Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rabbit Tractor is Finished!

Building the rabbit tractor took a lot longer than I expected...somewhere close to 8 hours altogether I think.  We had to do a lot of figuring with the cattle panels to come up with a height that is both roomy and sturdy - 16' was too wobbly and would have required supports.

 We ended up with 12' cattle panels, because that left us with 4' to use elsewhere.  If  I wasn't worried about wasting some, I would probably go with 14'.  12' makes the total height inside just about 5'.  I'm 5'4" and only have to duck a little bit but it would be nice to stand up straight.

The frame is 4' wide by 12' long and we used 3 cattle panels which are 50" each.  That gave us a little bit of an overhang out the back which I'm hoping will keep the nest area a little less drafty.
 For the nest area in the back we used a cut up piece of cattle panel that ended up being 40" x 50".  It's held on with wire ties on the sides, but in the back we bent the long pieces of the open section of cattle panel down to add strength.  Both my kids can sit on it.

I wanted a nest area off the ground so they could have options in our hot summers.  They can go into their nest box, or lounge on the plywood, or go under the plywood where the tarp doesn't reach so it's shady but has better airflow. 
 This is Benny, our gone wild Lionhead who lost most of his lion head this winter.  We got lucky and caught him while he was eating so he's in a cage inside the rabbit tractor as I write this, being bait to lure Joon in too.
 1" square hardware cloth is wired in with rabbit clips 3' high around the entire tractor, and to the top at the end where the nest box is.   We made sure it was very very secure so no predators can pop through the wire.  We really don't have predator problems here, but if we ever do the rabbits will be safe!

We also laid down 2x4 wire on the bottom to discourage digging.  Hopefully we don't also discourage nibbling but the spaces are large enough I think it will be OK.
 When it was all put together, it turned out to be about 150 lbs.  I wouldn't have thought 150 would be too much to drag but it doesn't want to move.  I'm pretty bummed because I thought it would turn out better that way.  We're going today to see about getting some wheels at the hardware shop.  I'll update with how that turns out.

All in all, I like the design but next time I want to try with PVC pipe and chicken wire.  This thing is too heavy!

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