Setting Up a Shipping Container Survival Home? Your home is the hub of your family life. It’s where you can gain a respite from anything that’s going on. You can relax, spend time with the people you love, and be secure from harm, and you don’t have to pay a lot of money to have this safe haven.
When you look around you at the homes already in existence, you can see many owners’ problems. Not only that, but the homes manufactured aren’t always made with materials that can stand the test of time – let alone be sturdy enough to act as a survival home.
Setting Up a Shipping Container Survival Home
Knowing this, many people decided to look for other housing options for their living needs. There’s a simple, affordable option that can protect you and your loved ones quite well – shipping containers!
What Is a Shipping Container Survival Home?
People wanting to make sure they have a sturdy home in the event of a survival situation aren’t the only ones buying and setting up container homes. Because they’re easier to put in place and can be turned into functional and beautiful homes, builders, architects on the cutting edge of design, and some of the grid home buyers are searching for these containers to use.
Shipping containers are in demand for use as survival homes, and it has to do with their reputation as almost indestructible. These homes are made out of square or rectangle shipping containers.
Since the containers are made of steel, they’re incredibly durable. They’re strong enough to handle the rigors of long-distance shipping – even from country to country.
They can handle travel by cargo ship, by truck over the road and by train. They can be lifted by forklift high into the air and settled on land or moved from one point to another without it affecting the structure of the container.
You can’t do that with a regular home because they’re not made to withstand the kind of treatment a container can take. These containers are also built to withstand long periods of storage when they’re not being used for any purpose.
They can be used repeatedly regardless of whatever was in them before purchase. You can also use these containers in any climate because they’re resistant to what would typically wear out regular home building materials that are built in harsher areas.
Like other survival homes, these are meant to be used as either short term bug out retreats or long term survival homes. They can be used as bug-out shelters or made into a permanent home that can withstand the fallout from a collapsing economy or society.
It all depends on how the container is set up. One can leave the containers in their natural state – which means they look like a shipping container to anyone looking at them – or you can they can be retrofitted to look like a modern home.
How this turns out depends on the purpose of the container and the amount of money and effort the buyer is willing to put into outfitting the container for use. These survival homes can offer a lot of amenities quickly and cheaply.
While you might think of these containers as merely a means to survive, many of these can be turned into homes that are more beautiful than the high-end homes you see available on the market today.
Anything that goes in a typical home can be used in a container survival home, and in fact, most of the container homes turn out to be far more eye-catching and comfortable.
Why Do Preppers Love This Option?
There are several good reasons that preppers choose shipping container survival homes as an option. These containers are plentiful. You can find them everywhere.
They’re in every state, every country, and you’ll find hundreds of businesses that have shipping containers available for purchase. These kinds of homes are a better choice for the environment because repurposed steel containers are kept out of the landfills or aren’t left empty and abandoned in some vacant lot for years.
Besides being good for the environment, purchasing a shipping container is a good financial move as far as housing options go. These containers are very inexpensive to own.
You can purchase ten containers for far less money than you would have to shell out to give a down payment on a traditional home. And with a shipping container, you’re not dealing with a mortgage payment for the next thirty years.
These containers are built to last, and they have reinforced ends on either side. That reinforcement gives them the ability to be stacked and fitted together on top of each other with good support.
That means you can use them to build a two-story or taller home if you choose to. The support of a steel container is better than what’s offered in a traditional home.
There are plenty of bonuses from using a container home because some of the common issues that come along with living in a wood home, you don’t have to deal with in a container home.
If you get water damage in a home that uses wood materials, you end up with mold issues, including the hazardous black mold. But with steel containers, mold is never a problem because mold can’t grow in or on steel.
Another plus is that, unlike a regular home, these containers are fire proof. Steel doesn’t catch fire as wood homes do. So your family is safer living in a steel home instead of a bug out cabin.
Pests can be a big problem for people who have their homes built from materials that are currently available. Termites can work to destroy a home and are often not seen until the damage is substantial.
In some cases, a home isn’t livable after termites have caused extensive structural damage. But those who live in a container home don’t have to worry about termites and their destructive habits because termites can’t destroy steel.
Preppers also prefer shipping containers as survival homes because you can easily hide them from view with foliage, trees, and other natural coverings. This helps protect your family against would-be thieves and people who might want to harm your family or your property or steal your supplies.
Designing a Shipping Container Home for Your Needs
All shipping container survival homes won’t look alike despite their outward appearance. These homes can be designed around whatever needs you plan to have them serve.
Some people opt for very simple and basic furnishings. They make only enough changes in the container to make it livable. Others prefer to make more drastic changes and outfit the container so that it looks more like a luxury home than a container.
Whatever your needs, you can create a container to match it. Since these come in small or large sizes, you can choose the size according to how big of a space you want to live in.
For some people, a small space works well. They’re able to live very simply and keep everything running smoothly in a smaller area. However, others either need a larger space due to their family size or prefer to have a roomier place to live.
The sizes of these containers can range from six feet to 45 feet. The smaller the container, the less width you’ll have. For example, a twenty-foot container would give you just over 2,400 width space.
All containers can be left as an open floor plan, or the sections can be divided into rooms according to need or privacy. You can take a forty-five-foot container and have enough space to make two or three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom, and each room would be spacious.
The containers are low maintenance shelters, which leaves buyers with more freedom to make changes. The containers can be wired for electricity, or they can be fitted with solar panels.
You can leave the walls in their natural state, or they can be covered by drywall or paneling. The ceilings can be changed, You can add skylights, and so can windows and doors.
You can even have sliding glass doors installed. You do have to use materials that are specifically designed to fit with steel containers – since fitting them with doors and windows have different requirements than a wood home does.
Any amenity that you have in a home, you can have with a steel container. That includes a fireplace if you want one. Heating, cooling, and plumbing can be done just like you’d see in a typical home.
You can also use other means such as passive cooling and composting toilets if you want to stick with environment-friendly options. The good news is that a shipping container is so easily retrofitted that you can make most of the changes you want to do yourself without hiring help.
How to Acquire the Shipping Containers You Need
You can’t run up to your local home improvement store and order however many shipping containers you’d like to have. Though they are plentiful, you have to know where you can get them.
You can expect to pay a couple of thousand dollars or less for the container you want to buy. Don’t spend more than that because the going rate for containers is between $1,000 and $2,000 – depending on the size of the container you want.
But another thing that can affect the cost is whether or not the container is refurbished or insulated. Some companies will charge more for high cube containers – but not all of them will.
Buying the biggest container at a reasonable price will allow you to save money to customize your purchase. Make sure that you look for places that sell aftermarket containers.
This means the container is no longer used for the company’s shipping purposes and has been retired. Many of these containers will have been in use for about ten years.
Shipping companies have limits and regulations to follow for pulling containers out of service, but these containers are still viable home options for savvy buyers.
Some containers are offered at great prices at auction sites, both local and online. You can bid on the containers as they come available. Some trucking companies have containers they will sell.
Pay attention to certain code words that are used. For example, “one-trip” means the container was used to make a trip to another country. Sometimes, these containers are not reused for other purposes, but sometimes they are.
You also want to make sure you look for words like “cargo worthy.” It’s in your best interest to closely inspect the container before buying or have it inspected. While some dents are typical in shipping containers, large dents indicate that the container experienced damage that may impact its support capability if the dents are in the corners where the support structures are.
You can find the containers at local container companies in your area by simply searching online. Put in the phrase “shipping container sales” or “buy a shipping container.”
If you want to be specific for your area, then type in your city and state. But what you want to look for are companies that offer delivery and set up. If you don’t go with a company that also offers delivery and set up for an additional portion of the selling price, then what ends up happening is you’ll have to pay extra to a third party.
This is because you’ll have to have the forklift on your property that’s strong enough to handle retrieving the container from the bed of the truck and can situate the container where you want it to go.
You have to have the area already prepared before you have the container delivered. The site should be flat and stable to support the container. If you plan to bury it underground, you need to have the hole dug out and prepped beforehand.
What You Can and Can’t Do With a Shipping Container Home
Using a shipping container home is a wise investment, but there are some limitations to using these homes. Some buyers think that a container home means that nothing can destroy the house or cause it to be damaged, and this isn’t true.
But burying a container home is unsafe because it can cause the container walls and the roof to cave inward. This happens because the container is built to withstand a certain amount of pressure.
When you bury a container, the pressure limits are exceeded by the force of the earth around it and the force on top of it. If you feel you have to bury the shipping container, you must take steps to keep the collapse from happening.
This includes steps like building concrete barriers on the container’s sides to keep the pressure off the walls. The weight must be supported on the roof as well.
You’d have to retrofit the container so that the weight of the soil was kept off the roof of it. You can use a shipping container home to grow a garden right on the roof of it.
This serves a few different purposes. One, it helps to make the container blend in with its surroundings. Two, having a garden on top can be a source of sustainable food if you choose to have that over a flower garden, and three, covering the container from the impact of direct sunlight can help create a way to keep the container cooler in the summer.
It can also keep the container warmer in the winter. Some people use the top of their container to create a small covered patio area where they can entertain and barbecue with friends or sit on chairs to enjoy the outdoors. Others simply plant grass seed to make it look like the container is part of the area.
Water is one of our greatest natural resources. However, when it rains, most of the water ends up in storm drain systems where it has to be treated to be recycled. But you can actually create systems to store and use rainwater where it will do the most good. You can also save money and natural resources by following a rainwater usage plan for your household.
A Simple Living Guide to Rainwater Usage
The Benefits of Storing and Using Rainwater
There are many reasons to store and use rainwater. It benefits both you and the environment around you. People have stored rainwater for thousands of years, so this isn’t a new idea.
It’s just become more popular in recent years as we’ve learned what a great benefit it can be. Understanding more about these benefits can help you make the decision to begin using rainwater.
First, storing rainwater actually reduces flooding and erosion that can be caused by the downspout of your gutters. This can help keep your yard looking great and prevent water from ending up in storage drain systems.
Using rainwater saves money
When you store and use rainwater, you can also save money. Normally, you have to pay for the water that you use to irrigate your lawn or to wash your car. But with stored rainwater, this becomes a free resource for you.
Rainwater is better for your plants
When you use rainwater to water your plants, you’ll actually provide them with better nutrition. Rainwater is naturally full of minerals that are good for plants. It’s also free from pollutants and chemicals found in tap water.
If you live in an area that can be prone to drought, storing rainwater can provide you with a water source during those dry times. City water sometimes becomes restricted during drought conditions, but your rain barrels will be accessible to you.
When it comes to the environment, freshwater is an extremely limited resource. Only 3% of the world’s water supply is able to be used for drinking and other home use.
Because water consumption is high in industrialized countries, natural sources of water are beginning to dry up. Harvesting rainwater captures a renewable resource and prevents water from entering storm drainage systems where it can become contaminated.
Creating a Storage System for Rainwater
Collecting rainwater has become a popular way to conserve water in recent years. That’s good news – because it’s made it possible to find many different systems for storing it.
One of the most popular and least expensive methods is using a rain barrel. Rain barrels are large containers that can collect rainwater from the gutters of your home. They can be made from materials such as large trash cans or buckets.
You can also purchase commercial kits that you can put together easily designed specifically for storing rainwater. Once you have a system in place, your bucket will begin to fill each time it rains.
With a rain barrel it’s important to make sure you take some safety precautions. For example, the top needs to have a child and pet proof top that doesn’t allow small ones to fall in.
You also need to have a filter at the top that prevents debris from going into the barrel along with the rainwater. If you find that this system works well for you, you can even add multiple barrels so that you don’t have any overflow during a rainy season.
Rain barrels typically have a tap at the bottom for you to remove the water. Some of them allow you to attach a standard garden hose so that you can use the water directly in your yard.
Always make sure that any material you use for your rain barrel is food grade. This means it won’t leach harmful chemicals into the water and the water will be safe to use.
While rain barrels are the least expensive and simplest to install, there are more sophisticated systems if you’d like to have more water storage and can afford the extra cost.
A rain barrel typically holds around 50 gallons of water for use. You can have several barrels to hold more water. But if you’re interested in storing much more, you’ll need a different type of collection system. One choice is called the Rainwater Pillow.
The Rainwater Pillow is a system that holds up to 1,000 or more gallons of water using a fabric container. The amount it holds will depend on the size that you purchase. For the typical homeowner, the original 1,000 gallon size is sufficient.
This system is much more expensive, costing thousands of dollars, but if you use a lot of water in your household for gardening or even farming this could be a valuable investment for you.
You can also invest in an underground system that catches rainwater and allows you to pump it out for use. You can purchase a system that will provide water for your lawn and garden, but can also be used for toilets.
This system is quite a bit more expensive than other options because of its size, underground placement, and materials. However, it can pay for itself in the long run by replacing your dependence on other water supplies.
In order to have this type of system, you’ll want to look in your local area for a company that specializes in it. The cost will depend on your area and your specific needs.
First Flush Systems for the Cleanest Water
One concern people have when using a rainwater barrel system from the rooftop is that it can become polluted by materials on your rooftop as the rainwater heads to the gutters.
This is a real concern as debris can contaminate the water in your barrel. A great solution for this is to use a first flush system. The first rain you’ve had is usually the most polluted as it washes away debris.
With a first flush system, the first five or even 10 gallons of water are stored and set aside from the rest of your rain barrel storage. This is the water most likely to end up with sediments or chemicals.
You can simply use that water for your lawn and use the rest of the water for your purposes such as a vegetable garden or household cleaning.
Rain Barrel Maintenance
Once you have a rain barrel, there are things you’ll need to do to keep it in good condition so that you can make use of the water you’ve stored. These simple steps will help you get the most of your system.
First, you should empty your barrel at least once a month. This keeps water from accumulating algae and developing an unpleasant smell. If you want to be able to allow water to sit longer, you can add a capful of chlorine bleach to the barrel.
This will stop the development of algae and at that small concentration it won’t harm your plants. However, if you use more than that, it could become harmful. You also want to avoid using an acid such as vinegar because it will harm your plants.
When it comes to your gutters, you’ll want to make sure that you clean them regularly or install a gutter screen that prevents debris from getting in. This will cut down on the debris and sediment that gets into your rain barrel.
If you notice that your barrel has developed a leak, you don’t have to throw it out. In many cases you can use aquarium caulk made from silicone to seal up the hole. This is available in hardware stores and is inexpensive.
Another concern for rainwater barrels is the development of mosquito populations. Draining the barrel regularly is one way to prevent this. But you can also add a larvae tablet to your barrel that can prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Adding this type of tablet won’t harm your plants and will prevent problems such as West Nile virus that can be spread through contact with mosquitoes.
You also need to be careful if you live in an area with very cold winters. Freezing and thawing over and over again can weaken your rain barrel. Before it gets that cold, drain your barrel and disconnect it to prevent problems.
When you’re storing your rain barrel for extended periods of time, it’s best to store them upside down. This keeps them free from debris.
How Much Can You Collect?
You may think it will take a long time to collect water in your rain barrel. But you can actually collect thousands of gallons a year. You can figure out approximately how much water you’ll collect for every inch of rainfall.
First, you’ll need to estimate the square footage of your roof. Then divide that number in half. The number you end up with is the number of gallons of water you can collect from one inch of rainfall.
The average house can collect over 400 gallons of water with a half inch of rain. As you can imagine, that adds up fast during rainy seasons. This is a great reason to have multiple barrels or larger systems.
Uses for Stored Rainwater
Rainwater isn’t usually used for drinking (although it can be), but it can be used for many other purposes. It may surprise you to see how many different ways you can use stored rainwater.
The most obvious use for rainwater that you collect is watering your lawn and garden. It can be costly to water your yard during dry and hot summer months. Having a rainwater storage system allows you to have access to free water.
It will also allow you to continue watering even if your water service has imposed restrictions due to drought. One of the easiest ways to use your barrel is to connect it to a soaker hose. You can use it to keep your lawn irrigated and you can even use it to protect the foundation of your home.
While this isn’t available everywhere, many cities allow residents to use rainwater to flush toilets. You can even set up a rainwater system where the water is automatically brought into your home for toilet flushing.
This can actually save you quite a bit of money on your water bill, especially if you have a large family or many toilets that are used frequently.
If you own an automobile, you can use rainwater to fill your radiator instead of the tap water you might normally use. In most cases this will need to be mixed with antifreeze.
You can also use rainwater to wash your car instead of hooking up the hose to the city water system. This will save money and conserve the water you would normally use.
When you need to clean your home, you can use rainwater instead of tap water to mop. Simply fill a bucket and bring it inside to clean your floors and other surfaces.
You can use rainwater for washing dishes and even for bathing if you have a filter system to make it better for use inside. It can also be used for laundry. Laundry actually makes up a large percentage of water use in households, so this can save a lot of money.
Having water stored in rain barrels can help you if you have a natural disaster or other emergency that keeps you from being able to use your typical water supply. You’ll want to make sure that you have filtration and purification tools before using it.
For example, you may need to boil the water before drinking or add water purification tablets in order to drink the water.
You can even share the water you’ve collected with neighbors if you have more than you can use. This can serve as a great example and encourage others to install their own rain barrel systems.
You may not think that your small system of rain barrels makes a big difference, but it can make a difference for your household and you can create a ripple effect in your community.
With the way energy costs are soaring nationwide, more people want to find a cheaper energy source. You may be wondering, “What is a solar panel, and how it can help me cut electricity costs for my home?”
What Is a Solar Panel?
These panels are made from a type of silicon – and photovoltaic cells within the panel are what work to create the energy consumers can use. The cells in the panels are how the sunlight is collected and converted. Solar power occurs either through using the photovoltaic method or through a solar thermal set up.
You might think that you’ve never seen solar power in effect, but you may have and not realized it. Solar energy has been used in various devices for years. One such device is a solar calculator.
Solar calculators can run based solely on the power they get from the sun. The best part about solar energy is that it’s the energy that’s easily replenished and because it’s a natural resource. By using solar power, you’re saving financially and helping the environment.
It used to be that only businesses or the very wealthy used this type of energy because only they could afford it, but you don’t have to be a Bill Gates to have a home powered in part or wholly by solar panels.
It’s become a very cost-effective way to produce the electricity that you need. You can apply solar power benefits to your home and produce enough energy to say goodbye permanently to those staggering electric bills.
You can order solar kits yourself online and set them up to start producing the needed watts for your home today. You’ll want to get enough solar panels to take care of the electrical demands required for your home, so the amount that you purchase will be determined by the amount of wattage you use. You can figure that out by looking at your current electric bill, but ensure that you also check your seasonal electricity uses since it’s always more in winter and summer.
The panels that you buy can be used for recreational vehicles (like RVs), too. The sturdy panels can withstand some pretty intense weather – including hailstones. You can also use solar panels as an emergency supply of energy if you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to redo your entire home with solar energy.
When you decide to purchase these panels, you can find them separately or with a kit that includes everything you need for charging. A solar panel can save you money, provide your home (or vacation home) with energy, and help lessen your demand for fossil fuels. That’s innovative savings!
Why You Can Benefit from Solar Panel Cells
The cells in solar panels convert the light from the sun into energy that you can use as electricity. You can use this electricity to set yourself free from the rising costs of electricity served up through power companies, and you can use it to create a greener home.
Not only is a greener home good for the earth’s resources, but it’s a healthier way for you to live as well. You might think that solar panel cells are new and haven’t been around that long.
These cells first put in appearance back in the late 1800s. Of course, there was a lot that scientists didn’t understand about the power and convenience that could be harvested by using these cells, but over time, this way of producing energy has gained in understanding and popularity.
At their simplest definition, these cells are semiconductors. The semiconductors get the light from the sun and then, through electrons, produce the power you can use. Think of the process as a current – much like you’d find the current flowing through a circuit in your home.
If you touch the current, you’ll get an electrical shock because you’ve come in contact with the voltage – the amount of electricity running through that contact point. To understand how these cells work to create energy, let’s simply explain it.
The battery in your car has both a positive and a negative charge. Solar panels work in the same manner. The cells in the panels, acting as semiconductors, create a positive and a negative.
Electrons in the semiconductor are released when the sunlight hits it (the contact point). This current is what’s used to create the electricity. If you’ve ever looked at a solar panel, the cell is inside the square module, which is inside the panel.
Several modules make up the panel. The bigger the panel, the more modules, the more cells you’ll have. What these cells can be used to power is amazing. Not only homes – but boats, RVs, and more.
Suppose you have a vacation home and it’s a good distance from civilization, and you don’t want your vacation to resemble life-like Little House on the Prairie. In that case, the solar panels’ cells can produce enough electricity to keep you in comfort.
Now, the good news for anyone who wants to switch to using solar energy is that you significantly reduce or eliminate your electric costs. But, in many cases, because you’re going green, you might qualify for a tax break.
The federal government offers a tax break to people who use solar energy. In many cases, the state also offers tax benefits for those who use solar energy. You’ll have to check with the state you reside in to see if you qualify. Be wise about saving and harness the power offered to you by simple solar panel cells.
What Solar Power Energy Can Do for You
Aren’t you ready to finally set yourself free from the grid? Solar power energy can handle most, if not all, of the same electric wattage tasks that regular electric energy does. When you’re ready to take a shower or a soothing bath and want warm water to relax in, the power of solar energy is the source that can make sure your hot water tank is ready to give you the temperature you want with your water.
Are you sick and tired of dreading every single winter season because you know the heating bills are going to be astronomical? They don’t have to be if you’ll tap into the abundance of electricity available through solar panels.
Even if you don’t want to go completely solar, you can have a considerable reduction in expenses and watch your savings grow to the point that you’ll have extra money to do some of the fun extras that families enjoy.
Take a vacation, buy the boat you’ve always wanted – by saving on energy costs, you free up a lot more of your money. You can set your home up yourself to start saving, or you can hire an expert to get the job done for you. And even with the labor cost of installing the panels, this will still be a project (unlike some home projects) that will pay for itself.
By having and using solar energy, you won’t have to worry about being left in the dark again. If you live in a state that often has power blackouts, you can still be up and running.
You’ll be able to have lights (a dark home can cause safety issues for families), and you’ll be able to keep your food from spoiling. Generators use gas (which depletes the earth’s natural resources), and they’re loud – but not only that, they aren’t always ready to work the moment you need them to. You want usable power that’s ready when you need it to be – power you can depend on.
When you buy your solar panels, you can spend a little, or you can spend a lot. The type of panel you purchase will determine how much energy you can harvest from the sun. You’ll see labels like amorphous, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline used in conjunction with solar panels. These are referring to the different kinds of silicone within the panel, and the type you get does matter as far as energy production is concerned.
Solar panel energy comes from high-efficiency panels and can be purchased in single or multiple panels. You’ll need a charger for the panels, and you can either buy those separately or in a kit.
A small panel installed on the top of an RV can offer enough continuous use to last consumers for over 20 years. The energy can be stored and ready to provide power when you need it.
What to Look for in a Home Solar Panel
It seems as if everything is costing more today than ever before. Everywhere you turn, your pocket is getting tapped for you to fork over more money. Are you like millions of other Americans that are sick and tired of inflation in your energy costs?
If so, you might want to consider switching to solar energy created by using solar panels. You’ll find that not every home solar panel is made alike. They’ll differ in size, cost, and energy efficiency.
Some will only last approximately seven years, while others can last for 25. The long-lasting panels are not always the ones that cost the most. The best panels to buy are the ones that offer you the highest return electricity rate.
For example, panels that use amorphous silicone take longer to stabilize the amount of energy it produces, and it doesn’t make as much energy as other silicones. Many of these panels give approximately 5% in return electricity rate.
It takes more panels using amorphous than it does with other silicones, which means more cost to you. While these types of panels might be great for a smaller project, you wouldn’t want to use this type for your home. Plus, they’re just not a good bet if you live in a state where cold weather is an issue.
Amorphous silicone is one of three kinds that you can use. The next kind is polycrystalline. This is one of the most common panels used today. They’re very cost-effective and have a long-lasting history of dependability.
The most popular panel is the monocrystalline silicone. These panels are perfect for colder climates; they’re long-lasting and have a high return electricity rate. The return electricity rate is one of the essential factors that you want to consider when purchasing panels.
The type of solar panels you set up for your home will make a difference because some of the panels are specifically used with grid-tied systems. This means that your home is one that’s tied in with a utility company.
Most of the time, you can find systems that are tied to grids that end up costing you less and don’t require a rocket scientist to use. Not only that but if you end up creating more electricity than you need, your electric company can end up paying you because you’re generating electricity that can end up back in the grid.
There are a few things you’ll want to think about when you want to install a home solar panel. You’ll need to consider how many rainy days your area has versus good sunny days. Areas that have a more than average amount of rainfall aren’t good candidates for solar energy systems.
Solar Panel Cost – It’s Less Than You Think
There are a lot of questions about the bottom line of solar panel cost. Most people want to know the price of the panels when this isn’t an accurate way to figure out what it will cost you to set your home up on a solar panel system.
Before you do anything, look for your state’s energy office. Each state has one – some might be called the conservation office. When you find it, search their site for renewable energy links.
Use those links to see if your state offers any rebates or credits for outfitting your home with solar panels. If so, you can figure in that financial break as part of the savings for going green.
When adding up the costs involved with having a more economical way of getting electricity, don’t look so hard at the forest that you miss the trees. Because it’s what you overlook that can be where the real savings lie.
Let’s say you’ve decided to use a grid-tied system, and it’s going to cost you $1,000 to set up a small solar system. On your state’s energy site, you see that they’re offering a $300 rebate and a tax credit worth $75.
Your system now only costs $625 for you to buy. You look at your electric bills and see that your costs vary between $250 and $325, depending on the season. Once you have your system set up, your account drops to an average of $75.
You’re saving between $175 to $250 every month. Within a few months, that $1,000 system is paid for just by rebates and energy savings alone. Many utility companies also offer savings for people who want to set up their home with solar panels. When it’s time to file your taxes, you might discover that you get more savings from the federal government, too.
But before you decide which panels you want to buy, figure out how many kilowatt-hours of electricity your home uses and buy your system based on whether you want solar energy to cover all of your home electric output or only some of it.
Take into consideration too the location of your home and the number of daylight hours you get. Some solar systems can be expensive, but keep in mind that when you buy your system, the cost of living will continue to rise.
Electricity rates will rise, but with a solar system in place that takes care of all of your electric demands, you won’t have to be concerned with those increasing costs. What you pay for upfront will last you many years.
The solar panel cost you pay for your home gives you back dividends in energy resource savings, convenience (having power when a storm knocks out power to your neighbors), and financial savings. So the real question isn’t, “What does it cost me to get a solar panel system for my home?” but rather, “What will it cost me if I don’t?”
The two most important words for any bunny are safety and comfort – and a premium rabbit hutch provides both. Hutches have come a long way since the early 1900s when they were made of a lot of chicken wire and whatever old boards could be scrounged up.
What’s the big deal about a premium rabbit hutch over what hutches used to be from hundreds of years ago? When you buy a premium hutch, you get a bonus that makes a difference to the rabbit and to you as well. Your rabbit will be able to have a great place to eat and sleep while you’ll get the peace of mind in knowing that you’ve provided the very best home for your pet.
A Premium Rabbit Hutch Delivers Safety and Comfort with Aesthetic Appeal
Some hutches tout safety appeal but aren’t that safe at all. They’re poorly constructed, and at the first test of bad weather or someone pushing on them, they collapse. Or they don’t keep the bunny safely inside the hutch, and you come home to a trail of droppings and chewed up legs on the furniture.
Still, other hutches claim to be safe and usually do stand up to that claim. But when they arrive, and you put them together, they’re such an eyesore, you feel like you have to keep it covered because it’s so hideous! You might have seen a few of them, and they were so ugly, you wondered what the designer was thinking.
There is a solution. You don’t have to trade looks for safety. A premium rabbit hutch can be both safe and appealing – you don’t have to settle for one over the other. The good news about this hutch is that you can use it outdoor because it’s sturdy and offers protection from outside elements and attackers, but it’s pretty enough to use inside as well. You wouldn’t be embarrassed to have your friends or family see it sitting inside your home.
Some really cute hutches resemble coffee tables. They’re made with top-quality lumber, and if not for the door letting the rabbit in and out, it’s hard to recognize as a rabbit hutch. Then some look like decorative little barns that can keep your bunny happy for as long as he lives.
You can settle for a hutch that won’t meet the lasting requirements you want it to meet. You can settle for a hutch that won’t meet be very attractive either. Or you can let both needs meet in one hutch. A premium rabbit hutch does the job it was designed to do but looks good while doing it.
Is a Wooden Rabbit Hutch Better Than a Rabbit Cage?
You’re about to get a pet rabbit and wondering if a wooden rabbit hutch is a better buy than a rabbit cage. Let’s make some comparisons, and you can see what each one will do for your bunny.
You can find several styles in both kinds of homes for the bunny. You’ll see that they range from the very simple to almost bunny mansions. When the word cage is used in conjunction with bunnies, there’s a tendency to picture a tiny wire cage with a bunny cramped up inside it. But you can buy sprawling two-story pens that even have a detachable run available as a separate accessory.
Cages are made of small wire, and though they are easy to clean, most of them don’t have a bottom to them that’s best for the rabbit. However, a few of them do have flooring. You can find some two-story cages that have solid flooring on the upper half of them.
There are simple cages that come with hard bottoms and are made of metal. Regardless of whether you get a wire-bottomed cage or a metal-bottomed cage, you’d still need to cover it to protect your rabbit’s feet and to give him something comfortable to lie on.
On the plus side, cages are easy to clean, and the bottom can separate from the rest of the cage. They’re easy to take down, fold and transport if you need to travel with your pet or if you’re moving.
A wooden rabbit hutch can offer the same shelter as a rabbit cage. You can have two-story ones with plenty of space, easy access to the bunny, and easy to clean with pull out trays below the hutch.
They’re not as easy to take apart if you plan to take them elsewhere. However, they offer excellent care for the bunny. You can find wooden luxury models that look like little homes, complete with a bunny walkway and raised sleeping quarters over a big run.
Both a cage and a hutch can be situated to open out into a run where your bunny can have space outside. Understand that any hutch or cage can be too small if you keep multiple rabbits in both.
Other than that, a hutch or a cage can offer adequate room to sleep and eat in. It used to be that cages were the most unattractive way to house a rabbit, but with all the models and styles now, it’s not true.
So when you’re figuring out if a wooden rabbit hutch or a rabbit cage is the best choice for your pet, you’ll find that there will be things you’ll appreciate about either one. If you plan to keep your rabbit for the duration, you might want to think about getting a cage for the inside of your house and a hutch for the outside.
How Much Room Does a Rabbit’s Hutch Need to Have?
A rabbit’s hutch should be roomy enough to meet his territorial needs if he’s male and his physical need to move about freely. If your pet is female and you intend for her to have little bunnies in the future, then the hutch’s size should also be able to handle the extra bunnies.
At a minimum, a home for a bunny should be at least 36 inches. Anything with less space than that is just too small to give your pet a comfortable home. The most miserable looking bunnies you’ll ever see are those that are packed into cages that are too small for them.
Though hutches can be made of only wire or other materials, you can find good quality, nice looking hutches made out of a mixture of wire and wood. These style hutches provide a nesting area that gives the rabbit a sense of comfort and security. Plus, they allow room for the rabbit to rise on his rear legs – an action that bunnies like to do to explore their space as well as sniff the air.
The rabbit’s hutch should have two areas—one area for the pet to sleep in and the other for him to move around in. There should be room for the bunny to have a part away from where he eats and sleeps to eliminate waste.
Pet bunnies don’t like to loll around on their waste any more than a human being would enjoy it. Hutches with removable litter trays are more sanitary for the bunny and make daily cleaning go a lot faster.
To have the right kind of room for your pet to stretch and roam in, the hutch should be no less than three times the size of the fully-grown bunny. Don’t measure by a baby rabbit because obviously, he’s not going to stay that size.
You might see a custom-built rabbit’s hutch that stands very tall. While rabbits do like to hop and rear up sometimes on their back legs, most of the space in the hutch should be horizontal and not vertical.
What Kind of Rabbit Hutch Plans Do You Need for Your Pet?
Being handy with woodworking means that you can choose your rabbit hutch plans if you’re a bunny owner. An excellent project for owners and a happy haven for bunnies is the custom-built bunny home.
You’ll be able to pamper your pet and give him a home fit for a furry little king. Building a bunny home shouldn’t take more than a weekend of your time and even less than that if you’ve ever made a similar type of construction.
Even if you’re not great with making things, you can find easy beginner books that walk you through the project step by step with easy to understand instructions. To get an idea of what kind of hutch you’d like to build, you can take a trip to the local pet store or browse around online to see what kind of bunny homes are already available. You can then buy a book that offers the same style, or you can go with a plan plus a few modifications to suit your specific needs.
Not all rabbit hutch plans are elaborate works of art. Some aren’t attractive and seem designed to leave you frustrated when the home turns out to look like a plain square box.
You should be able to preview some of the contents of whatever plan book you find before you buy it. If you are a novice builder, you might want to enlist other small pet owners’ advice to see if there is anything they’d do differently with their hutches. Or if there have ideas for improvements on the plans.
The main purpose of a hutch is to give the bunny a place to eat, sleep, and have a spot where he can go to the bathroom. Regardless of what the plans say about the kind of flooring to put down, you want to be sure that you use a material that can easily be washed and disinfected.
Now, if you know for a fact that the bunny will have plenty of opportunities to roam free of the hutch, and he’ll have ample time outdoors, you don’t have to build the most gigantic hutch out there. You can make do with a smaller one, but don’t build it based on a baby rabbit’s size. Construct it with an adult bunny in mind.
Once you know what type of rabbit hutch plans you’ll be using, go ahead and make a list of the items you have to buy before heading out to the store. Don’t forget to get bedding for the bunny and a litter box made specifically for rabbits.
You’ll also need other supplies such as a food dish and water bottle for him. If you plan to use wood and set the hutch in the house on wooden floors, think about getting a rug to put under the hutch so it won’t scratch the floors. How an Indoor Rabbit Hutch Differs From an Outdoor Rabbit Hutch
The discussion between an indoor rabbit hutch and an outdoor rabbit hutch is often debated among bunny owners. You have to decide on the pros and cons of each type of hutch before you make a decision. But for starters, you can learn about the differences between the two, so you can make an informed choice.
Some pet enthusiasts feel that having any enclosure for bunnies is wrong and that the animals should be allowed to roam freely from room to room. Not only is this dangerous for both you and the rabbit, it’s not how they live in their natural habitat either.
By having free run all over the house, bunnies can chew on electrical cords and cause a fire – not because they’re mischievous but because chewing on things is just what they do. They can hop up things they shouldn’t be on, fall, and get hurt.
They can also eat things they shouldn’t eat and become very ill. By running freely all the time, there’s a good chance you could either trip over the rabbit and hurt yourself or step on him and hurt the bunny.
The bunny needs a hutch so he can have a place to sleep where he feels secure. In the wild, rabbits burrow out a hole in the ground where they can be free from their enemies. They need a place where they can burrow in the hay or other bedding, no matter where the hutch is located.
An indoor hutch is often smaller and more portable than an outdoor rabbit hutch. You’ll have the ability to change it from one room to another if you need to relocate the rabbit. They’re not intended to keep the rabbit caged in for hours upon end. They’re mainly for the bunny to have a safe hideaway and an area for him to relieve himself.
A lot of hutches that are built to set up outside the home are not as portable. They tend to be heavier and take a lot more effort to move them. Most of them are either built with or come with wooden legs attached to keep the hutch off the ground and thus out of reach of predators. Hutches that go outside are made more comprehensive and taller, and some come with a run attached, or you can get one separately.
Some rabbit owners did settle the indoor rabbit hutch versus the outdoor rabbit hutch debate to get one of each. They keep a small hutch inside the home for when they want to keep the bunny in and have a larger one outside for the rabbit to bask in the warm sunshine and get some exercise.
How to Buy the Right Pet Rabbit Hutch
Not everyone likes to build their hutch – they need to buy it. Selecting a rabbit hutch for the pet, you have now or intend to get in the future should be based on several steps. Most experts say to choose a home for the bunny that gives him room enough to hop around without feeling caged in. That would mean choosing housing for the pet between three and four times the adult size of the bunny.
The best option for any rabbit owner is to buy the largest and the best hutch available. Small cages that are barely as big as the bunny don’t allow the pet enough room to move about or get enough exercise. If you’re concerned about your pet getting the exercise he needs, then think about getting a hutch that also has a run with it.
You’ll want to have a place for him that’s adequate to meet his needs regardless of how warm or cool the area is where the bunny will reside. When you are looking to get a hutch, you should consider the lifespan of the pet.
Most rabbits have longevity with an average lifespan of ten years, although some have been known to live as long as fifteen years or more. You’ll want to get a hutch that’s solidly built and can stand up to the rigors of time, especially if you plan to use the hutch outside.
Because rabbits do gnaw, you want to make sure that the type of rabbit hutch you purchase doesn’t contain dangerous materials for the bunny to ingest. Certain types of wood are toxic to bunnies, as are some kinds of sealant that the wood is coated with.
Since rabbits can tend to be messy critters, you’ll want a cage that doesn’t make you dread cleaning up after the pet. Most cages have slide-out bottoms or litter trays that can be removed and easily cleaned and disinfected. Also, know that rabbits tend to kick their droppings out of the cage if it’s not kept clean enough to suit them.
If the bunny home is put outside, make sure it offers enough protection from the elements. Hutches that have wire on the bottom can damage the bunnies’ feet, so if you happen to choose one with a wire floor, you’ll need to cover it to protect the pet. Since most predators are nocturnal, if your bunny is left outside after dark, he could be a target, so you’ll want to ensure that he’s protected from other animals.
When you’re trying to decide which rabbit hutch is the right one, consider how many rabbits you intend to house in the hutch. If you plan to keep a male and female together, since they are fast and hardy breeders, you could end up with more bunnies than you want.
The Best Large Rabbit Hutch You Can Buy
When buying a large rabbit hutch, you want the best for your lovable pet. Some hutches that are manufactured to be big enough to have the space the bunny needs tend to be unwieldy and unsightly in appearance.
They’re awkward to get into because they tend to be longer than regular-sized hutches. A few have been made with materials that can be hazardous to small pets. Regular size hutches don’t offer as much legroom for rabbits.
Plus, in regular-sized hutches, rabbit poop tends to build up in mounds where you can see it. In larger hutches, there’s a deeper bottom to the cage, and the mess is out of sight, which is a bonus since you can use this kind of hutch indoors as well as outdoors.
You can get larger hutches that have wire surrounding the enclosure that’s safe for your bunny rabbits. That’s something you want to check out on any hutch you buy. You don’t want to get a product that’s been treated with a coating that can make your bunny sick with the fumes or if he chews on it.
A good thing about a large rabbit hutch is that you can put it together with ease, and some of the better ones on the market will have a raised area or shelf where your pet can sit and view his home. Cages that are this big are built with easy access to the pet and usually have more than one way for you to reach the pet – whether through a side opening or a top entrance.
Some, not all of the bigger hutches built for rabbits can cost a lot more than the smaller, not as well built cages, but you can find many that are well priced as well as durable. You might see some advertisements on popular sites selling used hutches at a steep discount, but you want to beware of second-hand homes when you’re looking for housing for your pet.
The reason for this is because used hutches can still carry germs or bacteria from the previous rabbit, and you don’t want to put your bunny into a cage where the first thing he’ll do is become sick.
With a large rabbit hutch, you have the option of letting the rabbit be an indoor or an outdoor pet. But consider that if you plan to use a hutch outdoor, it has to have a protective covering over the top of it, so that would be an added accessory you’d need to purchase before you can put the rabbit out.
Beware of Cheap Rabbit Hutches That Leave Your Pet Vulnerable
Cheap rabbit hutches save you money, but only at the beginning of your investment. In the end, they cost you more because you’ll have to replace it – and your rabbit. Your bunny can be vulnerable to a host of different factors – from not having enough space to being caged in the wrong kind of environment to being an easy target to a wily predator.
A hutch for the rabbit isn’t just a house for him. It’s what will save his life when the animals higher up on the food chain come calling. All you have to do to see how many hutches are available for sale is to do a quick search.
One browser brought up over half a million search results. You can bet that many of those results contain homes that aren’t suitable for any pet, much less a rabbit. As a pet owner who wants to look out for your pet’s safety, you want to provide him with the best quality home you can afford.
What is meant by cheap rabbit hutches? Any hutch meant to be temporary housing for a baby bunny is considered inferior. It wasn’t built to last. The materials aren’t sturdy enough for a full-grown rabbit, and the amount of space isn’t large enough for an adult rabbit either.
These kinds of hutches usually don’t take into consideration the health needs of the bunny. This is how rabbits end up with sore hocks and other painful areas on their body. So the first clue you’ll get if a hutch is cheap will be if it’s too small for a full-grown bunny rabbit.
Don’t think that buying a hutch means you have to shell out a ton of money to get one that suits your rabbit and keeps him safe. Many safe choices are reasonably priced.
Look up some background information on the housing you’re thinking of getting. Check out the manufacturer of the hutch. Do they have a money-back guarantee? Will they stand behind their product and offer any safety updates or changes if need be? Are other buyers happy with the product?
Cheap rabbit hutches can masquerade as a decent hutch by having many showy pieces to it, but don’t be fooled. Look for quality wood, workmanship, and parts that make up the hutch. Also, see if the hutch has one area for sleeping for the rabbit and one for a litter box.
A decent hutch will offer these spaces apart from one another. To make buying a home for your bunny easier, have a list of the features you want in a hutch and features your pet rabbit needs before you go shopping.
Buy a Your Hutch Online and Get Free Shipping!
You can get a rabbit hutch for sale on a ton of sites online, but have you checked out the cost of getting it shipped to your house? Talk about expensive! Some of the shipping costs are almost as much as the price of the hutch. With the economy going on the way it’s been lately, who wants (or needs) to hand over money just for shipping and handling?
There are companies online that appreciate your business so much that if your order reaches a certain amount of spending, they’ll eat the cost of shipping the product to you. Now that’s what you can call smart business sense.
They want your business badly enough to want to get the product to you! Some things you can order online you don’t really think about the shipping because the item is small and it’s only a few bucks at the most, and who doesn’t have a dollar or two to hand over for a wanted item?
But take a rabbit hutch for sale online, and that’s a different story. First of all, the hutch’s materials can make them a little heavier than the normal side. That’s not a problem if you happen to live right next door to the place selling the hutch.
You can just zip over in your car or truck and pick it up. It’s a problem when you order one online and then go to checkout, and the shipping is so costly it makes you not want to buy the item. But you need it, so you feel like you’re kind of over a barrel.
Perhaps you’ve always done business with the same gardening or pet shop online, and you know them, and they know you. But they’ll still charge you to get their product. Sometimes, there’s no loyalty or discounts when it comes to making a profit at any expense.
If that’s the case, forget loyalty to the company that won’t look out for you, you need to do a little shopping around. You can go to a company online that will pay to ship you the product and will even pay for shipping back to them if you don’t like the item!
Now you can find some companies that have a rabbit hutch for sale, and they’ll offer you free shipping up to a certain amount. For example, you see a hutch that you’d like to buy. The hutch costs about $140. You see that they offer free shipping.
But when you read the fine print, you see that it reads, ‘up to x amount of dollars’ or ‘up to x amount of weight’ and of course, that x is usually for something costlier and heavier than what you bought. Go with a company that will give you free shipping and a great price. You and your pet bunny will both be happier.
Give Your Pet More Space With a Rabbit Hutch Run
Any responsible pet owner will tell you that your bunny needs a rabbit hutch run. If you take home a starter kit when you buy your rabbit, it’ll consist of a small cage and some supplies intended for you to be able to care for your rabbit right away. But those should only be considered a temporary measure.
A rabbit needs to have a regular exercise routine to maintain good health and those that lead a caged, sedentary life fall into poor health. Bunnies that don’t have the freedom they need to hop and move about can develop an apathy toward doing anything at all, and due to their declining mental and physical health, they don’t live as long as rabbits that are cared for correctly.
Like people, rabbits that lie around most of the day and don’t have the space to move about tend to get fat. Not just a small spare tire, rabbits that don’t have the room to move can get quite obese.
You only have to look at the sides of the rabbit to tell he’s packing on the pounds. When a pet lies around all day with nothing to do, it’ll naturally eat more. Sometimes out of boredom – also like people do – and sometimes because the food is there and gives it something to do.
Without the benefit of a rabbit hutch run, your bunny can develop problems like heart failure, brittle bones, skin infections, and foot malformations. Their quality of life is greatly diminished.
New rabbit owners often think that the cute little wire cages they see bunnies in are suitable environments to keep the bunnies in. They might even believe that rabbits are easy to care for and low maintenance animals ideal for a small environment, but rabbits need a higher level of care than a simple cage can provide.
Rabbits that get daily exercise are happier and not as likely to be aggressive. Bunnies are not by nature aggressive but can develop the trait due to their frustration by having to remain so long in such cramped quarters.
Not only does the ability to run and hop help give your pet a good disposition and a healthier life, but the opportunity to be outside and eat grass can also improve digestion and keep his bowels moving regularly.
When you set up the run, don’t place it on an area of the yard that’s been treated by any chemicals, or you can make the bunny get sick. Double-check to make sure all the latches are adequately secure once you put your pet into the new home. A rabbit hutch run gives your pet a safe environment from the weather and predators where he can enjoy his days.
The Best Rabbit Home Is a Hutch With a Rabbit Run
What is the best rabbit home you can get? It’s the one that gives your precious pet the comfort you want him to have. There’s a belief circulating that bunnies can be perfectly happy in a cage, that all they need to find joy out of life is some food, a little place to sleep, and an hour or two of attention from a pet owner. Nothing could be more off base. Rabbits are not happy locked away in a cage where they can’t get the exercise they crave.
To a rabbit, being able to run and hop around in the sunshine, being able to sniff the air, and rise on his hind legs is part of his natural lifestyle. To take that away from him causes him stress and agitation.
Rabbits don’t need exercise ‘now and then’ or ‘when the weather permits.’ They need to be free to roam around every day for several hours a day. They need a run along with their hutch so that they can come and go at will.
You have to know about the best rabbit home for your bunny because while he does need to have one with a run, you have to understand the best place to set the run up. It’s a misconception that a run can be put over any patch of grass, and everything will be fine.
Some plants are toxic to rabbits, and if you’ve treated your lawn, that can be dangerous to the bunny, too. Taking care of weed control on a lawn is good lawn care sense, but the chemicals used to kill the weeds can also kill the bunny if he eats it.
Rabbits are very lovable, very curious animals that will explore everything they can see and touch. It’s the pet owner’s job to provide an area where the rabbit can freely sniff around and enjoy being outdoors.
The number one danger for a rabbit being outside in a run is a possible encounter with a predator. So you’ll want a run that’s sturdy enough to keep the dangers away from your pet. Never underestimate the craftiness of a predator. That’s one reason a hutch door with an easy to swing open latch is a bad idea. If you can open it with a twist of your fingers, so can a cat by swiping it with a paw.
Always know what’s going on in the run. When left alone outside for too long, rabbits will begin to dig in the soil, and they’ll create holes in the yard. This is done because the rabbit instinctively tries to burrow. The best rabbit home is the one that gives your bunny protection and freedom at the same time. You can get both in a hutch that has a run as well.
Buy a Rabbit Hutch and Run Together to Save Money
Your pet bunny will need a rabbit hutch and run to have both the comfort and the exercise he needs. If you buy both together, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
Even though many hutches are quite large, for their physical and emotional, rabbits need to move freely about. They need to have that freedom yet at the same time because they are small animals that can be targeted by other animals such as cats or foxes, so they must be protected. They also need that fresh air and sunshine.
It’s never a good idea to let a bunny alone in a yard. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can take your pet out of a hutch and turn him loose in a fenced-in backyard, and he’d be fine.
Predators can get over or under a fence to get to a rabbit. The purpose of a rabbit run is to keep him safe from harm. The run is usually made of wire mesh or chain link fence material. The spaces between the wire are made so that the rabbit can’t get a foot caught up in the wire.
When you get a rabbit hutch and run, check with the manufacturer details on the kind of lumber or other materials used to make the run. Know ahead of time what’s safe for your bunny to be around and not since some wood is toxic to a rabbit.
An excellent wood to use in a run is fir wood that’s not been treated with any sealant that has a noxious fume to it. You’ll want the run you purchase to have an access door for you to be able to get to the bunny easily, but you’ll want that door to be sturdy enough so that if he pushes against it, the latch won’t spring open.
A run that’s too small defeats the purpose. A good rule of thumb to follow when considering what size run to get is to make sure it’s at least twice the size of a medium hutch, which would be about 36 inches in width.
Some runs come with flooring, but most do not, which allows the owner to move the hutch to a new area in the yard if the ground becomes muddy or is no longer suitable for the pet.
Having flooring on the run is a matter of personal preference but being able to nibble on untreated grass and be on a natural setting is more of a treat for the bunny than synthetic means.
Your pet needs both a rabbit hutch and run already in place before you bring him home. He’ll want to familiarize himself with his surroundings, and the sooner he learns he’s home, the more secure he’ll feel. Buying a hutch and run that you can just assembly can give you that convenience factor and save you money.
Include a Rabbit Hutch Cover to Shield Your Pet from the Elements and Attackers
You need to have some essentials when you own bunnies, and a rabbit hutch cover is one of those essentials. It’s not merely an accessory to go over the hutch and make it look good.
It’s made to give your pet a shield of protection from the biting wind in the wintertime, along with the lower temperatures. With fur all over their small bodies, you’d think they’d be well equipped to withstand the colder months, but rabbits go underground and find shelter from the elements that way. Kept in a hutch, they don’t have the option of burrowing, so it’s up to the owner to provide a way out of the wind.
The cover goes over the hutch on all four sides like an insulator to keep out the cold. It also acts as an umbrella to shelter the rabbit from the driving rain. Not only will it keep your pet warm and dry, but it also keeps the bedding and the food supply from getting wet as well – this is important to keep your pet healthy since moisture can cause fungus and bacteria to grow and spread.
A rabbit hutch cover should be one that’s easily removable. You don’t want a cover that stays on 24/7 because the rabbit won’t get enough fresh air flowing inside the hutch. That means that an odor can build up, which won’t be pleasant for you or your pet.
You can find many portable covers that slip right on and off the hutch with minimal effort. You’ll want to cover the bunny hutch when you hear reports that bad weather is on the way. If it gets too hot outside, you do not want to cover the hutch because you can make the bunny’s temperature too high.
But another reason you want to use a cover is to keep attackers out-especially after the sun goes down. It’s not only because what attackers can’t see they can’t get to, but most predators like to swoop down on rabbits can’t get past the cover. Predators that run along the ground to hunt for rabbits can’t lift the cover to get to the rabbit either.
In the evening, when you put a rabbit hutch cover over your bunny’s home, he gains a sense of security and feels protected. If a rabbit spots an enemy and can’t flee from that enemy, his heart rate can increase to a dangerous level, and he can have a heart attack – this is where the term ‘scared to death’ comes from when talking about rabbits. However, under the cover, he can’t see the enemy or be seen, which enables him to sleep in peace.
What Kind of Rabbit Hutch Accessories Are Worth Buying?
When you have a bunny and a hutch, rabbit hutch accessories are also necessary. But if you’ve done any shopping around at all after you got your pet, you’ll see that there are so many items out there for sale touting themselves as ‘must-haves’ for your rabbit.
You have to know what a rabbit needs to have and what the stores want you to have to get some of your money. You don’t need every little accessory on the market. Some shops advertise cute little booties and sweaters for bunnies as you’d see on those little yap-yap dogs on cold winter mornings.
Bunny rabbits do not have to have booties, sweaters, or clothes of any kind. Sure, they’d look adorable, and you’d probably get some great photos of your pet dressed up, but that’s a personal preference, a want, and not a need for the bunny. His needs are quite simple – food, shelter, treats, toys, and love – lots and lots of love. Rabbits like to be social, and they like interaction with their owners.
The rabbit hutch accessories your rabbit does need to have in his home begin with a bed. He’s got to have a place to sleep and sleep comfortably. A few newbies in raising pets think you can just stick some straw in the corner of the hutch, and the rabbit will be happy and fine.
The problem is that with a loose straw bed like that, the bunny will kick it out of the hutch, eventually-at least the parts of the straw he doesn’t chew on and the part he doesn’t eat. So a bed is a necessity. You can find grass mats that are better than just loose straw, but you can also do better than that and buy him a rabbit bed.
If you’d checked them out, you’ll see that most hutches have sliding trays that you can pull out, clean up the droppings, disinfect and then slide them back in – pretty convenient for pet owners.
But instead of having those droppings roll all over the tray, you can invest in a dropping pan that will be more sanitary for you and your pet. Once he’s accustomed to going to the bathroom in a specific area (and yes, rabbits can be potty trained to a litter box), a dropping pan is a must-have.
While toys for the bunny don’t come standard even in some starter kits, they are essential rabbit hutch accessories. Without toys to play with and gnaw on, your bunny can get bored, and he can have problems with his teeth.
Don’t think that you can toss in the regular dog or cat toys; rabbit toys are made specifically to stand up to the constant gnawing of a rabbit, and they’re made of safe materials. Of course, you don’t want to forget the basics either – the food and water dishes.
Make Sure You Have These Supplies Before Buying Your Bunny
Getting a rabbit can be an exciting time, but you have to think about his comfort and get the correct rabbit hutch supplies before bringing him home. Since you already know that all animals have to have food to eat and water to drink, start by choosing the tools to meet that need.
Rabbits are rambunctious pets and enjoy hopping around the cage. Because of their energy, it’s best not to put food in the kind of dish that can be easily toppled. Plastic bowls can seem like a tasty treat or a toy to chew on for a bunny so avoid getting any of those. Metal bowls can tip over too quickly and startle the rabbit by the loud noise it’ll make. The top choice for a food dish is to get a ceramic bowl.
While rabbits can drink water from a bowl, it’s not the best idea to put their water in a bowl because not only can those be tipped as well and make a soggy mess in the cage but because he can dip his ears in the water. Gravity-fed water bottles are better.
If water is always spilling out, his housing environment can get moist, leading to the growth of bacteria or skin problems with the pet. Water for a bunny is best served through a drip-style water bottle.
The bottle attaches to the side of the hutch, and he can drink whenever he’s thirsty. No matter how much or how little water he drinks, though, make sure you change the water daily.
Other rabbit hutch supplies include bedding for the four-legged bundle. Some owners provide a plain grass mat for the bunny to lie on. While that will work, it’s not the softest material available for the pet.
You can find some bedding for bunnies that look like those little beds you can buy for small cats or dogs. Those are plush and warm, and rabbits like to cuddle up in them and sleep.
Because rabbits like to chew and need to chew to help their teeth, chew toys are not an optional buy. Rabbits that aren’t provided with the supplies that meet their need to chew will chew on furniture or other objects when they’re outside their cages.
Rabbits need to have hay in their diet, and a hayrack is one way you can supply that need. You can make a hayrack on your own, but it’s easier and less expensive to buy one when you get or order the other supplies.
Whether or not rabbits can be litter trained is a topic of much discussion among owners. Some rabbits have learned to use litter boxes, and you can find these online. The best thing about using one is that it eliminates messy trays in the hutch.
Many other rabbit hutch supplies you can buy to keep your bunny healthy and happy – supplies such as rabbit treats, specialty foods, and more. One important asset that doesn’t necessarily go into the cage that some owners forget about until they need it is a rabbit carrier. This is a required item for well-check visits to the veterinarian.
When you become interested in sustainable living, you may want to add animals to your practices. There are many ways you can use animals on your own property to help become self-reliant and sustainable.
You need to know some of the most common animals used for sustainable living practices and how you might be able to work with them. Some animals are used for meat, while others are used for eggs, milk, and their pelts or skins.
Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts
Honoring the Animal
It’s important to note that using animals requires you to be considerate of the animal’s needs and provide a healthy and happy environment for it. When you choose to butcher animals, you should make sure you get proper training so that you cause little fear or pain to them.
With sustainable living, you’ll also want to make use of as much of the animal as possible so that it doesn’t go to waste. Honoring the animal’s sacrifice means using it well.
If you’re new to working with animals, raising chickens is a great way to begin learning. Chickens are relatively simple to take care of and require a small amount of space.
They can also provide regular eggs and even meat if you choose to butcher them and eat them. You’ll need to make sure that you provide a coop for chickens where they can be safe from predators and roost at night.
Chickens need room to roam and can help cut down on bugs as they eat them along with feed that you supply. It’s best to choose an organic feed that’s free from chemicals and additives.
You’ll want to do your homework to figure out how many chickens will fit into the coop you choose. That will depend on the size of the coop and the breed of chickens.
You can buy chicks online and have them shipped to your home. You’ll need to be prepared to take care of chicks for a few weeks after their arrival. They need warm temperatures, clean water, and bedding. As they grow, they’ll become easier to care for.
Many urban areas allow chickens, but make sure you check your local ordinances. You may be allowed to have chickens, but not roosters in the city limits. As you care for your chickens, it’s important to learn from experts such as agriculture extension agents, local farmers, or even getting online help.
Chickens can provide eggs, can be harvested for meat, and their feathers can be used for pillows or blankets. Older chickens that don’t have tender meat can be used to make chicken stock for use later.
Rabbits are also easy to care for and can provide meat for your family. They require a hutch where they can live comfortably and have room to move around. You’ll also need to feed them and provide them with high-quality food and fresh vegetables.
Rabbits also need a constant supply of alfalfa or timothy hay. You’ll want to research rabbit breeds so that you can choose the best breed for your area and the meat you’d like to produce.
If you begin with two female and one male rabbit, you can produce more than 40 rabbits a year for meat. Rabbits are best eaten when they are 8-12 weeks old. The younger they are, the more tender they are.
When the rabbits reach about six weeks old, you can separate them from their parents. Then you can wait until it’s time to harvest the meat. When the larger, adult rabbits reach two or three years of age, you can butcher them.
Older rabbits are better in a stew because they aren’t as tender. Rabbits can also be used for their fur. Once they’re butchered and skinned for meat, you can tan the rabbit’s hides and use them for warm clothing.
Rabbits are a relatively inexpensive investment if you want to begin working to raise and harvest your own meat. It helps to take a class to learn how to butcher them properly.
Goats are fairly easy animals to take care of and they can produce a great deal of food for you. There are two kinds of goats – goats for meat and goats for milk. Goat isn’t commonly eaten in the United States, but it’s very common in other countries.
You’ll want to choose a breed that’s specifically designed for your purposes. Look for one that’s purebred. You can raise approximately eight goats on the same feed it would take to raise one cow.
Goats need little in the way of food if they’re able to graze. You may also need to provide hay, oats, and a vitamin supplement. Housing for goats is also pretty simple – you’ll need an area where they can be dry and where they won’t get too cold.
Goats are very good at climbing, so you’ll need a fence that has barbed or electric wire to keep them in. Goats are typically very friendly animals to have on your property.
Some good goat breeds for meat include Texmaster, Moneymaker, and Savanna. Good goat breeds for milk include Saanen, Alpine, and Togenburgs. You’ll want to learn more about specific breeds and what will work best in your area.
Goat milk can be used for drinking and for making cheese. Many people who find cow’s milk problematic find that goat’s milk is a good substitute. In order to produce milk, your goats will need to be bred once a year.
Your goat will need to feed her kids, but you can still milk her once a day. The best method is to keep the kids separate from her at night and milk her once in the morning. Then the rest of the day the kids can nurse when they choose.
If you continue to milk her, she can produce milk for approximately 10 months. That’s a good supply of milk for a family. You can have more goats if you’d like more milk for your use or to sell.
When it comes to meat goats, the best time for butchering is between five and nine months of age. You can learn to do this yourself or take the goat to a meat processor. After butchering a goat, you can keep the hide and tan it for use.
Pigs can also be raised to use for meat. Pigs will need at least a tenth of an acre for pasture. You can also grow them in an enclosure that’s at least 100 square feet – such as a barn or a pen.
You’ll also need food for your pig. Unlike what you see in movies, it’s best not to feed pigs just whatever is leftover from your own meals. They need a diet full of vitamins and minerals. It’s best to give them organic foods and allow them to graze on grass. They also need plenty of access to clean water.
You’ll want to choose a piglet that’s a good breed for meat. You can buy them at farms or from auctions. Some of the best breed choices include Berkshire, Yorkshire, and Hereford. But there are many choices.
You’ll want to research what will live best in your area and grow to the preferred size. In general, pigs usually are ready for slaughter when they reach approximately 225 pounds, though this can vary based on weight.
You can learn to butcher them yourself or take them to a meat processor. Each pig will give you around 150 pounds of meat. Again, this is an average and will depend on your pigs.
Once a pig is processed into different cuts, you can freeze them for long-term use. Some people also choose to sell meat as a way to make money and profit from pig production.
Many people enjoy raising cows for either milk or meat. Raising your own cows on a grass diet without antibiotics or added hormones makes the meat and milk much better for your body.
The best breeds for dairy cows tend to be Jersey, Guernsey, and Holstein. For beef cows, look for Angus or Hereford cows. There are other breeds that may be better for your needs, so do your homework before settling on one type.
Cows will need a source of grass and in the winter months will need hay. Each cow will need about half a bale of hay per day. Your cow will also need to be confined with a fence made from barbed wire.
You can also use an electric fence to keep your cow from leaving home. Each cow will need about two acres of pasture in order to get enough nutrition. If you live in a drier area, your cow may need even more space.
For milk cows, you’ll need to breed your cow in order for her to produce milk. One cow can give you eight to ten gallons of milk each day. This will allow you to have plenty of milk for drinking and making other dairy products or for selling.
For meat cows, you can learn to do the butchering yourself. However, most people will take a cow to be processed and divided into different cuts of meat and ground beef.
One cow is usually more than enough meat for an average family. You may even consider selling half of the cow so that you can make back some of the money you’ve invested in raising your cow and processing it.
When you think of farm animals, fish don’t usually make the top of the list. But fish can be very good food that you can raise right on your property. The best breeds of fish for farming include catfish, bass, bluegill, and carp.
In order to raise any of these fish, you’ll need a barrel that holds at least fifty gallons of water. This will hold about 40 fish that you can harvest for food. You’ll want to research the specifics for putting together an aquarium based on the breed you choose.
You’ll be able to feed your fish commercial food or you can feed them worms. For 40 fish, you’ll need at least 50-100 worms each day when they are young and even more as they get older.
You can either clean and prepare fish all at once or stagger your use by taking a few adults out and replacing them with younger fish. This gives you a regular supply of fish. If you do it all at once, you’ll need to freeze them.
It takes about 2 months for fish to grow into adulthood and be ready for eating. You can start over every 2 months with a new group so that you have a continuous supply of fish to eat.
Researching Your Best Options
If you’ve never raised your own animals for food, it’s a good idea to start small with chickens, rabbits, or even fish. Don’t try to do too much at once and become overwhelmed by the process.
Once you’ve mastered one animal, you can add another. It’s also important to do a lot of research before deciding on an animal and breed. You need to do a lot of preparation and be prepared for feeding and even medical care if necessary.
A great place to start is with your local agriculture extension office. This office helps local people figure out what to grow and you can even take educational classes to learn about animal management and harvesting.
This guide may have sparked your interest in a particular type of animal, but now you’ll need to get much more depth of information in order to carry out the process of growing and harvesting animals for food.
Growing your own animals can help you save on the cost of food. It can also ensure that you have meat or milk that’s free from chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones. You can also feel good that your animal has a good life and is treated with care and respect, unlike many animals raised on corporate farms.
Raising animals is a great way to develop a sustainable living homestead. It does take a lot of work, but many people feel that the work is well worth it for quality meat or milk.