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Sav

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Hi all!

I was wondering how everyone keeps pests away during the summer months? I recently built my first set of hutches (one wooden unit, three stacked cages, all 4 ft x 2 ft with a built in nest box). Due to the fact that it’s wooden it has been attracting most every creepy crawly in the area, and has been a little difficult to manage, even with routine cleaning. So, I had a few questions for those of you who may have found solutions?

1) Keeping away insects, as well as millipedes. I live in the Southeast US and as the temperature rises, these tend to seek shade in the feeders, as well as the nest boxes. And, it doesn’t help that my hutches are located underneath a large tree in my backyard (didn’t want them in direct sunlight, as the heat gets very high here).The main ones I’ve been having issues with are earwigs (very bad, and cause me not to be able to fully fill the feeders, as they end up nesting in there in groups), millipedes (have been wreaking havoc on the nest-boxes, I’ve even noticed there being a thin layer of webbing among the hay and bedding in there), and flies (have not been the worst, though are still noticeable). I’ve been debating hanging fly traps on either sides of the hutch. Thus far, the only method I’ve seen is a mixture of water and dish soap, and I coated the litter trays beneath each hutch in that today to see if it makes any difference.

2. Bedding? I’m not sure what the best would be to use in order to avoid moisture being soaked into it the way it is currently. Right now I use aspen, and have considered straw though am unsure exactly where to find it and have only been able to find straw that is cut into very short pieces. I also toss in hay with the bedding, though the hay doesn’t get dampened the way the aspen does (aspen only dampens on the bottom layer that is closest to the wood, top layers stay dry. Though, it still attracts bugs.)

3. Just general cleanliness. How often do you clean out your hutches (I do a deep clean on the weekends, though spot clean throughout the week), what do you use to clean them, and how do you maintain it. I know not everyone uses wooden hutches, and I have come to realize there are disadvantages to it in certain aspects (though do plan to keep the layout for future hutches and would love any feedback on how to maintain them).

4. The smell. This one is of less importance than the others, as changing out the trays and spot cleaning have reduced it a great bit. I figured I may include this one to see if anyone else has some good tips at keeping it down though, especially as the summer rolls in!
 

Mariam+Theo

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Are your rabbit's litter trained? I would suggest getting them litter trained because it makes cleaning easy, removes the smell, and you won't need bedding. I'm not sure if your rabbits are fixed, but if not most people say it is super hard training unneutered/unspayed rabbits, but my unneutered male was trained in one day. Here is a super helpful link! Here are the pine pellets I use.
For bugs, (the millipedes are awful here too) I clean everything with vinegar and make fly traps: Homemade Fly Trap | The Prairie Homestead.
 

Sav

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Are your rabbit's litter trained? I would suggest getting them litter trained because it makes cleaning easy, removes the smell, and you won't need bedding. I'm not sure if your rabbits are fixed, but if not most people say it is super hard training unneutered/unspayed rabbits, but my unneutered male was trained in one day. Here is a super helpful link! Here are the pine pellets I use.
For bugs, (the millipedes are awful here too) I clean everything with vinegar and make fly traps: Homemade Fly Trap | The Prairie Homestead.
Yes and no. My current hutches are wire bottom (16g that’s lined in a plastic coating to be a little less harsh on their hocks, in addition to their nest box which is solid flooring where the bedding is used), as I figured it would be more sanitary in the long run. I usually start them off with the nest box closed off so they learn to choose their “potty spot” in the wire area where it will drop to the litter trays below them. So, they have learned not to soil their bedding, I’m assuming the moisture in it is coming from the wood below as it’s been very rainy through the past week.

As for the vinegar, is there a certain kind ( white, apple cider, etc )? And about how long do you let it sit to dry before placing them back in? Or is it more of a general wipe down? I’ll definitely be taking a look at the links!
 

Mariam+Theo

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I personally am against wire floors, but I understand why some people use them. If you ever decide to litter train, I would replace the wire floor with wood.
For cleaning, I use distilled white vinegar. I just pour it in his cage and rub it around with a sponge. I will let it sit for 1-3 minutes and then wipe it up.
 

Mac189

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I don't generally think wire is ideal, although concrete or plastic with a towel floor covering is easy to clean and I think offers a good quality of life.
 

Sav

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I’ll definitely give the distilled white vinegar a go! As for the wire floors, it was definitely a battle between going with them or using wood flooring! Though, ultimately wire won (granted, I do try to take precautions where I can so they do have resting areas like the nest box, as well as a wooden slab (replaced with a ceramic tile in the summer months) that is in their open area / as well as daily exercise outside of their hutches). It ultimately came down to the fact that they are mainly outside, and with the elements/pests at play it seemed the better option as it wouldn’t harbor as much bacteria to cling to their hocks.
 

SableSteel

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I love my wire floors, much cleaner and easier, I almost always recommend wire floors unless you have one of a few certain breeds that are more prone to hock problems (eg Flemish giant, checkered giant, belgian hare).
Also - millipedes!? I am quite jealous; I keep millipedes as pets and I have a hard time finding new ones. I do wonder why they would be getting involved with all your rabbit stuff though, as they usually live underground, and they don't form webs
For bedding you might want to try out pine pellets
 

majorv

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I agree that for breeding rabbits wire floors are the most sanitary. Trying to litter box train intact rabbits wasn’t worth the time, especially when you have very many.
The only insects we had a problem with were ants sometimes getting into the pans under the cage floor. In very wet weather they would go someplace high and dry.
 
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Sav

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I love my wire floors, much cleaner and easier, I almost always recommend wire floors unless you have one of a few certain breeds that are more prone to hock problems (eg Flemish giant, checkered giant, belgian hare).
Also - millipedes!? I am quite jealous; I keep millipedes as pets and I have a hard time finding new ones. I do wonder why they would be getting involved with all your rabbit stuff though, as they usually live underground, and they don't form webs
For bedding you might want to try out pine pellets
I may have to test out pine pellets and see for any improvement! As for the webbing, I’m not too sure if it is from them so much as I usually find them in the same area (though am unsure how related they could be). It may even be some sort of isopod rather than millipede, though I’ve only seen them from a glance and haven’t taken too close a look, as I’m stand-offish when it comes to critters that I’m not all too familiar with (as this is the first time I’m seeing them, as well as earwigs, around and in the hutches). They’re very short, though and have a gray color to them. I’m thinking I may take a closer look tomorrow to confirm whether they are some sort of millipede or isopod (as I may very well stand incorrect).
 

Me and Bun-uccino

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Hmm all the bugs I ever have to deal with is some beetle-ish looking bugs. For one they are ALL OVER and two they get stuck in the tray of the cage. One day I woke up and there was a total of 5 of them in the tray. For the MOST part a fan kept on high kept them away but I right now just have one pet rabbit so having fans for each of them wouldn't be practical. I don't really know what to do for millipedes and those kinds of bugs though, this is just my experience with bugs. The bugs kinda looked like this:
1591027574850.png
 

majorv

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Hmm all the bugs I ever have to deal with is some beetle-ish looking bugs. For one they are ALL OVER and two they get stuck in the tray of the cage. One day I woke up and there was a total of 5 of them in the tray. For the MOST part a fan kept on high kept them away but I right now just have one pet rabbit so having fans for each of them wouldn't be practical. I don't really know what to do for millipedes and those kinds of bugs though, this is just my experience with bugs. The bugs kinda looked like this:
View attachment 48312
That’s a June bug. They’re harmless.
 

Sav

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Bought some pine pellets so I look forward to trying those out! Also did an investigation, and upon closer look it seems to be wood lice. So I’m assuming the moisture in the wood is what’s drawing them towards it? Especially where the aspen bedding meets the wooden structure and where all the moisture is? I’ll be cleaning out nest boxes again today, and am considering caulking/sealing the edges inside/outside of the hutch in order to possibly prevent any added moisture that may be getting through the cracks?
 

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