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Not sure what the housing requirements are for American Chinchillas are?
Check out this great article by Deb Clemens

From Mountaintop Farms

By Deb Clemens

Over the years of raising rabbits, we have changed our methods a few times and come up with new barn layouts. We have always built our own cages mostly due to a lack of cage stores that sell quality goods. We probably have built well over 200 cages over the years, and we just keep learning new things!

We keep our does in a 30 X 36 cage that is 30 inches tall. This give momma a lot of room to stretch out, even when she has a litter; and she can always jump on top of the nesting box to get away from the greedy little buggers. Individual cages are great for when you need to move them around, but we have designed a system that has a couple of advantages:

These cages contain 3 holes with a 3” barrier between each. This give you the flexibility of building a wooden frame to hold the cage, without the danger of contaminating the wood with urine, etc. The area between the cages is good for filling with hay. The rabbits need to scratch it out, which is good for something to do! I don’t recommend this for housing bucks, because they will spray the hay in between the cages! They usually do behave, but I have white shower curtains hanging behind their cages, just in case. Some of those are pretty decorated.

I carry the hay around the barn in my “old lady shopping cart” lined with a trash bag to minimize waste and mess on the floor. Fresh water is delivered via the rolling cart you can see by the sink in front of the window. The outside walls are all double hung windows that can be opened for ventilation or closed against any storm.

Each cage has those handy cage tags made with Evans Software, giving, name, DOB, sire and dam, ear number, etc. for the doe, and a breeding tag I made on my computer reminding me the date of breeding, buck used, when to put in the nest box, date kindled, number weaned, etc. When the litter is weaned, I take this tag back to the house and enter it into my computer, so pedigrees are simple.

I the last few years, we have converted to totally LED lighting in the barn. This gives us good visibility and a lower electric bill. We leave the lights on from about 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. all year around so breeding is more regular than not.

Our barn is 3 stories tall, with rabbits on all floors. These photos are on the second floor. Being in the mountains of North Carolina, there is no flat place to build a barn! Manure is handled by dumping pans into a specially built reservoir, and then pushing it down a waste pipe to the slurry on the ground. There it quickly becomes liquid gold and is used all over the farm for fertilizer.

We do a deep clean once a year. I try to treat for cocci the week before the big cleanup, and then each cage is carried outside, burned, power washed, sprayed with ammonia, wire brushed, power washed again and then brought back inside. I clean pans twice a week with a rigid dustpan and keep sawdust in the pans to hold down flies. Country Vet Mosquito and Fly spray pretty much eliminates the flies that do find their way to the barn.

Every rabbit breeder has their own way of doing things. Whether to feed hay, what kind of pellets, how often you breed, etc. all make for a diverse and interesting hobby/job. If we share what we do, we can all pick up a tip here or there, to improve our operation!

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