Rabbit runs, the different types and safety tips

In addition to the hutch or housing issue, rabbit runs are essential to a rabbit for exercise, and in allowing them to run around and occupy themselves.

In their natural habitat a rabbit can cover up to the equivalent of 5 tennis courts in a day, so it is essential your own rabbit has exercise.

Obviously, if yours is a house rabbit and has the freedom of a room or rooms then the run is not an issue.

When considering the size of your rabbit's run, the answer is simply as large as can be sensibly allowed. Depending on the rabbit's size, the minimum size of the run should be in the area of 6' by 4' (1.8m by 1.2m). It should also be tall enough for the rabbit to be able to stand on its hind legs.

Where possible it is better to have the run attached to the hutch/housing accommodation, allowing the rabbit to run in and out of its hutch.

There are hutches that come with an attached run, either to one side or underneath. Alternatively, you could attach or build a run to a shed or an existing shed.

Some of the common examples of rabbit runs you can purchase are;

The Apex Run

This is a triangular run made of timber and wire mesh. Some of these runs come with a small housing area whilst others do not.

Advantages: It can be folded away when not used. It can be moved to different parts of the garden thereby allowing the rabbit to have fresh grazing/grass area from time to time.

Disadvantages: It does not allow enough space for the rabbit. Needs pegging or weighing down to make it secure.

Could be considered useful as an additional exercise area.

Plain Wooden Frame Run

This run has a plain wooden frame with wire mesh covering. These rabbit runs come in various sizes from small to quite large and can be assembled yourself.

Advantages: They can be placed over a small hutch or housing to incorporate a covered shelter. They can be moved around giving the rabbit fresh grazing/grass area from time to time.

Disadvantages: They are usually light and can be moved by a predator, so need pegging or weighing down. They do not come with a sheltered area, so you will need to incorporate something into the run, as previously mentioned.

Metal Runs

There are varying types of 'all' metal rabbit runs

Advantages: You can combine these with other runs or hutches to make an area that suits you. You can incorporate a sheltered area. Again, they can be moved around garden to provide fresh grazing/grass area.

Disadvantages: They are light so will need pegging or weighing down.

Note: There are some 'all' metal runs/pens and wooded runs/pens that do not have a roof. They may be the type of metal pens that have panels which can be clipped together.

A major disadvantage is that without a roof you would need to constantly supervise the rabbit while in the run, unless you construct or add a sturdy roof.

Never leave a rabbit/s alone in a run/pen without a secure roof for any period of time. Owing to predators, a roofless run or pen is guaranteed to ends in tears.

You can add a run, or build one yourself to an existing garden shed, as above, or similar.

Some people adjoin a bird aviary or small converted greenhouse to a shed, which allows you the comfort of walking into the run rather than having to stoop down.

If this is a preferred option, remember that a greenhouse used for this purpose must be covered in wire mesh and not glass or perspex.

In the summer the rabbits would come to serious harm or death with the sun beating through glass or perspex.

Rabbit Run Safety tips.

All rabbit runs, whether the temporary type you move or permanent, must be secured and unable to be moved around by the wind or predators.

Rabbits are expert diggers as are foxes. You need to ensure the rabbit cannot burrow out of the run and the fox cannot dig into the run.

There are various ways of solving this. The perimeter of the run can be on paving slabs but occasional checking would be required as the rabbit could start digging anywhere within the run and burrow under the slabs.

The best solution with a permanent run, is to dig down and hollow out a trench, underneath where the perimeter will be. In the trench you can either bury wire mesh into the ground or fill with concrete or stone. The trench should be at least 8" (20cm) deep.

The wire covering of the run must be strong wire mesh attached firmly to the framework. The mesh should be small enough to prevent predators putting their paws through. Chicken wire is not a good option since it is easier to bite through.

All runs must have a roof that is secure and cannot be moved by a predator or the wind. Rabbits can jump very high from a platform, especially when young, and in any event with no roof a cat or fox will get into the run.

If the run is of the type that does not provide housing or shelter of any kind, then you need to provide some. A simple box will suffice if you do not wish to incorporate a hutch.

The housing is for protection from bad weather as well as for the rabbit to run to, if scared.

Leave ' Rabbit Runs' page and return to' Hutches & Housing' page

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