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2. Housing Your Angora Rabbit
When starting with Angoras, the first thing for the beginner to decide is approximately how many angoras one wishes to raise. Are you going to have one or two angoras for pets? Do you plan on doing any breeding? How many does do you plan to breed in a year? What is the maximum number of angoras the space you have will permit you to raise?
Every breeder will have their own idea as to the style and design of the perfect rabbit hutch or cage system. All of this will depend upon the amount of space you have for the cages and if the rabbits are going to be housed inside or outside. Regardless of what you decide, it is important to keep in mind the hutches or cages must be dry, well lit, have good ventilation but free from drafts, as well as the temperature where the rabbits will be housed. Several people have asked if a barn, chicken coup, garage or other unused building could be adapted for housing Angoras. All of these buildings can be suitable so long as you consider the factors listed above.
There are many different types of hutches and cages that can be used. Some are made of wood and wire while others are all wire. If you are going to have several Angoras in a small area, I would suggest purchasing or making the wire cages so you can stack them on top of each other. Of course, when you stack the cages you will also have dropping pans that will need to be cleaned frequently to keep your rabbitry sanitary. When deciding what type of hutch or cage you want to use you need to consider the following: comfort of the rabbit, ease of cleaning and handling of stock, ease of dismantling for thorough disinfecting, resistance to vermin and the escape of the rabbits, and economy.
The comfort of the Angora in the cage is very important. I prefer to use cages that are at least 24" x 30" that are 18" high The cages are made of 1" x 2" wire on the sides and top with 1" x 1/2" wire on the floor. I have larger cages I use for does when the babies come out of the nestbox to give the doe more room. Some people use cages that have baby saver wire, however, I have found the urine guards and putting window screening around the cage when a doe kindles works well. The window screening is cut so it is approximately a foot tall and goes completely around the cage. I simply use twist ties to fasten the window screening to the cage, plus this gives me easy access to open the door of the cage.
Whether you are purchasing a cage or the wire to make the cage yourself, I would suggest you check the prices with various dealers to obtain the best price as cages purchased in pet stores are usually very expensive!
It is extremely important to protect your Angora from the outside elements. I have mine in a building that is well ventilated. One needs to make sure the rabbits are not in a direct draft. If you must house your rabbit outside be sure to have the cages covered to protect the rabbits.
Angoras can withstand various temperatures, however, extreme heat can be fatal. If your rabbit is used to being outside be sure it is in a shaded area. If temperatures are above 80 degrees you need to place a frozen water bottle ( a two liter soda bottle works well) in the cage so the rabbit may lay against it to cool off. A rabbits ears are its thermostat so I suggest you lightly mist the ears to help cool it down.
In winter temperatures it is best to shield the rabbit cage from the winter winds, snow, etc. The hardest part of having your rabbit outside in the winter months is trying to supply enough fresh water as it will freeze quickly.
It is best to use water bottles with angora rabbits. Using a crock for water causes their furnishings to mat more quickly.
I use 4" crocks to feed my rabbits that have the lip on them so when they decide to 'dig' in their food it is not wasted.