You wish to offer a green area to your rabbit or rodents? Discover all our advice on how to build the ideal enclosure for your rabbit or rodent.
Where to place the pen?
It is important to think first about where to place your rabbit pen. Two parameters must be taken into account: both the practical aspect and the aesthetic aspect. If possible, it is best to choose a flat piece of land, not too far from your house, both to get there quickly and to be able to look at your animals from your windows. You should use all the assets of your land, for example a tree for shade, a hedge to protect from the wind… Don’t hesitate to try several “life-size” options by laying bricks or other artifices to evaluate the chosen location. Don’t forget that the enclosure must not be exposed to full sun or drafts.
What type of enclosure to choose?
There are many different types of enclosures, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the different possibilities available to you:
The “classic” pen is a wooden pen, with wooden or mesh walls and a flat roof. This type of pen is ideal for a large pen with several rabbits. It is very practical, especially when you need to clean it! The rabbits also have great freedom of movement. However, this type of pen requires a lot of material and therefore requires a rather high budget. The flow of rain or snow is not optimal.
The so-called “pyramid” pen is a rectangular pen with walls and a roof forming a triangle, a pyramid. This type of pen is less expensive than a standard pen and is just as spacious for rabbits. On the other hand, it is not easy to clean because of the low height in places and the corners.
The “garden house” can be purchased directly from the store (garden shed). It is very spacious and aesthetically pleasing. It can be customized if combined with an open park. It offers good weather resistance. On the other hand, it is quite expensive.
The open park is a large fenced enclosure with electric wires in height (about 2 meters above the ground). This enclosure is not covered (thus more “natural” aesthetically), but it offers less protection against predators (foxes, birds …) and weather.
Industrial hutches have the advantage of being directly ready for use. However, they are quite expensive, not very spacious and wear out very quickly. There is usually no floor and the closures are fragile. It is therefore imperative to add a floor (concrete slab, etc.) and consolidate the closures.
In any case, do not forget to secure the enclosure or hutch against the action of predators, even in town! (dog, cat, fox, weasel, bird…). Don’t forget also that the built enclosure must be easy to clean in order to guarantee an irreproachable hygiene to your pet.
The size of the enclosure
Generally, it is advisable to build a pen offering at least 2 m² per rabbit, the ideal being 6 m² for two rabbits, especially if the rabbits never leave the pen.
Materials to use
Different types of materials are frequently used. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
Wood. Solid, inexpensive, handy, it is the most commonly used material. Different types of wood are at your disposal (solid wood / wood panels, treated wood / raw wood …). The price is variable but also the solidity, the longevity, the resistance to bad weather…
For roofing, corrugated bituminous sheets are generally used. It is a simple solution, easy to implement, inexpensive and resistant. However, it should be noted that a mesh must be placed under the plates, as some predators could squeeze between the corrugations! It is also possible to use wood, tiles or PVC for the roof construction.
To avoid: sheet metal, which does not resist heat well in the summer. This would not turn your enclosure into a sauna!
The fence. You must use a solid, rectangular mesh (maximum 2 x 2 cm), made of zinc. The wire must be thick enough.
The floor of the pen must prevent rabbits from digging tunnels and predators from entering the pen. Several solutions are possible, such as :
Soil and grass: the most natural solution, but the wire mesh must be well placed to prevent the rabbit from escaping.
Slabs (concrete, wood): solution that offers the greatest stability and protection. They are easy to clean and lay
Lawn tiles: this solution allows the ground to drain properly; they are also easy to lay. On the other hand, they do not offer optimal comfort for your rabbit.
The purchase of the paddock is a time saver.
You can also save time, especially if you’re not a handyman, by buying your ready-made rabbit pen or hutch. The wide choice offered by pet stores will allow you to find the one that suits you.
How to set up the pen?
Once the construction of the enclosure is finished, you should think about “furnishing” it, equip it for your rabbit! In particular, you must provide it with
Hiding places: you must provide hiding places with 2 entrances, insulated from the cold for the winter. You must reproduce the tunnels and galleries of the rabbit’s natural habitat with artifices: use your imagination!
Heights: the rabbit likes to perch high up to watch the surroundings! So don’t forget to provide him with raised surfaces.
Digging: It’s part of the rabbit’s natural behavior. Therefore, it is necessary to add earth, shavings, sand, straw… in a part of the enclosure so that the rabbit can dig at his ease.
Some ideas of accessories to decorate your rabbit’s enclosure: hollowed out trunk, straw bale, house, wooden crate, flower pot, drain pipe, wicker basket, sandpit, branches, stump, niche, etc.