Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dream Barn

This is the second in a series of posts I'm doing this month on the Rabbitry building or setup.  Right now, I'm utilizing a spare room in my house, but as I expand I will need to continue to reevaluate the setup.  When I imagine what my dream barn might look like, I naturally consider the wants first and then the must-haves.  To me, A dream barn, as opposed to a practical building, would be as aesthetically pleasing;-) as it is functional.  It's gotta be cute!!  Okay, it doesn't have to be cute, but it would be a nice bonus.  Dr. James McNitt, a professor of animal science at Southern University and A&M College, suggests that "ventilation, sanitation, and observation are three extremely important concepts in successful rabbit management."  Since I live in Texas, I have to also add climate control to the list.  Triple digit Texas heat waves actually push this requirement to the top of the list.  

                Lofted Barn 8' X 8' - $1865 + tax

So, with this checklist in mind, there are a couple of companies that I really like.  My favorite is  Leland's Industries.  Of the many options that they offer, my absolute favorite is the Lofted Barn.  All of their buildings are customizable and the custom options are relatively inexpensive.  For example, adding a 2' X 3' window is only $50 and an extra set of doors is $150.  I like the idea of having double doors in the front and back, so that it can be opened up to help with the airflow and to bring in lots of natural light when I'm working in the barn. 

They also offer a rent-to-own option.  Like any payment plan, it costs quite a bit more overall ($86.34/month x 36 months = $3108e), but it's a way to get the building sooner with less out of pocket up front. 

               Elizabeth House 4' X 7' - $1475 + shipping
I also like a company called The Green Chicken Coop.  It's a bit unconventional for use with rabbits, but I like the look and size of their designs.  These buildings are also very portable.  They sell wheel and handle kits ($249) too, so the unit can be easily moved whenever and wherever necessary.  

Some modifications may be necessary to use this building to house rabbits instead of chickens, but this company also offers low-cost customizable options.  Adding an electrical package is an additional $125 and extra windows are $45 each (2 are included).  This is a smaller building, but bump out options can also be added to increase the size.

Screened double doors with Plexiglas inserts
Linoleum floor (instead of slatted floor)

My dream barn may not be feasible right now, but it is fun to dream.  The best option short-term may not be the best long-term solution.  I'm trying to keep both in mind, so that I don't make a mistake that I'll regret later.  That may mean a smaller building now that can be used to house bucks(?) later or it might mean a building that can be added on to in the future.  

Dr. McNitt also suggests keeping individual needs in mind when designing rabbit housing - what works well for one person may not work as well for someone else.  I think that's true, but I also learn so much from what works for others.  He adds that the rabbit housing investment will most likely be a fairly substantial one, so any blunders may have to be endured or at least worked around for years to come.   Rabbitry buildings come in all shapes and sizes, which "may mean a cage in the garage or carport, a hutch in the back yard, or a special building with cages for hundreds of animals" (click here to read article excerpts and outline or to download McNitt's full 25 page manual on rabbit housing).  I love how open most rabbit people are.  They're so willing to share what works for them.  I hope to take a little here and a little there to find what works for me. 


  1. I love these "dream" buildings! Thanks for posting. I'm adding those Green Chicken Coop houses to my wish list...and that Dr. Nitt manual was excellent. I downloaded it for my rabbit info file. I liked his recommendation about including an office in your plans. I hadn't seen that before in any other manual about housing. It's so important.

  2. I just entered a contest to win the Elizabeth chicken coop! If you go to Grit Magazine's FB page & like them, you can enter there...
    I think it came up on their wall, but if it doesn't, there is a "Chick 'n Coop Giveaway" on the left that you can click on.

    I liked the idea of having an office in your bunny barn too. One of my favorite rabbit buildings is styled like a hair salon, which I think is a cool idea. The chairs are tall, backless hair salon chairs and everything is on rollers for ease of cleaning. Anyway, they have a nice office area with a rolling kitchen cart for a desk and a bulletin board above it with a calendar, dry erase board, etc. I'm probably not explaining it well, but it's very cute and looks super clean.