Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rabbit Water Bowls

Kristin liked the picture of my rabbits eating flowers and mailed back about the bowls she saw in the rabbit pens. She asked what the bowls were for. Well Kristin, they are a low tech, super cheap way of supplying water to the rabbits. Most of the bowls cost me zero. A few I paid a quarter for-- yeah, I can be cheap. 

Rabbit watering systems can vary from the simple water crock, to water bottles hung from the cage walls or ceiling, to water nipples running off a central water line. From simple and cheap to the expensive and complicated. I say, do whatever works best in your own situation. 

In the past, a couple of decades ago, I used those typical rabbit water bottles that you see in pet stores. While most of the time they worked fine, I did have times where they leaked and dripped, thus emptying out rapidly. Other times I had bottles that failed to continue working, thus the rabbit couldn't get the water. And in top of it, they cost money. I'm preferring to shoot for self reliancy, so going out to buy water bottles....or any water system....isn't being self reliant. 

After some thought from different angles, I opted for the low tech approach. I offer fresh feed to the rabbits twice a day, so it's simple to also top up water bowls at the same time. Plus if they happen to spill their bowls, no harm done. The water simply drops onto the dirt below. 

Suitable bowls were surprisingly easy to come by, so I didn't even have to make consider making them myself. Crocks would have been better because of their flat bottoms, but I've found that other bowls also work. I had a couple of unused bowls right in my own kitchen. I asked around and had several bowls given to me. And I found 2 bowls at the thrift shop for fifty cents. See? No need to spend $5-$10 per rabbit for a water bottle. Times that by 17 rabbits and you can see that using bowls is quite a savings. Plus I'm using bowls that would eventually just end up discarded in the dump. So now those ignored bowls have a purpose. 

I really haven't had a problem with the rabbits constantly dumping their water. Perhaps they're not bored? Their hutches are set up so that they have a "privacy cave", lounging shelf, and a communal section where they can see and sniff the other rabbits. They are outdoors, as averse to being inside an enclosed building, so they can watch what is going on around them. They get offered a wide selection of fresh foods twice a day. They get petted and talked to twice daily. So I'm not seeing the destructive behavior that I've seen mentioned on the Internet. No hutch chewing, fur chewing, "furniture" rearranging, aggression. 

Now I'm sure the OCD people out there will be appalled by the motley assortment of bowls. But heck, OCD people wouldn't be raising rabbits on a self sufficient homestead. So no worries, mate. Got it under control!  ;) 

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