DIY Wire Rabbit Cages and Equipment

Your rabbitry dreams move from concept to reality with these plans for rabbit houses.

| 2012 Guide to Backyard Rabbits

It’s an incident I’ll surely remember for as long as we garden. One day last summer, I walked out to the backyard – either heading out to feed the hens or towards the garden for an early-afternoon watering, I don’t remember which — and something caught my eye in our lettuce patch.

One of the neighborhood rabbits, belly apparently as full as could be, lay there, passed out amongst the greens. As I got close, he came to, struggled to his feet like an overweight hobo waking up to catch a train, and — looking more like a tortoise than a hare — ambled off, leaving behind a barren patch of greens and garden soil that my sweat had fallen upon during early season preparation.

In the moments that followed, I started thinking about rabbit traps and bunny recipes.

Then, a funny thing happened while cruising the pages of GRIT’s 2012 Guide to Backyard Rabbits and seeing the efficiency and logic in raising rabbits in small spaces: I began entertaining the idea of having my own backyard rabbitry.

Be it chickens, bees, pigs or rabbits, the first step towards keeping any type of backyard animal is looking at the required housing and equipment. When it comes to raising rabbits in your backyard, multiple options lend themselves to creatively deciding which type of structure will provide your rabbits the highest quality of life.

Rabbit houses: indoors or out?

The first major decision is whether your rabbitry — or really, your location and space — is better suited to keeping rabbits inside or out. These critters are most comfortable at 50 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can withstand temperatures well below freezing and higher than 100, if their cages — the place where they will most likely spend nearly all of their time — are set up to make conditions most optimal.

4/1/2018 10:52:10 AM

While I completely agree that solid wire is more durable, cleaner, will last longer, has great ventilation, and offers easier access to animals than my big old wooden hutches that do get rather nasty in the corners from urine, I still gotta stay with the wood. Mostly because I live in the upper midwest where temps get below zero frequently in the winter and I just like having the enclosed end of the hutch for warmth. I purchased the book, How to Build Animal Housing, by Carol Ekarius, from Chelsea Green Publications. They have a great design in the poultry area they call an ark. It is a portable coop and we use it for the rabbits also. It lets us move them over top of our garden beds in the fall and spring and it puts them closer to the house for me to care for them. This is when we do clean up on the hutches and replace the floors if needed. I am not a huge operation though, we have 4 Champagnes and I like to keep 8-10 New Zealand's for personal meat consumption, 4H projects and my own personal hand made creations.

8/23/2013 4:10:53 PM

I must have the only 2 rabbits in the world that can't reproduce. I bought a breeding set ; 1 male and 2 females. It's been several months and no luck. These are nice looking cages.

Kevin Newman
8/23/2013 8:15:03 AM

Last Friday I paid a visit to Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA. I was very impressed with his approach to Rabbit farming. He houses his Rabbits, and his older, less productive, layers in the same building, called a Raken house. The rabbits are in elevated cages with open mesh floors and the layers (and some roosters) were wandering the floor below them. The rabbit droppings fall to the floor and the chickens scratch through them for nutrients. Rabbit and chicken droppings are mixed in the bedding material by the chickens, creating great compost. This process is managed by his son Daniel. I was thinking that this would be a great way to prep a garden patch for the spring, you could set up a portable hoophouse over the chosen garden spot in the fall through the winter (depending on your climate), and till in the compost in the spring before planting. You could even set up a rotational concept and place your hoophouse or multiple hoophouses (depending on your needs) over some areas that need soil enrichment, to prepare them for future use.

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