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Eco-max mowing service

Combine rabbits with ROOMBAs
  (+13, -3)(+13, -3)
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It would be nice instead of instead of mowing our lawns, we could have animals just graze to get it to the right height. Releasing rabbits to openly graze on your lawn has issues with dogs and rabbits escaping. So my idea is to take the brains from a ROOMBA and used it to drive a very slow large low box. Inside the box are rabbits in cubicals on metal grid floor arranged in a staggered grid pattern so that grass will poke thru the bottom and they can eat it. At the back of each of the rabbits is a mechanism for gathering and grinding up waste which is then spread over the lawn. Put a solar panel on the roof for power and a water system to keep the rabbits hydrated.
MisterQED, Mar 28 2008

Creeping Rodent Run Creeping_20Rodent_20Run
lawn-going roomba hutch [xaviergisz, Mar 28 2008]

[link]






       It's a roaming rabbit hutch.
skinflaps, Mar 28 2008
  

       Why not replace the rabbits with blades and do away with the animal enslavement?   

       cute idea [+] cruelty to animals [-] so I'm on the fence here.
ericscottf, Mar 28 2008
  

       I don't think this is cruel to animals. My sister had a rabbit and it seemed perfectly happy to sit in one place and eat for hours. The idea here is to give them a day job where they relax with a bunch of their relatives and eat the grass that comes to them. I originally thought of a moving fence that just kept them moving around the yard and protected from dogs and stuff. The cubicles actually just allow for lazier rabbits which I figured would eat more and it makes it easier to deal with waste. (Run a conveyor belt under their butts.) Place alternating rows face to face and then butt to butt, so they can see everyone in their group. Let's say four rows of five. Each group of ten would see each other and just hang out and eat.
MisterQED, Mar 28 2008
  

       Add a mechanized break time device, to allow for sex and socialization.
normzone, Mar 28 2008
  

       Do half days or even 3 or 4 shifts. Load one group in the morning, switch at lunch and then again maybe at dinner. The rest of the day they have off to make more rabbits. With batteries, you could have shifts running thru the night. It shouldn't need supervision and fans and/or body heat would provide a comfortable environment. You might be able to have them all in their own wheels for extra power and so they could get exercise.   

       The best would be a sun deck system that could automate the breaks. Then an hour on the bottom eating grass and then an hour on the top hanging out letting the meal settle. Maybe a robotic arm that grabs RFID harnesses to put them back in their cubicles to eat again.
MisterQED, Mar 28 2008
  

       I really have to say there is nothing cruel about this concept. You aren't even force feeding them, just letting them kick back and eat grass.   

       In fact, I would argue that even if they are harvested for their delicious meat and soft pelts, it still isn't a cruelty issue.
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 28 2008
  

       Back in my childhood, we kept bunnies in cages with chicken-wire bottoms. We'd put them out on the grass once in a while, and then move them from time to time. We'd pick the cages up to move them, I think, but I remember considering dragging the things. A Roomba-oid device could drag the cages slowly enough to let the rabbits react if they had a foot wrong.
baconbrain, Mar 28 2008
  

       rcarty, you probably mean to link to a specific picture rather than to that generic photoalbum full of kids' pictures? I don't have the patience to page through 205 photos to figure out what you meant...   

       [Hm, you're right, now it works. I guess I had JavaScript turned off. OK.]
jutta, Mar 28 2008
  

       It opens at 58, the bunny on a leash picture, if your Javascripts filter allows Google.com. Otherwise, it's picture 1, a child. Neither are worth worrying over.
baconbrain, Mar 28 2008
  

       Do you really need the turd collector?
bneal27, Mar 30 2008
  

       Great idea! And I think the choice of animal is correct as well.   

       Rabbits are small which makes them a very low energy grazing animal (inline with the eco intentions of this invention) and have a high birth rate which makes them easy to replace (if accidents happen). Their excrement in small, discrete and easily broken down. They are also soft, fragile creatures and therefore quite sensitive to electric shock....   

       May I suggest that instead of investing time in a 'complex automated self propelled protective group enclosure' (CASPPGE), your efforts might be better spent creating an 'individual protective lightweight rabbit suit of armour' (IPLRSOA) (perhaps with spikey poison tipped projections radiating outward). Incorporated in the IPLRSOA an "invisible fence collar" (scaled down for use on rabbits) as well as a metallic funnel like projection out the front (similar to those plastic ones for dogs).   

       The rabbits could suit up in the morning, in the safety of the hutch, hop out at their leisure, graze where they wanted (within the area defined by the invisible fence), be unable to dig those unsightly rabbit holes (the funnel projection could be designed to not only shields their heads but also makes it impossible to burrow into the ground). Finally the suit of armour covering the hind quarters would serve to protect the bunnies not only from neighbourhood predators, but also from population explosions . With the help of these heavily armoured little rodents, everyone could have a healthy, low carbon-footprint, picture perfect lawn!   

       On a related aside, a professor at my university proposed a similar idea with respect to campus lawn care a few years back. His suggestion; Get rid of the expensive (to purchase and run) polluting lawn equipement including the gardeners, and replace them with a herd of sheep tended by a grad student. Not only would it be cheaper to run (grad students are quite cheap) but depending on the quality of the grass a profit might be made selling the by-products of the herd (wool and lamb/mutton). Why waste a resource (gas), wasting a resource (grass) when the gas could be saved and the grass put to productive use!
junkernaut, Mar 30 2008
  

       Great idea. Instead of the solar panel, why not have a rabbit wheel generator? (That's like a hamster wheel, but a bit bigger.) Much cheaper than solar panels.
Srimech, Mar 31 2008
  

       I like the grad student shepherd. Maybe a work study project for an undergrad. Definitely an eye catcher on the resume. Downside: sheepturds are big.   

       I like the roaming rabbit hutch too. But for maximum PR value one should be able to see the rabbits inside. This would be best for one of those show lawns at a business. Less so for a playground or kidful yard. This because I do not want to pick up the poop.
bungston, Mar 31 2008
  

       Howzabout a big wire rabbit Zorb? Make a ball out of chicken wire, put the rabbit(s) inside, and let them roam at will. The ball and the exits around the yard would have to be sized to prevent escapes, of course. The enZorbed bunnies should be slow enough to catch when you want to. (I dunno how they'd get water.)   

       [junkernaut], hello and welcome.
baconbrain, Mar 31 2008
  

       I've never owned rabbits and the rabbit zorb idea is actually where I started as it was an anno on a different idea that started me on this. I went with the ROOMBA interface because I didn't think you could rely on rabbits to do an even job everywhere. My sisters rabbit didn't seem to swift, so I assumed they'd need guidance.   

       As for whether the rabbits are visible or not is based on PR. Some places I think it could be advantageous for people to know it's rabbits and some not. One of the reasons I choose rabbits is that they could be humanely contained in a mower looking device that could be programmed just to wander the grounds and do it's job. You could even put grass or astroturf on top to camoflage it unlike say a trailer full of goats.   

       The rabbit wheel power is probably good as long as it could be done without disrupting the poop collection.
MisterQED, Mar 31 2008
  

       I love the idea... Although I have an objection to the "rabbit wheel". From my experience, and a quick google search, rabbits don't exactly run much, do they? I suggest a couple of hyperactive hamsters be assigned to the task instead. They would be much more effective, and they would enjoy the job much more than a lazy bunny would.   

       (Downside: hamsters are omnivorous, so they would not subsist on grass alone. Somebody would actually have to make sure they have a supply of appropriate food mix available.)
Ratwoman, Mar 31 2008
  

       Welcome Ratwoman - great name. If a rat wandered around from place to place, chewing on things robotically, would it be called gnawmatic?
xenzag, Mar 31 2008
  

       Okay, all you "I've never owned a rabbit, but-" posters, here it is, straight from a backyard rabbit farmer:   

       It could work. All of it. Rabbits are just crazy enough to go along with this plan, especially since it involves two of thier three major pastimes, eating and pooping. My rabbits would happily ride around all day in thier own snail's-pace rabbit-powered grass-munching Roomba-guided tank.   

       No, rabbits don't "run," because thier legs don't go one at a time, but they do hop around all over the place, and they will go like hell on an oversized hamster wheel- I've built two, working on a third, although I haven't tried hooking them up to a generator yet.   

       I wouldn't consider this cruelty at all, as long as the bunnies had fresh air, clean water, shade, and time out of the cubicles to hop around and get the crazies out. It would also be a good idea to sprinkle a little protein powder on the lawn in front of them, as domesticated rabbits need a diet of %11-%18 protein. Also, mist them with a garden hose on hot days.   

       The major complication with keeping rabbits is that you frequently find yourself with quite a few more rabbits than you owned last time you checked. For me, this is not a problem at all, since I happen to think that rabbits are tasty and nutritious, but if you are using rabbits exclusively for lawn care, you will want to segregate them very carefully (especially since putting too many males in together can also result in a significant _decrease_ in total rabbit count).   

       My final reccomendation would be that you use dwarf breeds. Little bunny-rabbits eat more food per pound of bunny-rabbit than big bunny-rabbits do.
Alterother, Apr 01 2008
  

       // rabbits don't exactly run much, do they?//
Use hares then. They run like, well, jack-rabbits.

[OT] I once knew a bald guy who had rabbits tattoed on his head, because from a distance, they looked like hares.
coprocephalous, Apr 01 2008
  
      
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