In order to offer rabbits an environment that is as close to nature as possible, an outdoor enclosure is ideally suited. To ensure that they can safely pursue their favorite activities there, the outdoor enclosure must be secured all around.
Weather and sun protection, hiding places and different floor coverings also contribute to a truly paradisiacal outdoor enclosure for rabbits.
A rabbit outdoor enclosure should first and foremost meet the needs of its four-legged inhabitants. Nevertheless, when planning an outdoor enclosure, the human should not be forgotten. After all, it is he who is responsible for the care of rabbits and enclosure. The point of “ease of care” should therefore be included in the considerations from the outset, so that acrobatic interludes of the rabbit owner are not necessary when cleaning the enclosure.
All-around secured rabbit run
Whether the outdoor enclosure for rabbits is enclosed on all sides, has a partial or full weatherproof roof, or is designed to be open at the top depends in no small part on how it will be used.
If the rabbits stay outside all year round and the outdoor enclosure is also to be used all year round, it is recommended to have at least a partially weatherproof roof.
This ensures that the floor of the enclosure does not become completely muddy even in continuous rain or snow, but remains pleasantly dry. On the one hand, this has the advantage that the outdoor enclosure can thus be used regardless of the weather and contamination from litter or rabbit droppings can simply be raked away.
Ideally, the hutch should be integrated into the outdoor enclosure. On the other hand, an outdoor enclosure that has neither weather protection nor wire, i.e. is open at the top, is ideal as an additional run.
The rabbits should only be able to let off steam here under supervision, because for many predators an enclosure that is open at the top is a welcome invitation to eat.
In nature, rabbits always have their environment in view and thus recognize predators already at a great distance. They rarely stay in the open and usually seek cover nearby. The outdoor enclosure should therefore not be placed in the middle of a meadow. A fence or a hedge can be used as a visual protection, which should make up at least one side of the outdoor enclosure.
Outdoor enclosure with escape-proof fencing
Rabbits are true “digging masters” and pursue their passion even in human care. It is hard to believe the speed with which these little architects dig entire tunnel systems. Their habitat must therefore be secured in such a way that the munchkins cannot dig their way out into the open.
On the other hand, an escape-proof outdoor enclosure also protects against predators who want to dig their way through from outside.
To secure an outdoor enclosure so that rabbits can neither escape nor enemies can break in, the side walls must have a gapless connection with the floor.
There are several ways to do this:
- One of them is a soil excavation of about 50 cm deep of the complete area of the outdoor enclosure. On this, a rust-resistant, close-meshed wire mesh is now laid, which is linked at the ends to the outer walls of the enclosure. Finally, the excavated earth is backfilled. Instead of the wire mesh, patio slabs or other paving stones can be used in this way. The little hutch bunnies can now dig to their heart’s content, but cannot escape in the process.
- It is not always possible to realize an earth excavation. Nevertheless, to ensure escape and burglary safety, the entire run can be paved or covered with slabs. However, the side wires of the outdoor enclosure should then be pulled about 40 cm below the paving to secure the gap between the floor slabs and the side walls. In this case, however, the rabbits must be generated another possibility for digging, for example, in the form of a large digging box.
Furnishing elements for the outdoor enclosure
For rabbits, a meadow is certainly the ultimate underground design. Here it can be romped and quite incidentally also nibble on the blades of grass. For an outdoor enclosure, this surface is often out of the question due to the limited space, because the lawn is in most cases not up to the continuous use by the Hoppler.
The situation is different when there is more space available in the outdoor enclosure. There, the uncovered part can be used well as a lawn. In the covered part, the excavated soil can be refilled, the area can be filled with playground sand or made of chips, or softwood granules.
The ground in the outdoor enclosure
A “bare” area for romping not only looks dreary from a human point of view, it is also not suitable for rabbits. The pelt-noses need variety and above all furnishings, at which they can live out their natural needs.
This includes, in addition to the possibility to nibble, also vantage points and hiding places.
Thick tree trunks or flint stones from which to enjoy the view or sunbathe are great for this. Clay amphorae, cork tubes, roof tiles set up to form a pointed roof, or hollowed-out tree trunks serve as caves for hiding and are gladly accepted by the hoppers.
Incidentally, there are no limits to the imagination of the rabbit owner when it comes to the design possibilities. One thing should be considered with all the creativity, however: Rabbits don’t like it when it wobbles – so anchor everything firmly and design it stably!
The construction of the enclosure
It all helps nothing: a rabbit enclosure in which the animals can be kept really species-appropriate, you can rarely buy in stores. Perhaps one or another element of the cage can be bought, but then it will have to be expanded or modified.
But first should ask a few basic questions – for example, the shape.
Buy outdoor enclosure
For all those who are not so talented in craftsmanship or do not have the time to build the rabbit home themselves, we present here some enclosures that come close to the perfect rabbit enclosure.
The shape of the enclosure
Should the enclosure be walkable? Or is a lower height sufficient? The rabbits themselves, of course, do not need a height of two meters, so in principle an enclosure with a height of one meter would already be sufficient. For the owner, however, it is much easier if the enclosure is accessible. After all, who wants to crawl around on their knees in the enclosure when one of the rabbits needs to be caught? In addition, the floor of the enclosure should be cleaned regularly, this is also rather difficult with a low height.
An alternative here would be a completely hinged lid. But then you have to make sure that the rabbits do not jump out – here a height of one meter would be reasonable and sufficient.
The roof of the enclosure
What shape of roof should the enclosure have? A straight roof, a sloping roof or a triangular shape? What about the texture of the roof? Which material is suitable?
The roof should be weatherproof in any case. That is, a roof made exclusively of lattice is less recommended. Instead, for example, normal roof tiles, wood or even corrugated sheet metal are suitable. In any case, it is important that the enclosure is not completely shaded and that enough light can enter the enclosure. But also a sufficient air supply is important, because heat accumulation should also not occur.
The material for the enclosure construction
Weatherproof wood is recommended for the basic framework of the enclosure. However, the supporting pillars should be dug into the ground a few centimeters deep, and it is even better if they are set firmly in concrete right away. Prefabricated elements, such as for a carport, are also suitable here. A wooden terrace partition could also serve as a weatherproof side.
Next comes the wire. A fine-meshed, stable and weather-resistant aviary wire with a thickness of approx. 1.2 mm is ideal here. The transitions between two lengths of wire must again be closed or connected with a wooden batten.
And of course, always make sure that the rabbits can not hurt themselves anywhere on a piece of wood or protruding wire!
Unfortunately, it is often forgotten, but it is extremely important: The enclosure must be completely protected from below against martens and other predators. If you don’t lay a floor of stones, you have to bury the aviary wire a little bit into the ground, so that there is no gap, no matter how small. Even an egg-sized hole can be enough for a marten to get through!
Don’t forget the door – after all, the rabbit owner needs to get into the enclosure without any problems. So that the pelt-noses do not escape when opening the door, a board or again a layer of wire should be attached behind or before it in the lower range on up to approx. 50 cm height. A fact that should never be forgotten: rabbits are extremely curious! And before you know it, they may have hopped out the door.
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