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Q: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   9 Comments )
Subject: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: silver777-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 30 May 2004 00:53 PDT
Expires: 29 Jun 2004 00:53 PDT
Question ID: 353785
Hi Googlers, 

My brother and I are starting our own rabbitry in Australia. The next
step will be our own rabbitoir(abattoir)in order to reach and control
our own market. 6 months of research has taught us a lot. Intensive
rabbit farming is profitable. Capital costs are significant. I am
seeking lateral thinking from you to consider alternatives. There is
no such thing as a rabbit shed per se, as it depends upon the chosen
site climate. Pre-fab sheds are expensive; tonnes of clay soil are
available on our site for consideration of rammed earth walls after
excavating our dam on limited acreage; wire mesh cages are available
at around AUD$200 fitted out for a bank of 6, which houses 2 does and
her litters, water nipple drinkers, feeders and a pressure rest mat,
before the cost of angle iron frames to support these cages; double
stacking to maximise shed usage is pertinent to the operation; current
shed size should be a minimum of 15m x 45m; minimum dimension of cages
is 1m length x .6 width x .45 height per rabbit; therefore the bank of
six is 3m long & 1.2m wide to house 2 does. Several sheds will be
required for the purpose of avoiding cross-contamination of disease,
should one shed become infected, therefore quarantined.

I have placed $50 as my price, however .. PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS ..
if we implement your direct suggestion and it represents a significant
cost saving, you will be rewarded appropriately and handsomely. $50 I
presume is in USD, so it must be about AUD$70 now since our decline in
the little Aussie dollar. Do not focus on your 75% from Google. This
is a fair price to pay the providers of your medium of research. Point
is, if you can save me bucks, you will be rewarded upon

I have a rabbit cage in my garage purchased from HJN International,
Wetherill Park, NSW; Harrison International is the parent company, so
don't bother with a reference to them. I have contacted the CSIRO,
Growtec, SCPA. No need to reference them either.

Please show me some lateral thought. The $200 set price limit for a
tip will fade to insignificance when you can provide me with
information I choose to implement.

Kind regards, Phil

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 30 May 2004 11:58 PDT
Hello Phil:

I will try to find some appropriate, cost-effective rabbitoirs for
you, and if I can't, I'm sure another researcher can.

But it's very important that you understand:

1): The tip limit is $100.  (The answer fee limit is $200; I think you
got those two mixed up!)

2): You've promised the researcher who answers your question they will
be rewarded if their answer proves cost-effective.

You cannot pay additional funds to a researcher once you have rated
their answer and paid a tip.

It's impossible to tip beyond the tip limit set by Google Answers, and
it's a violation of GA rules to arrange for -- and accept --
additional payment outside of Google Answers.

Therefore, you may want to adjust the question's fee upwards now. If
you want to do that, click on My Account" and select "My Unanswered
Questions."  Then, just click on this question and then click on
"Change Question Parameters" to modify the price.

Modifying the price is your choice; a researcher can't ask you to do
that. But if you feel the appropriate answer to your question is worth
more than 137.50 -- the amount a researcher will clear with 75% of the
fee, plus the $100 tip maximum, then the time to reconsider modifiying
the fee is now, before the question is answered.

Best regards,

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 30 May 2004 14:27 PDT
Besides locating some affordable, humane cages that might suit your
rabbitry's needs, I've also found some good blueprints for rabbitry
sheds, and I believe these sheds would work out just fine for you,
regardless of the topography in your part of Australia.

Would such blueprints qualify as an answer to your question?  If you
and your brother can't build them yourselves, I would think it
wouldn't be *too* expensive to hire someone to build them.

Clarification of Question by silver777-ga on 30 May 2004 16:14 PDT
Thank you Nancy,

OK, understood re the fee and tip. I will leave the fee at $50 for now
and maximise the tip when I see some cost savings.

A rabbitoir is an abattoir as in a slaughterhouse. That's down the
track, not just yet.

A rabbitry is simply a shed. The cage dimensions above meet Aussie
legal requirements. Imported cages from China will not suit. All I
want for now is ideas on sheds and cages, not an abattoir. Good
ventilation is a must. Think of shade cloth, fans, 22 degrees Celcius
optimum temp., pitch of roof for ventilation and alternative
construction materials.

Regards, Phil
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
Answered By: nancylynn-ga on 30 May 2004 17:42 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, Phil:

I had just about finished up when you replied. I misunderstood
"rabbitoir"; I guess I was thinking of a rabbit equivalent of
aviaries! (I know a lot of people enjoy eating rabbit, but I have
bunnies frolicking all over my yard, so for me -- no way!)

No matter that I thought you were raising them to sell as pets, the
recommendations for rabbit sheds, barns, and cages is pretty much the

I've checked this site regarding Australia's requirements:
("Ventilation, Space requirements, Floor of the shed," etc.), and the
only hard and fast rules there seem to apply to space.
So, the resources I've listed appear to be OK, especially since,
obviously, modifications can be made to shed and barn designs.


From Mother Earth News' archives, a 1970 blueprint for a
build-it-yourself rabbitry made from very inexpensive materials:

The Government of Saskatchewan's Plan Service has several blueprints
for rabbitries:

Rabbit Hutch:

And what I think may be the most intriguing, and the best bet of all
options, this 10,800mm x 34,800 rabbitry:

Poultry & Rabbit Housing Plans from the Mississippi State University
Extension Service:
Scroll down to:

"6-Row Caged Rabbit House Plans 
Cross section, floor plan and detail drawings of a single-tier cage
house for approximately 100 does and bucks. Capacity can be doubled or
tripled by stacking cages.

4-Row Caged Rabbit House Plans 
Cross section, floor plan and detail drawings of a smaller version of
the previous house. Approximately 60 does and bucks can be housed.
Capacity can be doubled or tripled by stacking cages.

Home Made Rabbit Cages 
Plans for building two types of all metal rabbit cages. The plan is
viewable and printable using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader."

Correll's Rabbitry has this great discussion board where rabbitry
operators trade blueprints for rabbitry sheds and barns:
(You will need to register here - it appears to be free registration
-- in order to read the threads and join the conversation.)

"Rabbit Equipment":
Good overview of hutch/ housing designs, along with ventilation and cooling tips. 


Reviewing these photos of rabbitries may give you and your brother
some design ideas. I've included contact information
so that you can e-mail the owners if you have any how-to, or other, questions.

Click on thumbnail photos of the rabbit barn at K&H Rex Rabbits: 

Papacosta's HRS:

Faithful Acres:
" . . .we have our rabbits housed in cages from Bass Equipment [I've
provided information on Bass Equipment, below]. . . Our cages are hung
from the walls on 2x3's and the walls are covered with White Marlite
Board that is nice because it is washble [sic]. We keep pine bedding
on the floor to absorb the wetness and  we clean the floors once a
week. We are currently installing a second row under the top row of
cages, these cages are set into frames that hold the cages and there
are dropping boards above these cages , so the rabbits below stay
clean and dry. Dropping boards are covered with Aluminum Flashing."
Contact: or

Van Am's Rabbritry Bunny Patch:

Pate's Fuzzy Farm:

"Inside The Rabbitry": 


Rabbit " Metro Condo" cages from KW Cages, Santee, California:

KW has other models in different sizes. To review them, click on the PDF
catalog at:

Contact KW with any questions, at:

Bass Equipment:

See their Kwik-Build Cage:

And their large "FlushKleen Cage & Rack System," which is built per
customer's specifications:

Contact Bass:

Rabbit Plus/Clerici: 

"Dunburrowin, or the Rabbit Residence," by Nikki White
"Another design, suitable for breeder cages [see photo]as they are 120
cm long, 60cm high and 70 cm deep. Note they are covered with
flyscreen wire and painted with weather-proof acrylic outdoor paint."


The FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
has put together this comprehensive guide for building and maintaining
rabbitries in various climates throughout the world:
Scroll down to sections about Temperature, Ventilation, and Lighting.

From "Hare Raising Ideas"
From Linda Thompson: "COOLING IN THE SUMMER 
I live in the hot humid south. . . . My rabbitry is shaded with
passion vine, metal roof with sides open 4 foot at the bottom. The
sides are shade cloth over a wooden frame. Cages are hung from the
rafters inside. We have to keep fresh air circulating if we are to
keep our animals healthy.

"Air conditioning is cost prohibitive down here, so I took an air
handler from an air conditioning unit, tied in 4" PVC pipe with 1/4"
holes drilled every 2 inches, and ran them down the top back corner of
each row of cages. Sound complicated? It really isn't. When I turn the
air handler on, it moves the air from the top back of the cage down to
the bottom front. If the animal wants to get out of the breeze, and it
is only a soft airflow, they lay at the back of the cage. Likewise, if
they need to cool off, I find them laying at the front of the cage.
This has been a great help in keeping fresh air flowing and also a
tolerable temperature during the summer.

"Last year I added a mister to the top of my rabbitry. I bought one
from a company in Arizona. It is a simple unit that works under
regular garden hose pressure. I have it angled so it sprays on the
side where the sun hits first in the afternoon. It runs over the roof
and has been an amazing help. Add water to already humid air? Sounds
crazy but the very act of the mist evaporating will drop your
temperature 5 to 7 degrees inside. The mister I use only uses 1/4
gallon water per hour, so it is very economical. . . ."

Scroll down to "District 6 Report in the DR  July/August Issue,
Sanders Whaley, Director:
What do you do to make [extreme heat] easier on your rabbits? 
Remember that since a rabbits' ideal temperature is only 55 degrees,
even the upper 80's puts a stress on them.  Adding sheets of styrofoam
under the existing roof, periodically running a mister or sprinkler on
the roof, and blowing lots of fresh air through the rabbitry have
definitely helped our animals.

"We have too many to use frozen water bottles in individual cages but
know that helps too.  We bought shade cloth at a nursery supply store
to hang along a wall of the rabbitry.  It blocked the sun but seemed
to hold in the heat.  We've since learned that the 80% block cloth is
too closely woven to allow any breeze to flow through.  The 60& block
works best, and is cheaper.  We are going to use the 80% block cloth
to  create a porch shade effect along a wall.

"We've been using lots of 20" box fans but have discovered house attic
exhaust fans for less than $50 at Lowe's [American discount hardware
chain store].  Just one of these really moves the air.  We know a
breeder who has picked up some used poultry house fans for his barn. .
. ."

See this New Zealand "Your Pet" guide's page on "Rabbit Housing and Maintenance": 

. . . .In their simplest form they may provide an open-front shed made
of wood, with solid, sloping roof, back, and sides, as a protection
against inclement weather. In regions enjoying mild climates, a
lattice framework is often sufficient protection against strong,
direct sunlight. Climbing roses and vines planted to cover this
framework tend to furnish further shade and also to provide a natural
setting. Such shelters, well lighted, may be equipped with lath
shutters or durable curtains to exclude wind and rain.

"More elaborate shelters, in the form of substantial, permanent
buildings, involve the outlay of considerable money. Since they
provide existing buildings for many years, they should be planned very
carefully. Quite often already existing structures, such as poultry
houses and livestock stables, can be effectively adapted to
rabbit-housing, and at a great saving of money . . . ."


Dr. Tom W. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Poultry Science, Mississippi State
University Extension Service:

Also from the Mississippi State University Extension Service:
"Commercial Rabbit Production"
"We recommend that you use all-wire cages. Hutches (or cages) with
wooden parts are not sanitary or as convenient to manage.
A 30" x 30" x 18" wire cage is large enough for a doe and litter. Also
use this size cage for each buck. It allows room for adequate
You may also use a 30" x 36" x 18" cage, especially if you leave
fryers with the doe until 8 weeks of age. If you remove fryers from
the doe at 4 weeks and raise them separately, the larger cage will
support 7-8 fryers to market (4 pounds). You will need about 7
grow-out cages for every 10 working does.
Each rabbitry must have some extra cages set aside for isolation. Two
to four are needed for each fifty working does. These cages are for
isolation of sick animals and new breeding stock. Isolate these
animals for three or four weeks. Keep show animals away from the
breeding stock, since they are often exposed to diseases at shows."

Search Strings:

setting up rabbitry
rabbitry shed
alternatives to rabbit sheds
rabbitry sheds
large sheds rabbitry
rabbit barns
rabbitry barns
rabbitry AND "temperature OR climate control"
rabbitry shade cloth
rabbitry roofing material
roof AND floor AND rabbitry

I hope my research is of help to you. If you feel I misunderstood or
neglected an aspect of your question, or if you require any
clarification, please post a "Request For Clarification" PRIOR to
rating my answer.

Best Regards,
Google Answers Researcher
silver777-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Hi Nancy,

Thank you for your excellent effort in your research. I guess I can't
expect to have my answers served up on a platter. Your findings may
help me reach further thought. As I expected, all but one site is U.S.
based, but the ideas may prove helpfull.

Well done, thank you for your time. Kind regards, Phil

Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: nancylynn-ga on 31 May 2004 05:06 PDT
All the references I gave you are from North American sources, yes,
but if I'd had any concerns that the blueprints wouldn't work at all
with your local topography I wouldn't have listed them. (It seems to
me any necessary modifications can be made rather readily.) Also, the
three cage manufacturers I listed sell and ship *worldwide*.

I realize you're new to this service and it's important that your
question emphasize & detail just what you need in your answer, rather
than emphasizing trying to motivate researchers.

(I know I explained the payment rules to you yesterday and, at the
risk of sounding rude -- I truly don't mean to -- as researchers, our
jobs end with answering questions. Again, we aren't looking for
business partners!)

I assure you, we researchers are plenty motivated, and the more detail
we have from customers, the better we can address customers' needs.
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: silver777-ga on 31 May 2004 19:23 PDT
Hi Nancy,

Yes, you have made your point clear. I understood your first version. 

Your answers are well received, hence my 5 star rating for you. My
reference to U.S. sites was simply conversation with you, suggesting
that you have proven that there is little information available in
Australia. I repeat, I can not expect to have my answers served up on
a platter. The references you have provided will be usefull for
deliberation. You have done a good job.

I do not doubt your motivation, as you put in a great effort with a
prompt reply. I thought my question was detailed and obvious enough.
Your answers were detailed and personalised. Again, well done.

My apologies if I have somehow upset you. That would hardly be my
intention toward someone like you, willing to help my research. I look
forward to working with you again on future searches.

Confused yet appreciative .. Kind regards, Phil.

ps I trust that you appreciated the tip!
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: nancylynn-ga on 01 Jun 2004 04:42 PDT

I do appreciate the rating and the tip -- my apologies for not
mentioning those, and for not thanking you properly!

You didn't upset me in the least, I assure you! It's difficult to
converse via this sort of medium, at times, as opposed to talking
face-to-face or even on the phone.

I'm going to take another little whirl around the Web and see if I can
find more resources from Down Under. That's no problem at all for me,
and I'll post what I find as an Answer Clarification.

No hard feelings at all at my end and I'm glad there aren't any at yours.

Thank you again. 

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: silver777-ga on 01 Jun 2004 06:42 PDT
Hi NancyLynn,

Well, what can I say? You sure deserve some thought from me. Thanks
for your kind words and understanding. I see that I am learning about
more than just rabbits from you. I agree that the written word can be
misconstrued at times. The author may accentuate certain words, but
the reader may view the text differently. I admit I have found similar
cases with e-mails. The receiver mixing up the intention, regardless
of the content, myself included. After re-reading my 5-line rating
response, I guess I would have to forgive you if you thought it was

Thanks for your offer of more research via answer clarification at no
further cost. Your offer was completely unexpected of course, and a
nice surprise.

OK, I'll shut up about that for now .. I'm glad we have found a mutual
understanding. Let's move on  :)

If you choose to continue searching for rabbits Downunder .. I already
have the info from CSIRO and Growtec as per your first entry above. I
have spoken with reps from both and visited a rabbitry and SCPA. The
Canada shed plan is getting close to my area of interest. My purpose
of "motivation" is to take the blinkers off .. as in .. think outside
the square before hitting the keyboard. What is in place in Aus is not
necessarily the best option. It's only an 8 year old industry on the
east coast. Many failures of large rabbitries are spoken of in the

Enough for now .. It's a pleasure knowing you Nancy, albeit via this medium.

Take care, Phil
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: nancylynn-ga on 01 Jun 2004 15:51 PDT
Hello again, Phil:

I owe you a mea culpa: From your question I extrapolated that you'd
exhausted Australian-related resources when your question's title
makes clear that you're seeking resources related to Australia.

So, I took another spin around the Net, using some of the same search
strings as before, but adding Australia to the mix:

I found sites for Growtec and CSIRO, which you're already familiar
with, and just a few more, such as:

Range Land Australia (a fee-based site):

A page from the FAO. (I'd cited that organization in my original
answer, but this page appears to pertain to Australia):

So, I then tried using Yahoo Australia: (Search Australia Only, the New Zealand Only)
and, using the strings:

"rabbitry OR rabbit barns OR sheds"
"rabbitry barns OR sheds"
"rabbit sheds"
rabbitry design
rabbitry AND shed
rabbitry blueprint
"build a rabbitry"

The only useful hits I got were:

Advance Sheds & Aviaries:

Rabbit Farming:

This article, "Taking on a new industry," from the 10 December 2003
Bombala Times, doesn't feature any photos of sheds, but it's a good
profile piece of one couple's experience in the rabbit meat business:

The most useful sites I found were Growtec's, but you're already aware
of those. Growtec, as I'm sure you know, appears to have a total
monopoly on the rabbit business in Australia.

What was so frustrating was, I did find quite a few rabbitry sites for
New Zealand and Australia, but they only featured photos of the
bunnies, not photos of sheds or barns.
So, sorry to say I came up empty on this renewed search.

Your kind words mean a lot to me! It's been a pleasure meeting you,
too, and I'm sure we'll meet up again here at GA.

Best of luck in your new business venture,

Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: silver777-ga on 01 Jun 2004 21:53 PDT
Hi NancyLynn,

You're a gem.

Thanks so much for the bonus search. I see that you have encountered
the same frustration with limited info on pictures of rabbitries per
se. Lots of cute bunny shots, but nothing of substance when it comes
to detail. It seems that the industry is a little guarded for one of
two reasons. Either the rabbiters are very successful and want to hide
their formula for success or they are unsure as they are still
treading water. I tend to believe in the latter. A closed shed is a
different matter. The bunnies require the least amount of disturbance,
as they are easily distressed.

Well, you have directed me to some interesting places. Rangeland,
AdvanceSheds and the Bombala Rabbitry. I will contact all three.
Thanks to you, I will make an appointment to visit the couple in
Bombala. I'm sure I will have no difficulty with a visit, as they
stated that they did so themselves to other existing rabbitries.
Advance Sheds build small sheds. But what's to say they can't build
bigger ones? A shed is a shed.

This is good stuff Nancy. You have instilled my initial thoughts about
the lack of info, most is seemingly word of mouth. This may in fact be
to our benefit, as even the seasoned rabbiters are still
experimenting. I hope to glean as much as I can from them.

I hope you will excuse my "rabbiting on", but I realised that the
other reward for a researcher is the learning itself. Rabbits one day,
nuclear physics the next perhaps!!

Thank you so much for your time, energy and effort.

All the best, Phil
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: tasfarm-ga on 07 Aug 2004 04:22 PDT
Hi Phil,
I am not a researcher but I am starting my own Rabbitry, I have talked
to lots of experienced rabbit breeders about cages and equipment. They
all say that HJN International are cages only last a year or 2. I have
lots of Info on Rabbit farming for meat in Australia if you would like
to email me I can send you whatever files you need. I also have a
contact in VIC that has a 8 cage bank that comes with feeders and
watering system in the price. There are also alot of people to talk to
about this subject. Email me and I can send you some info.

About the sheds being made on the cheap, it is not a good idea as you
need clean and well insulated structures so rats and birds cannot dig
in etc. I have drawings of how to setup, feed, water and clean
droppings for 100 Does in 16 hours per week.

Have fun! Talk soon hopefully
Dan Geiger
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: silver777-ga on 10 Aug 2004 21:06 PDT
Hi Dan,

I hope you get to read this. The Google Answers Editors have advised
me that we can communicate only within the answer forum. It appears
that we are unable to nominate a contact point for further
communication. They also discourage one to one contact, which is fair
enough. I am in a bit of a quandary as to what to do, as further
discussion will prove valuable. If I ask for direction of contact, my
post here will be deleted.

Editors .. thank you for your kind e-mails of explanation. Would it be
out of line to openly ask if there is such an internet site (outside
of Google, in order to respect your policy) to which you might point
two parties to choose to make contact? Again, I respect your control
of your own site. I do understand that we should not (and do not) post
personal e-mail addresses here, as this could lead to other problems
for Google.

I am prepared to pay for the question of course, if you want me to
post it again separately.

Thank you for your time and patience in my endeavour to contact
another with similar interests. I look forward to your advice with a
solution which matches our needs.

Kind regards to all, Phil
Subject: Re: Rabbit cages and sheds - Australian alternatives to that available
From: silver777-ga on 13 Aug 2004 06:10 PDT
Hi Dan,

Thanks for your input. You MAY WISH TO VISIT Correll's Rabbitry at to further your research.

Kind regards, Phil777

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