Like most other yuppies-turned-farmers, I'm enamored of the Eglu. I actually had the pink rabbit run in my Omlet USA shopping cart yesterday, ready to plunk down the $495, giddy and hoping to click "place order" before any sort of practical voice made itself heard. I was vaguely aware that I had just been looking at some Chie Mihara boots that were almost that much, and justified it that some people spend money on shoes, others on rabbits. Then I found that the shipping itself was an entire $170 even within the US, and that was enough to stop me in my tracks. I just couldn't do that without feeling like I must be insane.
Because really, even though they say that the Eglu was rigorously designed in consultation with animal behaviorists and such, how is it really any different than a much cheaper set-up? A dog kennel with a top and a bottom and a dogloo would function just as well, even better in some ways. It would be a lot larger to accommodate more bunnies, and basically be like colony housing. It would be harder to move, more like permanent housing than a rabbit tractor, but it surely could be moved. And it would be easier to get inside and hang out with the rabbits than the Eglu, which it looks like people just sort of sit at the end and reach inside. I'm also not sure how the Eglu is truly secure from rabbits burrowing out without the additional floor accessory (which I did not price, I couldn't bear it). That six-inch skirt might keep predators out, but if an Eglu is meant to be permanent housing, surely the bunnies would burrow out. If I pay that much for a rabbit cage, I'd like it to be as secure as it claims to be.
Of course, I love the shape and the colors. It's the Mac of rabbit cages (it actually looks just like my "vintage" strawberry Apple computer). It's so cute that it would probably stop animal welfare people from getting upset that the bunny was living out-of-doors. It's interesting that rabbit and chicken housing, usually makeshift and unattractive, has been reworked in this way, presumably for the urbanite. I'm convinced that animal welfare folks are often looking more at aesthetics and how the property values are holding up than the condition of the critters.
I'm reading a lot about rabbit housing options. There are nice designs for rabbitries, but I still lean toward pasture raising. It just seems more consistent with rabbit instincts to burrow. Plenty of people are into colonies and think it's more "natural," but I haven't found anyone doing angoras in colonies. It's harder to maintain the wool, I'm sure. But it doesn't seem like it would be a huge deal to catch them up and pull a little hay or dirt out of the wool. Personally, I like little farm remnants in my yarn. I'm not sure if there are health issues though - I know cleanliness is a huge priority. And you wouldn't want them turning feral since they have to be groomed. I've heard a couple of arguments that it's not functional for an angora farmer, but I'm thinking of trying it, at least in a rotating arrangement along with cage and house time. Probably not with the Eglu though, although I'd love to know who has Eglus for rabbits and how they get on.