Rabbits need but little exercise when mature, the young do require it, and ideal conditions are found in rabbit runs if they are not too crowded.
These may be of almost any length, one approximately 4×20 feet being sufficient to accommodate eight or ten young rabbits until they are from four to five months old.
These runs should be made of one-inch wire mesh and have a top of the same material to keep out cats and other enemies. This top may be hinged to allow easy access on the part of the keeper.
If the ends of the runs are also hinged, forming doors, cleaning will be greatly facilitated.
Should the runs be outside, the bottom must also be of wire mesh covered with from four to six inches of soil. This prevents the animals from digging out.
The soil should be changed frequently, otherwise it may become impregnated with coccidiosis germs.
Outside runs should have an auxiliary wire fence, about three or four feet high to keep dogs and other would-be intruders at a distance from the animals.
Or these runs may be inside, and a board floor that can be cleaned frequently is better than one of,soil. There should be side boards twelve or fourteen inches high placed at the bottom of sides and ends to ward off draughts. This suggestion holds for both inside and outside runs.
We believe that sawdust, which is a good absorbent, makes the best litter for the Ixrttom of the hutch or indoor run. If sawdust is not obtainable, use straw. Straw over sawdust is excellent. Nest boxes should be kept filled with clean straw. Every effort must be made to keep the hutch or run clean and dry.
Three hutches like the one described alxwe, in a city backyard or in the country, if occupied by good breeders, are of sufficient capacity to keep a moderate sized family supplied with fresh meat a large part of the year.
The principal feature in some sanitary hutches is found in the fact that there are two bottoms, the upper being made of slats placed just far enough apart to allow droppings to fall through. The lower floor is sloping, insuring the draining away of the urine, and means are afforded for thoroughly cleaning this lower floor.
Our experience has demonstrated that great care must be used to see that the spaces between slats be not too wide, for if they are, young rabbits may get a foot and part of a leg below the floor and so firmly fastened thatthe frightened animal will break or dislocate its limb in its struggles to free itself.
Each hutch should be provided with a hay rack, either made of wood (which mischievous rabbits are apt to gnaw) or wire so constructed as not to allow young rabbits to climb into it. This rack should be placed on a side of the hutch at such a height that young rabbits as well as their mother can reach its contents.