When we first got our rabbits, we never realized how tied to our home we would be, caring for them and making sure they had all of their needs met. While our new little friends are pretty resilient as far as living outdoors, they do need a watdichful eye and someone available to make sure they are getting the care they need, including monitoring how much they are eating each day.
Having said that, there is still the rest of the family to consider. Doing without vacations has been quite a lot to ask of my husband and children, and so I had to think of ways to make sure the rabbits would be well cared-for while we were gone for a couple of days. I decided to go with a simple gravity feeder for them.
Normally I feed my rabbits a specific amount of food each day which is based on a healthy weight for their breed. For instance, my Jersey Wooly, Alice, weighs around 4 pounds and according to my research, a 2-4 pound rabbit should get 1/4 cup of pellets each day. Keep in mind that it’s easy to overfeed a rabbit into obesity because they often will eat more than they need. This is not only unhealthy for them, but it prevents them from reaching and consuming their cecal pellets, which is a very necessary part of their balanced diets.
For those times that our family needs to leave the homestead for a few days, I use a simple gravity feeder that I’ve made from food grade plastic peanut containers, and thicker plastic containers. Since we don’t leave for very long each time, we are comfortable using them and they work beautifully.
There are metal gravity feeders on the market that you can purchase, but since I do not usually feed my rabbits continuously, I’d rather not pay for new items. My husband eats peanuts like crazy and so I’ve got quite a few of these containers hanging around for projects such as these (I get his peanuts from Walmart or Costco if you would like to get the same type of containers).
Let me just mention that plastic, even food grade plastic, is probably not the best choice if you have a rabbit that likes to chew on things (besides hay, of course). Use your own very careful discretion whenever putting a new material into the hutch with your bunny. I suggest giving your new gravity feeder a 24-hour test run while you are home so you can monitor how your bunny responds to the feeder.
I realize that you won’t have the same materials as I do, but I think you will get the gist of how to make one of your own with what you have on hand. You will need:
- a large square plastic container with a screw-top lid
- a sharp knife or scissors to cut a hole in your container
- a wide, shallow plastic container, large enough for your plastic container to sit in
- rabbit pellets
To make my feeder, I cut a rectangular hole in the bottom of my plastic container, about 1 inch tall and 4 or so inches wide. I set the container into the shallow, plastic container, then filled it with rabbit pellets. The pellets were able to feed out into the shallow container and provide continuous food for each rabbit (I made a separate one for each rabbit).
One of our rabbits, Michelle, is a bit aggressive with toys and such, so I was concerned she would knock over the feeder. She did a few times until I wedged it between her continuous waterer (1.5 gallon, so heavy enough that she can’t move it) and the back wall of the hutch. It worked quite well.
While I wouldn’t choose to use a continuous feeder regularly, this feeder has been the difference between night and day for us in regards to being able to take a short break away from home. If you are feeling as though you can’t get away, perhaps our simple gravity feeder would be a good investment of your time and a viable way to provide your family the time for a short family vacation.
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