cold, yet her rabbits do just fine as they stay dry and covered.

She is using commercially constructed cages using "baby-saver" wire. The narrower wires on the bottom 4 inches help prevent baby kits from falling to the ground should the doe drop one or two accidentally on the wire. Notice that Lisa has given the cage two water valves - one for the doe and the lower one for the youngsters where they can reach it.

Lisa has rigged a tarp system under each bank of cages. The tarp is just a bit slanted, so the manure and especially the urine tends to slide to the lower end. She put a container there to catch the droppings. Liquid seeps into the ground through holes drilled in the bucket. The solid waste can be collected daily and emptied onto the compost pile.

You can see that her neighbors are just about leaning on her back fence...yet with Lisa's system, she can maintain the entire rabbitry odor-free. We think the whole thing is quite genius!

We hope the pictures will give you some ideas for raising rabbits in your own backyard, despite a small lot or close neighbors. (Thanks, Lisa!)

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Apr 20, 2018
Rabbit cages with easy manure collection
by: Anonymous

Very innovative and hygienic.

Jan 01, 2018
by: Chas from Wisconsin

Hey Lisa, I was wondering about the tarp on the bottom of the cages. Wondering how long it takes for the acidity from urine or sun exposure to wear
through the tarp?

Mar 16, 2017
These are my rabbits and my setup here to answer some questions
by: Lisa L in ct

Hello everyone this is Lisa in Connecticut. I just stumbled upon these Pinterest pins of my own setup, what a surprise LOL. I see there are some questions and I'll try to answer them. The first and most important concern seems to be a concern that the sunlight is going through the roof panels and allowing direct sunlight to overheat the rabbits. That is absolutely not true. The panels above the setup are not basic plastic or carbonate panels but rather specialty solexx panels used on greenhouses. They are unique because they allow the natural sunlight in while blocking all heat.

The natural full spectrum sunlight allows the does to breed on an aggressive schedule but they do not ever feel the heat of the sunlight. I have never had a single rabbit overheat even in the hottest of days, which is during our hottest month of August. To my knowledge, the hottest the area has reached is 111 degrees. I checked the rabbits no less than every 20 minutes on that day and I never even saw signs of stress. In fact during the last three weeks of August when it's typically between 90 and 100 degrees I often have several does Kindle.

In addition, I have a kiddy pool in the middle of the area and on the extremely hot days I allow the rabbits to swim. Yes, swim and they absolutely love it. They will float on their backs, frolic around, wade with just their head above the water and just enjoy themselves. Getting them in is not a problem they get excited when I begin to fill the pool from the hose. Getting them out is another problem because they don't want to get out. I will do batches of kits separate from the does and the does separate from the bucks.

If you haven't tried allowing rabbits access to water that is not too deep you'd be surprised how much enjoyment they get from it. As for wind protection, the area is wind-free. the area is surrounded by 8 foot tall wooden cedar privacy fence on 3 sides and the fourth side is a wall from my insulated garage. It is virtually wind free. If you step out of the rabbit enclosure you will feel the wind even on the most calm of days but in the rabbit enclosure you will not feel the wind even on the most turbulent of days. It has its own unique micro-climate which is why I set it up as I did.

The rabbits continue to thrive as time passes on. I have breeding stock from my great-grandfather's original herd with the bloodline going back over 80 years. There has never been any pasteurella, there has never been any problems with sore hocks, and I have not had any head tilt in decades. It has been years since I've seen even a single abscess in any of my stock. I've been breeding rabbits nearly 50 years now and spent decades breeding in desirable features and culling out undesirable features to end up with breeding stock that can breed year round while tolerating the extreme cold of our winters and the extreme heat of our summers resulting in me having only the best of the best for my main line.

I have not had but one coccidia outbreak which was more than 10 years ago when I made the mistake of feeding too much comfrey from my herb garden. When that coccidia outbreak happened I realized that it shouldn't have. Wild rabbits eat greens exclusively yet they do not suffer coccidia from it. It was at that time that I went to feeding my rabbits free range forage style eight months out of the year and only on commercial pellets the four months out of the year where nothing nourishing enough for them grows in this climate.

I hope this answers some questions and concerns.
I can be reached at bunnygal at comcast dot net.

Best regards, Lisa L in CT.

***** Karen Sez *****
Thanks Lisa! Your feedback is appreciated.

Aug 12, 2016
Urine Catch
by: Brad

We put plastic roofing below our cages. We've done both angled side to side and others front to back depending on location. This then goes into a PVC pipe with notch cut from top and this is angled and drains into a 2 bucket system. The top bucket has many small(not to small or will plug up) holes in the bottom and a second bucket below it. The urine and manure both fall in the top bucket, the urine drains thru and you have your manure and dump the urine.

Jan 10, 2015
Vines Can help
by: Anonymous

Instead of waiting for a tree, vines can provide shade almost right away. In the gulf coast, Passionflower, choate squash, cucumbers, and climbing roses are all good choices- also, the bunnies can eat most of those as treats, especially rose canes! If you're in the PNW, Hops vines are a great option, and you can give the hops to someone who brews. Hops to keep your hoppers happy- that would be adorable!

***** Karen Sez *****
LOL, yes, the comment about waiting for a tree to grow was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. :-)

Thanks for adding to the discussion - vines would be very helpful against the summer heat. Glad you mentioned it.

Jun 04, 2014
Easy Manure and Urine Separator
by: Mervin Davids

I'm thinking along a different line, what about see-thru roofsheets on an angle, with a L shaped chute fixed to the end and a gutter to catch the urine. The droppings should run past the end of the roofsheets onto the L-shaped (wooden) chute whilst the urine drips into the gutter.

May 10, 2014
So, About the TARP...
by: Lauren

We've been desperately trying to think of (or find) an easy system for waste elimination. Having found this on Pinterest, we feel like we hit the "Jackpot." We are a "small scale" rabbitry, who specialize in Holland Lops & Lionheads. We keep 8 adult rabbits & recently built an 8 hole cage, that is somewhat similar to yours. It is 12ft long & 7 ft tall...

*So my question is: What kind (type) of tarp do you use? Where did you purchase it? & (hope you don't mind me asking) Approx how much did it cost you? The reason I ask, after showing this to my husband, he brought up a very good point... Seeing how acidic rabbit urine is, he said "That can't be just "your run of the mill" tarp. The acidity would "burn" through it in a matter of weeks & having to continuously replace the tarp, would get quite pricey." For years, we've wanted to start harvesting our (rabbit) manure, but could never think of a way to separate the urine from the feces. We are grateful to have found such a genius idea & will hopefully be incorporating it into our rabbitry, here soon! Thank you so much for sharing!


***** Karen Sez *****
Yeah, thanks! The tarp is indeed a special, heavy duty vinyl tarp, but since the set up is not mine, I cannot answer as to what exactly, or how much it cost. I do know that my friend Lisa rinsed it off every day, draining the urine into a rock-lined hole and keeping the manure. Good luck with your own set up!

Jun 28, 2011
More Photos Please!
by: Anonymous

I'd love to see more photos please!

Jun 19, 2011
by: Anonymous

WOW what a money/work saving system. Very impressed.

Would like to know if the post and runners on front of the cages are JUST PVC pipe or ???

If just PVC then what size?
Noticed the chain on the pipe holding the front of the cage up. That seems to be a lot of weight on just PVC but if it works that's great.
Is anything inside the pipe supporting it?

Would like more specs on the whole system.

Will be even more amazed after I build my own.

Jan 05, 2011
Hurricane in the rabbitry
by: Moderator

Hi Anon,
Lisa's rabbits are very securely covered, but you are correct. They'll feel a breeze on a windy day. In our experience, tucking those cages up against fences and walls as she's done really helps keep the drafts to a minimum. (Important, as drafts can harm a rabbit's health.)

The sunlight through the clear plastic panels, now that was a good call of yours. Did you notice that the ground was grassy, and then it was dirt? That's because there used to be a huge shade tree covering the entire back yard. The tree got completely trashed by a hurricane in the summer of 2010, according to Lisa.

Now what to do?? If it were us, we think we'd put a very light mister system on top of the clear plastic panels. You can find the parts at most rabbit supply companies (check our Resources page). Misters will certainly help, at least until she can plant another tree and wait the 25 years till it matures...lol

About keeping the water liquid in winter, you can buy heated crocks and heated waterers. You can put a heater in a 5 gallon bucket attached to gravity-fed tubing and valves, and keep it at 40 degrees. (They say the tubing will stay open...I have a hard time imagining it!) You can buy a hose-heater. You can resort to knocking ice out of crocks several times a day and refilling them...! :-/

Jan 04, 2011
Weather Protection for rabbits
by: Anonymous

Just out of curiosity, what type of protection from wind are you using? Won't the clear plastic roofing allow the sun to over heat the rabbits in the summer? How do you keep your water from freezing? I also have a small backyard rabbitry in Connecticut, Just curious how others deal with the same weather conditions in New England.

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