The stakes are up from last time. We’d been planning on bunnies in the spring, but now 75 buns have been rescued from a hoarder and they need foster homes. Can I provide one? Can I, can I?
Regarding doors: Past experience has taught me that if there’s someplace a rabbit can go that’s difficult for me to get him or her out of, he or she will surely go there at the worst possible time. I know this: I am no good in a battle of wills!
So, after trying a few different configurations for doors, and squeezing myself through the openings to test the breadth of my reach, I opted for the whole shebang: one entire side of the condo is one big door. Within that door are two smaller doors, size of one grid panel each: one opens to the top floor, and one opens to the ground floor. The small doors are for daily use, but the big door is there when I need it.
While I’ve decided this set-up is next to imperative, it poses a problem because by removing the zip ties that would prevent me from opening the door, I lose quite a bit of structural stability. My solution is to put spring clamps in all the places where there would be a zip tie. My fingers are crossed that future buns don’t try to mess with me by nibbling the rubber on the clamps. (The rubber tips are removable, but they do provide good grip.)
Regarding flooring there are many options, none of them perfect:
- Linoleum can be slippery and uncomfortable for rabbits.
- Carpeting, towels, and other textiles are risky because if the rabbit likes to bite or rip them apart, gut impaction can result from ingested fibres, and strangulation or broken bones can result from body parts caught in any holes that have formed.
- Foam (children’s foam puzzle mats, yoga mats, etc.) and cork are easy and tempting for most rabbits to tear up (leading to possible injury, as with textiles).
- Wood is slippery and hard on the heels.
- Edible grass mats sound perfect, but where can I find ones that are 1) surely safe (untreated, edible) and 2) big enough?
- Cardboard! The question here is again one of source. O big boxes made of plain cardboard, uncontaminated and edible, and inexpensive enough to be regularly replaced, where have you been all my life?
This is what I’m thinking: carpet runner on the ground floor, linoleum on the top floor, and small, thick grass mats on all jumping surfaces.
I had a hard time finding good carpet runner. I wanted something very low pile, and big enough so the edges run outside the cage (so the cage sits on top). Such a product is listed on the Home Hardware website, but finding a store that sells it wasn’t simple. I finally found one, but I’m not keen on the pile. I’m concerned the rabbits still might dig and bite at it.
Finding linoleum wasn’t such a simple task, either. All the linoleum sheeting I could find was far too thin and slippery, not at all durable. I settled on linoleum tiles — they have good tack to them, and the store sold them by singles — but I’m concerned because their edges will be accessible (as opposed to sheeting, which I could wrap around the bottom of the floor). Will a rabbit bite at the edges and pull up the tiles?
The grass mats were easiest to find because they’re widely available online (they come from Busy Bunny, but I ordered mine from the Rabbit Rescue Store). But how will I affix them?
A few other concerns that have popped up:
Is the cage steady enough without a bottom to hold the walls together? What if a rabbit shakes the walls vehemently? Should I fasten the walls to the floor somehow, or connect them to a wire grid floor with plywood on top?
How do I secure the top floor to its dowels? Perhaps, had I used a heavier weight of plywood, I wouldn’t be in this mess, but as it is the floor curves slightly and doesn’t rest neatly on the dowels, leading to a bouncy and insecure floor. Should I screw them to the dowels? Or drill holes and use zipties? Above or below the linoleum? Could a rabbit’s nails be caught and torn on such things?
Because I found the roof bowed in somewhat, I decided to support it with 1.25” dowels; sadly, I had them cut a tad short, so they only overhang by 0.5” on each side. I envision them crashing down if the cage is rattled, so how can I secure them? Can I drill a hole safely into a round dowel?
So… guess what I’m doing tonight! My head is so full of rabbits, I could eat grass for dinner??