Monday, June 24, 2013

Rabbit Tractor

With some help from the wife and the oldest daughter, I was able to get the Rabbit Tractor project completed this weekend.

If you have been reading MDR for a while then you know every project I do starts in my head then a while later gets onto paper. From there it gets redesigned several times before any materials are acquired. Sometimes it will sit in my thoughts for almost a year and then once I figure out all the details, I start it.
The Rabbit Tractor project was no different. This started as a thought several months ago and was redesigned at least twenty times. Material lists were made and even a budget line item was created to fund this project.

Finally, here it is and it's nothing like I had planned, let me explain.

The idea for this is the same concept as a Chicken Tractor by moving it around providing the rabbits with continued pasture and at the same time fertilizing. The cage will have to be moved every couple of days to insure fresh grass. This initial design was going to be made out of wood and was going to be too heavy to move with the lawn mower, so I designed a wheel lift system to help it along.
Here's where it all changed. I told the wife I was ready to pull the trigger on this and Saturday morning we went and bought some meat rabbits. After that, I was going to the store to buy the material to make the movable cage (rabbit tractor).
That's when the wife decided to ask me, "Why don't you use the kennel panels?" I just smiled, bless her heart, she tries.   
My design was set and I was really wanting to build this huge heavy monstrosity I have spent so much time designing. It was going to be the state of the art in rabbit hutches with automatic this and easy to handle that.
I decided to entertain the thought of using the kennel panels because number one, we already had them. So with help from the wife and the oldest daughter we went to the barn and drug them all out, laid them on the ground and started brain storming.

This is what we came up with, a six sided rabbit cage on wheels. There's nothing fancy here but, then again I think it will work out better. I can at least walk in this one compared to the other design where I was going to have to crawl.
After we put two of the rabbits in there as a "Just in case they get out" trial run we saw that they loved it. They were still in there this morning so I think this may actually work.
Total cost for the first design was $400.00
Total cost for this design was $58.00

 Here is a picture of the watering system I made so I would not have to fill up so many little bottles everyday. I am hoping the tarp I have for shade will keep the water cool enough.

This pen will be able to hold eight does. When they are ready I will bring them to the buck. When they are a week from having babies I will put them in another pen until the babies are ready to be taken off and then they go back out to the colony. I have not figured out what I am going to do with all the babies yet. I hope to sell or eat them before I have to house them for too long.
I never really had to worry about it with show rabbits, they all sold quick enough.

We ended up driving for almost an hour and a half to find these rabbits. There is none around here so I am hoping this low feed cost way of raising them will pay off and I can establish a small market up my way.

Other than that, we had a full weekend. I made the neatest little thing to use at outdoor parties. I will show that tomorrow. Plus, the oldest girl needed some furniture for her house when she goes back to college in August so she raided the barn and refurbished, redesigned and reused some old stuff just taking up space. You will not believe how good this stuff looks. I will show those this week as well.

Until then, have a good one,


  1. Sometimes it pays to listen to what the wifey says.

  2. buddy - that rabbit tractor looks awesome - you and Mrs. MDR did a great job! and if you end up with too many rabbits - make some stew for me and send it up - i loooove rabbit stew. from the sounds of things you might be able to corner a niche market on rabbit - good luck! and i am looking forward to updates on all of the other projects!

    your friend,

    1. Thanks Kymber.
      I don't know how that will ship, but we will give it a shot.
      If I can make a little something on them then there will be a dozen others start selling and then cut my price. It happens with everything. If I sold dog crap someone else would have bigger and better dog crap and sell it cheaper. I hate to be negative about it but that is what happens.

  3. MDR,

    I love your tractor for the rabbits. It looks amazing, and you saved all kinds of money using the dog run panels you already had. I'm thinking of ideas for a chicken tractor. Hubby and I want to get a few chickens and were thinking of using some of the area we have for our garden.

    1. Thanks Sandy.
      I didn't want to cut any so we made it this size to keep all the panels in tack.
      Good luck on your chicken tractor. There are a lot of designs out there.

  4. Looks great, MDR! I think it would work for chickens too ...not chicks because they would just walk through the chainlink ...and they would need to be old enough not to look like a snack to a chicken snake. But I love the design!

    : )

    1. Oh my goodness, do you mean to tell me you can comment now?
      So glad to see it finally working.

      Thanks for stopping by HB

  5. Only occasionally, MDR ...something about holding my tongue right and all the stars being aligned. When I can, I do. When I can't, woe unto him whose email I happen to have!! :)

    1. Ha, I love your emails. It is always good to hear from you.

  6. Could you explain your bucket system a little more? I have read Joel Salatin also uses a bucket and a "drip drinker" and bucket, but I have no idea what that means. Is it a poultry nipple you have attached to the end? Thanks!

    1. Victoria, no it's just a regular rabbit water screwed onto a pvc fitting. It works the same as if on a bottle. The one thing I have found is that it leaks a little because of the added pressure from the bucket being high.
      The drip system you are talking about is almost like a chicken nipple but a little larger and works the same. I don't like them because of the water flow is not as great as the regular one.