TO MAKE YOUR OWN
Important Note of Caution:
Being outside can expose rabbits to harmful threats such as
predators (dogs, cats, raccoons, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, and
etc.). We increasingly feel that mosquitoes may pose a serious
threat to rabbits -- potentially carrying infectious disease.
The feces of raccoons and opossums often carry a virus that causes
disease in rabbits. Please exercise extreme caution if you
plan to keep your rabbit outside, even if only for short periods.
You will need:
A length of
Chicken Wire fencing -- 3' or 4' widths
A pair of
hammer, or light sledge hammer
tool or Cage Clip Pliers
Hav-a-Hart clamps or Cage Clips
wooden fencing stakes/posts
It is vitally
important that you select a location where your bunnies will always
have access to some shade. Ideally, your pen will get some sunlight
as well -- especially during the winter months when deep shade will
be very chilly.
be absolutely sure that your location does not completely lose shade
at any time during the day. A bunny will die quickly if
trapped in full sun on a hot day.
It is best to
have some kind of shelter available to your bunny as well -- a
"barn" of some kind, a hutch, or even a small dog house (no
fleas please!) could be adapted to give the bunny shelter and a
feeling of security. The shelter should be something that will keep
your bunny nice and dry if it should start to rain! A wet bunny is a
cold and miserable bunny. (See the one we offer in the
advertisements at right!)
Be sure to include a "nest
box" filled with straw and/or Carefresh litter
inside the shelter, for your bunny to snuggle up in and get warm.
MUCH CHICKEN WIRE DO I NEED?
figure out where you want your bunny pen to be and what shape and size it
should have. Then measure out the four sides, and add up their length.
Then, measure the length and width of the pen's floor. When you calculate
the floor, keep in mind whether you plan to use fencing material that is
3' wide, or 4' wide.
If you want
to make a nice 4' by 6' pen for your bunnies, you would add it up as
2, 4' sides
2, 6' sides
long strip for the floor (if using 4' wide fencing)
OR... 2, 4'
long floor pieces (from 3' wide fencing), to be joined together
lengthwise (one 4' side to the other 4' side) to create a piece 4'
wide by 6' long.
this up you would need a piece of Chicken Wire fencing 26 feet long
-- for the taller, 4' width of fencing. Or, 28 feet of fencing if you
are using the shorter, 3' width of Chicken Wire fencing. Got it? If not...
ABOUT A GATE?
solution to the gate issue is build your pen so that, on one of the short
sides, you simply snip the Chicken Wire, from top to middle, in two
places. You don't need to make a third cut (from snipped side to snipped
side) and remove the piece entirely because you're going to just fold it
down, or fold it over.
don't cut the piece of fencing completely off, you will be able to make
adjustments as needed.
example, if one of your rabbits becomes an exceptionally good jumper, you
can simply refold the fencing so that your is a little taller! You can
even use the large zip ties to reattach part of the snipped area to the
rest of the fencing. (Zip ties, available at the hardware store, are
easier to work with than wire, and will not scratch children or bunnies.)
also use a zip tie or two to hold the folded fencing down, so it doesn't
flap up and scratch or trip someone.
BUYING THE SUPPLIES:
that you know how much fencing you will need, make a trip to Orchard
Supply Hardware or a similar store. (Note that many of the supplies
are also for sale on this page.) Ask them to cut you the fencing you
need. Or buy a precut package, if it's in the size you need. Make sure to buy the sturdy 1" Chicken Wire -- anything more flimsy
just won't last, and anything firmer will be too hard to work with.
"Aviary Wire" is really much nicer to use, but it will cost you a bit
to buy the other items while you're there! (If you are like me, you
should take a list!)
If you are
building the 4'x6' pen, or you will need at least 4 good sturdy metal
fencing stakes. If you're pen is larger, you will obviously need more.
If, at some
later point, you find your pen's fencing is bowing or bending a bit,
you can purchase some of those green, bamboo garden stakes to insert (vertically)
in the fencing to stiffen it up.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
step is to place the metal fencing stakes where you want them to go
and to pound them into the ground securely.
the end of the Chicken Wire fencing to one pole with the large zip ties.
unrolling the fencing and wrap it around the backside of the next
pole. Continue on to the other poles.
Take a break
here and go back to pole #2. Stretch the fencing good and taut, and
zip tie it onto the pole. Repeat the process with the other two poles.
Now bring the
fencing around the rest of the way, to the pole you began with. Zip
tie it onto the pole. Trim off the excess fencing (which you will be
using for the floor of the pen), and lay it aside.
Go ahead and
create your "gate" now, as described above. (You will need
to get inside the pen to lay out the flooring.)
gate is complete, lay the flooring piece inside the pen, and get out
your Hav-A-Hart clamps and clamping tool. Make sure the flooring is
aligned properly, then begin attaching it to the sides of the pen,
using the tool according to the directions on the package.
You may want
to just tack the fencing in place to begin with, spacing the clamps
widely at first. However, it is very important to go back over the
fencing and be sure that there are no gaps that a rabbit could
Be sure to
also use the clamps to completely secure the seam at pole #1, where
the beginning and end of the fencing meet.
If you have
used two pieces of fencing for your flooring, you can use the clamps
to securely join the seam.
You're All Finished!
There are a few additional issues that you
should keep in mind when creating your outdoor bunny pen:
One of these is that
chicken wire can rust
out and become prone to breakage. The more moisture the wire is
subjected to (for example if the pen borders on a frequently watered
garden), the faster it will rust. There are specially coated
varieties of chicken wire and etc that resist rusting. (They have a
green plastic-like coating.) But some rabbits may find this
irresistible for chewing. Be sure to examine your pen from time to time
to make sure there is no breakage (from rust or anything else) that would
allow your rabbits to escape.
Before you build your pen, you should
evaluate the creatures that may be visiting your yard. Raccoons,
although often content to snoop through your garbage, will sometimes kill
and eat small bunnies when driven to it by hunger. Once a taste has
been developed, even full sized rabbits may be attacked and killed. Other creatures
such as coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, large hawks or eagles can also be
a threat as can more domestic hunters such as dogs and cat (there are
those few cats out there that will take down a full size rabbit, though
most cats seem to largely be a danger to young rabbits).
And don't forget, no matter whether your
rabbits are in a hutch or in a pen they will leave
droppings (poop) which
will need to be cleaned up.
Although making your own pen is still the less
expensive option, portable pens have now come down so much in price, and
are so high quality that really, if we were building one of these pens
today-- we wouldn't!
We would cheat and buy two of the walk through pens shown below and
hook them together
for a nice 4 foot by 8
We love that these pens take so little work!
Plus, you can easily fold them up and move them out of the way.
Arrange to give up to 16 square feet
The included grass anchors will keep your
bunnies from scooting under the wall of the pen-- or knocking it
over. If you need more room, just buy 2 pens and join them
together! Does it get any easier?
1. Easy access door allows you
to get in and out without stepping over the pen.
2. Thick wire gauge 6,7
(frame) & 11. The smaller the number the thicker the
3. Removable pin allows you to
add additional pens for added play space.
4. No exposed screws, wires or
5. Free outdoor grass anchors
Order the 30" high pen
for just $47.99!
Order the 48" high pen now for $66.99!
9 square feet provided by 18"W x 29"H panels
Indoor/outdoor pen gives your
pet a safe, roomy place to play and exercise. Wire
panels assemble quickly and easily without tools.
Perfect for small animals, toy breed dogs, cats, and
most puppies and kittens. Note: pet use only, not to be
used as toddler's play pen.
Order it now for $38.39
The perfect hutch for use with your