I was recently blessed with the opportunity to design for a couple wanting to raise rabbits for meat. They had just acquired the property and were building their homestead. The idea was a great opportunity to supplement a homestead with solutions for their lifestyle design.
A BRIEF LIST OF DESIGN WANTS
- They wanted about 15 chickens for eggs
- chickens need access to process compost
- get rabbits on elevated cages and allow chickens to process the ground and poop beneath
- thermal curtains to allow option to enclose during rare bad winters
- options to build fence with t-posts as temporary and as wood for long term
- rainwater harvesting
The finished design features the following considerations:
The rabbit cages were already being built by a local custom cage maker. We worked with them and custom sized the structure to fit with how the cages would be mounted, raised and maintained. The cage design was by permaculture consultant extra-ordinaire Nick Ferguson and built by Steve Larkin (resource below)
The owners wanted the ability to raise the rabbit cages from the ground. The cages could be lifted high up and close to the ceiling-here we added panels around the structure to act as wind breaks to protect the rabbits from the local breeze which felt like they could be harsher in the winter.
Having the rabbit cages raised also allowed the ground to be accessible to the chickens for processing. The chickens would have free access to the chicken run and to the rabbit areas – thus increasing their nutrients they can put into egg production.
CHICKEN COOP AND RUN
chicken coop ordered from Amazon by owner – the coop’s design dictated where we could locate it and lay it out. My goal was to be strategic with it so the owner could be efficient in their daily routines. The nesting boxes were close to the front entry. The door to enter the coop for maintenance was oriented adjacent to the composting pile area for efficiency.
EFFICIENCY OF MATERIALS AND FUNCTIONAL AESTHETIC
The layout and spacing of the structure provided for easy maintenance and repairs. Minimal materials were used, to provide efficiency and a functional aesthetic. These are both foundational themes I strive to include in my work (more on that here)
RAIN WATER HARVESTING
There was a water tank planned and we designed the roof to work with the size the owner had selected, so that gutters would be plumbed at the right height
LOGISTICS AND HEADACHES
The plan was to bid out the project in different phases with an option to upgrade the fence. We packaged the plans to do just that, with illustrations to show how the different options worked when combined together (basic and upgraded).
The materials are pretty efficient, and should all fit into one Home Depot delivery truck for easier logistics.
I hope you find this info useful. Additional resources are available below:
Resources and referral links:
Permaculture consultant for property: Nick Ferguson
Rabbit cages: Steve Larkin
Chicken coop from Amazon used by the owner: