In Israel, and probably most of the world, most house rabbits are given to children, who keep them in tiny cages (cheap) and forget about them after a month. The tragedy of the house rabbit is its low price. The costs of having a healthy and happy rabbit are enormous compared to the price you pay for the animal at the pet shop. For comparison, ferrets are treated much better simply because they cost 150-300$ and not 10-20$.
The other extreme of caring for a house rabbit is letting it run loose in the house, eat fresh vegetables with scientifically balanced dry mix and giving it unlimited attention. Not so easy!
I remember the day I came home from work. Stella came running to get her head rubbing fix. I picked her up and sat in front of the TV. Something was wrong. The sound system was shredded. I decided to surf the web. The modem supply cord was cut in two places.
Since that day, we kept Stella in a back room. Her projects included digging holes in the wall (new instructable: how to dig a hole in the wall) and shredding anything we absent mindedly decide to put in that room, including two very expensive mattresses.
Finally, I saw on the web a caging system that looked cool. It was a labyrinth of wire mesh cages assembled together to make a relatively large playing area for rabbits. Problem: it is not available in Israel. So, after finishing a basic wood working class, I decided to build a cage. The goal was to give Stella a big enough playing ground without compromising our apartment's free area and without letting her cause any more damage.

Step 1: Buying the bars

Lately, hardware stores in Jerusalem show a range of wire mesh based storage solutions. I based my cage on two 1.2m-by-0.5m shelves (App. 4ft by 1.5ft). A shelf makes an excellent door because it has an optimal grid and usually L shaped, which makes it easier to mount on the wood construction. I found my shelves in "Ace Hardware". But I guess one can get them almost everywhere. I think that wire mesh shelves are more popular in America than in Israel. Here we have less built in closets. The simple grey bars make better cages than the PVC coated ones. Remember, rabbits chew.
Since the cage doors' measurements are the anchor of this project, go shopping before sitting down to the drawing board.
<p>It's a &quot;Rabbitat&quot;</p><p>My brother made one for his rats he had which we called the &quot;Ratitat&quot;</p>
This is such a great idea!
Thank you.
How you caught the shelves? It was with screws? It has a timber holding the door in this side of the shelf?
http://www.ldlonline.co.uk/Product/0/4473/BLUM-Screw-On-Cabinet-Connector<br>Blum connectors are easy to use and very stable. You can take the cage apart in minutes and move it to a different room or in your car. You don't need any special tools (e.g. biscuit joiner or even electric drill). Once you cut your plywood these connectors can hold together the cage in minutes, using only a philips type screwdriver.
Man, this is really nice! I'll do some adaptations and make one for my rabbit, Bruce! :D <br>I've made one, but it was too short. Thanks a lot :D
Thanks man, I'm amazed this instructable still gets traffic, more than 7 years after it was posted. Sadly, Stella is no longer with us. Her cage above served a ferret for a little while and probably stored somewhere in Israel. Her second cage (see next) is now my power tools cabinet in the garage. Rosie is a much bigger dog. I can't believe how life in America transformed her :-) thanks for the nostalgia!
Very nice, man. Gratz!!
Not meaning to rain on anyone's parade, so you all keep thinking warm fuzzy bunny thoughts if you want to. I was more looking into a way to raise meat animals in the 'burbs, and this bunny condo looks like a prime source of Hasenpfeffer. Expand it a bit and it would be a nice little garage based meat factory.
As a hopeless carnivore, I can't judge you. As it happens, my tribe has some religious dietary restrictions when it comes to what kind of animals we can eat. So rabbits, rodents, pachyderms, cats, dogs etc. are out of the menu even before we consider the cultural or practical implications of eating these animals. But I'll say it again, I can't judge you. I don't know how rabbits compare in intelligence to cows, and I'll eat a cow, provided it was raised, killed and prepared in a proper (specifically kosher) manner. An important point most bunny pet owners love to ignore is that many of the breeds we raise as pets were developed originally for meat. We spay and neuter our rabbits to prolong their lives because as nature and the meat farms dictated their genetics, they are redundant for the preservation of the species after a certain age. <br>I'm sure most of my late Stella's recent ancestry ended up as food and even her short 5.5 years were an incredible anomaly for her kind that was achieved by veterinary intervention and two devout pet owners. Only one thing I would ask from aspiring farmers, to make the short lives of their meat rabbits as pleasant as possible. Personally, I have a more strict kosher standard that excludes the industrial type farms. I only eat free range beef. So I am actually glad TaoJones considered multilevel condos instead of tight cage array for his meat farm.
There's no shame in raising animals for food as long as they are well taken care of-it's a lot better than buying factory farmed meat from the grocery store.
This is not a good idea. Rabbits live on the ground. They are very comfortable there. However, they do not like being high off the ground. Their instincts tell them that this is a very, very bad situation. The only time a wild bunny would be high off the ground would be if it was captured by some sort of predator (like a bird that would carry them high into the air). Understandably, this makes them very nervous. Stressed animals can become sick for no apparent reason. Please keep your rabbit out of this contraption. Though your intentions were undoubtedly good, this cage will be a nightmarish experience for your poor little creature. If your rabbit needs more space, why don't you just buy a larger cage? Multi-level cages were meant for rats and other small animals that are used to climbing through trees, not rabbits. Please get a conventional cage for your cute little bunny and you could save its life.
Please note that the levels are solid bottomed, not mesh. The mesh levels are what causes the problems. <br><br>Using the solid shelving gives them the feeling of security and approximates an underground rabbit warren-very comforting to a rabbit. No conventional cage is going to give them anywhere near the space that this one does and that's the important thing. If a nestbox is included then they can retreat there in the event that they feel unsafe. <br><br>This is an excellent design that I will be basing mine off of when I get rabbits again...I'll just need to figure out bedding and keeping it spotless since you can't (or at least shouldn't) use shavings with angoras and that's the breed I'd be getting. I'm trying to limit additional pets to ones that will be &quot;useful&quot; somehow such as fiber producing rabbit or chickens. My reptiles aren't very useful for anything other than amusement, I can't even use the old turtle water for aquaponics because of the salmonella concern.
Hi Walrusboy10, I appreciate your concern but Stella has been living in this particular cage for over a year. She's been in multi-level cages for almost 3 years now, which make the most of her 4 and a half years on this planet. Rabbits don't climb trees, that's true. But apparently Stella loves the multi-level setup because her favourite place is the top floor. She runs around, up and down the levels all the time. She puts all the toys up there and doesn't like us "messing up" her penthouse. When she's up there, I don't think she realizes she's up in the air, very much like humans in tall buildings. She gets time to run around the house every now and then and goes on vacations in a bunny sitter's house, who happens to be an expert on this animal. She thinks this cage is a good idea. Believe me, we have a happy bunny that's healthy and friendly to humans, our dog and other bunnies.
I too appreciate & thank Walrusboy10 for the concern. The rabbit companions we have available today have been bread to the point that they don't share much with wild bunnies at all. What our companion house rabbits do have is individual preferences. Some prefer floor only living, others love the multi-level housing. I think most house rabbits appreciate any extra space they get for exercise. Whatever style of extra space they are given, vertical or horizontal, they will still want/need a "den" type of space, in addition to "running space" , to sleep & hide in. Most people I've seen use the original tiny cage first bought for the rabbit, for the den/sleeping/hiding quarters, then add extra space caging for full time living. Kudos to Kakungulu for taking the time & expense to provide a non-toxic & hay filled world for his bun. Thank you also for taking the time to post your instructions.& answer all the comments.
I hope so.
It's really nice. But today I in brandbagsales.com bought a bag. Pretty cheap
Final note:<br/>This instructable was posted ~3 years ago.<br/>Recently our beloved Stella has passed away at the age of 5.5 years. She had a severe case of lymphoma that went undetected until it attacked her heart. We miss her so much.<br/>We tried to donate the palace to <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rabbit.org/">HRS</a> volunteer in our neighbourhood. But now it seems like we are going to keep it and become foster family to bunnies waiting to be adopted from the Colorado HRS.<br/>If you're considering buying a bunny, check first the local HRS branch and adopt a pair. <br/>Stella was an impulse purchase from a Jerusalem shopping mall. <br/>But we hope the life we gave her was good, healthy and full of love. How many rabbits immigrate with their humans?<br/> <br/>Thanks for commenting and rating this instructable,<br/>Kakungulu<br/>
I know someone who moved from New York, USA to Germany, and she took her bun with her. I'm so glad you took your Stella with you. I'm sure she had a happy life, as not only did you care for her, but you built her a palace. After all, only a proper bunny slave would bow to such a girl's demands. :)
my mom thinks bunnies will chew on all the wires if i get one is this true? btw nice palace!!
That is a good question that many people often have. The goal when you have a bunny companion, as with any companion animal, is to prevent your friend from causing damage to themselves and the environment they are being introduced into. What your Mom is worried about is quite possible. What you would need to do is called &quot;bunny proofing&quot;. You have to get down on your hands and knees and poke your fingers into EVERY corner and crevice and look for anything and everything that could get your friend into trouble. Wires have to be hidden, expensive chewies should get put away, breakable should be moved higher or behind something sturdy. A wonderful place for information about bunny proofing a home can be found at www.rabbit.org and whether you choose to allow your friend to be what is known as free roam or to have a roomy house and then have supervised play time in a bunny proof room does not make a difference, so long as you spend time with your friend. Also, remember that bunnies prefer to have people on their own level (the floor) when they interact with you. Sit quietly and let them come to you at the start and they will help you learn the kinds of games they like to play--and they LOVE to play! One last thing, neutering and spaying your friends will help them live long happy lives. A bun who lives indoors and has been altered has an average life span of 8-12 years, which makes the adoption of foster buns from shelters or the House Rabbit Society (HRS) well worth it.<br><br>I adopted my baby 11-23-02 at six months old, and he'll be turning 9 this May. Oh, and even at 9, he's still my baby.
Stella did not even attempt to chew on wires. She did find the wooden shelves appetizing when her hay stack was too low. It was a good reminder for us to add some more hay.
Your rabbit dont make pooh? <br />
I had a rabbit named willow, that turned out to have a lung infection, and it died. But, now We have a new happy healthy rabbit that loves to run around the house. (in fact, he's so big, He can kick us down, but fortunatly, hes well behaved)<br /> <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
Congratulations on your new rabbit. If you let it run around the house, make sure you protect your wires. I read somewhere that they have an instinct to chew on exposed &quot;roots&quot;. You might loose a cable (HDMI's make expensive bunny chew-toys) or, god forbid, the rabbit (live electric cables). I used a simple flexible pipe and it worked. But after Stella ate a curtain, a skirt and few of our books, we gave her the spare room. Then, she decided to &quot;round&quot; the corners of the walls. So I built her the first palace. Rabbits need to run around and be close to humans. The palace is perfect solution because it gives them enough exercise room and if located properly (my home office) they see and get petted by their human family.<br /> <br /> I will not do the mistake of raising a single bunny again.<br /> In Israel they told us that a single bunny can be imprinted by its human adopters and not care for other bunny's companion. We were proven wrong in the last couple of months of Stella's life. We took her to the HRS facility in Colorado and introduced her to other bunnies. At first, she was shy and reserved. She rejected a male bunny. But then she met a small floppy eared bunny and they were stuck together, until she died. So I guess we gave her good love and care but bunnies need their own too. <br /> Enjoy your new rabbit.<br />
Hi, how'd you go about bringing your rabbits to America? I have one rabbit, and hope to adopt another within the next few months. But in about four/five years I want to move to South Colorado with my husband and start up a rabbit sanctuary. But I refuse to move there without my bunnies, how'd you do it? Thanks, Raych.
Hi PixiBunni, Where are you moving from? I can answer for Israel but I'm guessing procedures are similar for most countries. In Israel the authority in charge of transporting animals overseas is the ministry of agriculture. They have employed vets that see the animals, check for vaccination if needed and issue certificates. Rabbits do not need to have any vaccination to travel. The government vet issued us a chinchilla certificate at first :-) He was amazed to see that we're shipping a bunny. You need to make sure the airline you're taking flies animals. We took Continental. They will charge you the same as a caged dog, since you have to cage your rabbit. You can't see your pet until your final destination. They claim that they have a kenneling service for the layover. We don't think they fed our rabbit because the food we attached to the cage was not opened. But she had enough hay in the cage and so it wasn't a big deal for the 20 hours trip. Checking in and out for pets is done in the cargo area, rather than the people's terminal. So make sure you know where you're going in both airports. Naturally, you need to check your pet in before you check into your flight (carry tickets and permits with you). In Denver, you go to cargo customs to release your pets and they direct you to the warehouse where you can claim them. In my experience, shipping two bunnies can cost as much as 1 person's ticket. We shipped a dog and a bunny (see pictures) and they cost us almost like a 3rd ticket. Good luck!
Thank you, Kakungulu. I am doing a lot of research before I get my first rabbit. I like your design because it permits a lot of air circulation, but because 5 out of the 6 sides are closed, there is a lot less risk of draft. I am thinking of having my brother-in-law, who has a great workshop, cut holes in each level instead of making each shelf shorter. This would provide more living space while still promoting passage from one layer to another. I might also make one door, the main access door, out of Plexiglas, again to help prevent drafts. That would still leave one half of the front open as mesh, to allow air circulation. I also like the solid wood outside surfaces because it cuts off light, so the rabbit can relax. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks 88DaleJrFran, I think cutting holes instead of making short shelves is a great idea. I considered this myself, but was too lazy and didn't have experience or tools to do it at the time. But if you can, you're going to have more living space AND stronger structure. Your shelves will be binding together the 3 walls. Another improvement I think would be to get lockable wheels. I moved the latest design at least 3 times around the house and each time had to balance it on an office chair and hope it doesn't topple while being transferred. About Plexiglas: look at my conversation below. I am wandering how static charges affect the cleanliness of the see through side. I am thinking about a furry animal constantly brushing against plastic where there's a lot of hay and loose hair flying around and sticking to it. But I may be totally wrong. Please, if you use Plexiglas let me know how it works. I would like to see a posting of your design when it's complete. Thanks, Kakungulu
This is great!! I wanted to get some angora rabbits and use their shed fur to spin into yarn, but my husband said he didn't want a rabbit loose in the house or in a tiny kennel, and after seeing this he is considering building one!
Hi TC I bet if you contacted your local Rabbit Advocates or any rabbit rescue operation, they'd love for you to come collect fiber for spinning if they have any angoras- It would be a win-win situation. They'd get the needed grooming & you'd get all the fiber you could use without the responsibilities of a companion rabbit.
I need that for my rat!!
What a creative way to house them! I think I'm going to forward this to some of my friends that have two bunnies.
Wow, that cabinet is GORGEOUS!!! Will you include the steps to making that one here on Instructables? I'd love to see some closer pictures, and if you do include them, I'll HAVE to get bunnies!! (do they get along with cats?)
they get on prettty well, we introduced a new rabbit to our cat recently and the rabbit was young enough to be just plain curious, the cat got a bit freaked by this thing slowly bouncing towards her and and now they just ignore eachother, every now and again the rabbit goes for a sniff of the cat and the cat is fine till the rabbit touches her then it runs back a bit. Also guineau pigs work well with cat, especially psycho ones, ours called Ali G was nuts and when we got kittens it was the most enertaining thing to see. The adult guineau pig wasn't bothered at all till the kittens came over and pawed at it in a friendly manner (they seemed to think it was a misshapen cat) the guineau pig turned round sauntered to the end of the room and then charged, it was incredible these things fall over if they encouter a height difference and it was now chasing to cats around the room headbutting them and it all ended in a pile of animals when one cat ran toward the door with a window in it (at the bottom) followed by the other cat then the guineau pig all of which hit the window. Make sure your cat is quite tame though our cat was abandoned and became wild before we got her so for the first month she was kept in a spare room which had quite thick soft wall paper, the cat climbed the walls literally but it was odd about the guineau pig, it had a go at it but Ali G was having none of it from the new kid...
Thanks! I didn't really document the steps for that one and it is glued together (not modular like the 1st one). I will try to elaborate more on the construction of the frame and panel. I don't know if bunnies and cats get along. We have a small dog (Rosie - see picture) who was initially terrified of Stella. She was saved from the Jerusalem kennel as a puppy and so was much smaller than Stella. Now they love each other. Rosie would approach the bars and extend her tang to kiss Stella. Stella, in return, gets closer and accepts the love. The problem is that dogs, especially Rosie sized dogs, have too much energy for bunnies. So we don't let them play together or be loose with each other. When we let Stella run around the house for exercise, we keep Rosie on a leash or locked up in our bedroom. Bunnies are easy after you fixed them. Before that, you should keep in mind that they need time to be acclimated and know their litter box etc. But after they did that and you fixed them, they are very cat-like, but much less demanding.
Treat all animals like dogs, you wouldnt have them in a cage all day would you? You Put it in a kennal, or house for so much time, and take it out for walks and things.
You gotta concider the size and habits of the animal too. A hamster or rabbit might be content with a multi-tiered burrow-like habitat like this more than they would a large yard or big open room. Rabbits and the like are prey animals and are usually happier when they have a nice cozy place to be. You're right though, you need to keep them in a decent sized area so they can move around.
Our little hamster (brought home from the pet shop today) currently has, proportionally, about as much room as I have in this house. By the end of tomorrow, he will have about 3 times that much space, even without coming out of his "little" condo.
Wow, this is a great project. Makes me want to get bunnies!!! I'm guessing the reason Stella doesn't chew the walls is because she can't find an edge to chew on. What do you give her to gnaw? Can she chew up jeans or other heavy fabrics? I didn't see how you attached the shelves. What holds up the 'free' edge? Thank you for sharing this great idea! Kim
Thanks Kim, I built this cage using 17mm plywood. The free edge is hanging in air but the 3 connectors are strong enough to keep the shelf from bowing to Stella's weight. I used blum connectors for modular cabinets. All the cage is assembled / taken apart by rotating a series of screws. I didn't invest too much on hardware with this model. The cage is functional but not so elegant. I think I did better job with the current model (see last step). It is "frame and panel" cabinet style. Thanks for your comment.
Oh, another thing I wanted to add...you might think about using small 'open end' eyehooks instead of the screws on top to hold the shelves. They would be sturdy, yet allow you to remove the doors if you needed to. You might even be able to use them on the sides if you wanted them for 'hinges', to swing the doors out horizontally. Kim
Before my boy's beloved rats died, we used a clip from an old dog leash to keep the cage door closed. We found out quite early on that rats are crafty enough for midnight escape attempts. And I agree with your sentiment not to get another companion. The two rats we had were from the same litter and we never even considered getting another after the first one passed. They get very accustomed to their own nesting areas. And for anyone out there that does plan on getting a cage animal for their children, for the love of whatever deity you believe in, let the animals out of the cage for a while each day. Cleaning up after their messes helps teach your little 'uns responsibility and the animals love to scurry about and bond with their keepers.
Amen to that!
Ah! And if I use smaller mesh I could house rats in it... Some of my favorite pets. x3 I love it!
See the last step, where I posted Stella's current cage. The doors on that one are made of standard rabbit fence that I cut to fit the door frames. I guess for rats you could build a shorter step configuration with construction mesh (the kind you use to plaster ceilings)for the doors. If you build one, I'd like to see a picture. Rats are some of my favourite too. I think all rodents are cute. Alas, my wife differs... Thanks for the comment.
That's really nice of you how, you have put in so much effort to make sure the animals are happy, are rabbits get the whole run of the side garden.
"Clothespins" Isn't really a pin, but hey, I didn't make it up.
Thanks Erik. I eventually used suitcase type latches on my latest design (see last slide).

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