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Back when we first moved to Tennessee (only in January 2021!) we knew that we wanted to have a space for our rabbits outdoors. Currently, the 4 rabbits we have are pets but in the future we hope to have both meat and fiber rabbits. Anyways, we thought it would be best to start implementing the trial and run period of how we will eventually have things set up for future rabbits with our pet rabbits. I started researching and found very little online regarding what I wanted for our rabbits, so I thought while documenting our homesteading journey, it would also be beneficial to document the building and the learning experience along our journey. It’s also important to note that I try as much as possible to use what’s readily available and budget-friendly to eliminate excessive waste and money spend. I like to be resourceful and creative, so it kind of also incorporates all of that as well.
My hope is that you will also see that this journey of ours is work but also so very very worth it and can be maintained on any kind of budget. Not everything is going to look be Pinterest-worthy AND THAT’S OKAY!
Anyhow, below you will find videos of the complete build process for our rabbit habitat along with some discussion on what we learned along the way.
By far the hardest part was attempting to dig into our soil which is unworked clay – by hand.
What I wish we could do over (and may again in the future) would be to dig much further down than we were able to with our hand tools.
Some lessons learned:
- Clay soil is really REALLY difficult to dig into by hand.
- It’s annoying to try to weave the wire through the small gaps to intertwine the pieces.
- It’s helpful to cut the ends of one wire fence piece and fold over the other, however, this is also time-consuming and monotonous work.
- Our rabbits don’t seem to mind having the large and heavier obstacles (bricks and heavy logs along the edges of wire that wouldn’t lay flat) to prevent them from getting out and predators from getting in.
If you’re interested in setting up your own rabbit habitat or rabbit run outdoors then there’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Rabbits like to dig, hence the reason we placed hardware fence along the entire bottom of the ground. So if you’re doing something like this then you will want to place it on the ground and either cover it with something like hay to prevent injury on their paws or dig up the soil several inches in and bury mesh. If you don’t do this then you may find that they either dig tunnels deeper underground then you realize or a predator may dig in.
- Locking them away every night is NOT ALWAYS necessary. Our rabbits now get along altogether and they seem to like to snuggle up in one and eat and drink in the other. Not only that but they typically stay in their cage at night and we monitor for predators regularly. If a predator is leaving signs of its’ appearance then they get locked in, but the rabbits seem to sense when a predator is around, they go silent – I know this from experience as I heard a pack of coyotes from the house one night and went out to investigate only to find something large rustling in the trash but when I returned with assistance it was no longer present, however, the silence in the air was heavy.
- Our rabbits are very potty-trained inside their outdoor pen – no more needing to clean the cages as regularly! I cleaned out the cages shortly after placing them into this rabbit habitat but I placed the used bedding in the farthest corner from them. Well, little did I know that they would decide that that’s the permanent potty. Now they exclusively potty in that far corner.
- With the weather getting nicer we have been planting items to grow inside the pen. This includes timothy grass, clover, and dandelions. I water every day to allow for new growth but the kids also bring “bunny salad” of fresh clover, dandelions, and grass every day.