Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?
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Thread: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

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    Senior Member Eyssa's Avatar
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    Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    Yeah, I'm asking about rabbits again.

    Right now my rabbit run is a makeshift-toss-together little thing built out of large pieces of flake wood in a tepee formation. It's fairly nice-sized and there's tons of grass in there for the rabbits to chomp on, but I'd still like something a little larger so that my rabbits can have more exercise whenever they're out of their hutches... not to mention that it's really hard to play catch-the-bunny whenever it's time to put them back in their hutches.

    That's where our old dog kennel comes in. We got it for when we needed to keep one of our dogs outdoors, but she destroyed one wall... so now it's three-sided but other than that still in one piece. I'm not entirely sure how to convert it into a rabbit run, seeing as one side is missing (though I think I can prop it against a wall of the house or something) and it doesn't really sit even on the ground (because our yard is very lumpy and hilly). Would anyone have any plans or suggestions on how to make it safe for rabbit usage? And would some sort of a roof be a necessity?

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    Senior Member ozzy29's Avatar
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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    Some pic would help. But you could try to close in the last side with wire screen, it is really cheap and very flexible. I would not recommend leaving the rabbits out for a long time alone in the kennel, they will dig under the fence.
    Hope this might help.

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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    Yeah, some kind of top if you're going to leave them unattended, because hawks might get them. And a wire bottom, because they will dig out if they can. You can put a thick layer of straw down on top of the wire so their feet don't get hurt. You can make a new side for the kennel with wire, too.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    What kind of rabbits are they? How big? My son and I breed and show netherland dwarfs (and we use to also be into french lops and flemish giants). What I would suggest is that you can use it withthe 3 existing sides the way they are. Go to tractor supply and pick up a small roll of 48" tall cattle fence with the 1"x2" holes and use that for your open side. It's pretty cheap and can be affixed with wire or zip ties. Also to avoid digging out most rabbits don't like digging in gravel so if you put a 2 foot area around the inside of the cage (plus you can bury about a foot of the extra kennel fence as added deterrant) you should be able to avoid the digging out issue. A girl I know keeps 3 of my french lops that she bought in an old aviary cage it's like 40 feet long. She just lined the inside of it with old tree stumps (like drift wood) and stone and that keeps them in. The old logs are so fun they never want to leave. They'd rather hollow the logs than dig out. You can also line the perimeter of the inside in the gravel with marigolds. Rabbits really dislike marigolds. I plant a permiter of them around my little garden and it never gets decimated any more. My hostas on the other hand outside the garden are fair game tho The more interesting you make the inside of the pen the less likely they will have an interest to dig out. My friend buried a couple hollow logs and stacked like a beaver dam type thing and they made a warren in it! All in all maybe looking at spending $50 bucks to complete the pen and I think you'll have a nice little rabbit haven. Absolutely cover the top to avoid predatory birds, cats and raccoons, and you may want to get some fine gague wire (like 1/2"x1/2" holes and put a 2 foot run of it around the bottom of the pen on the inside to prevent curious little cat or dog paws from poking in and getting at the bunnies. This is generally referred to as "baby saver wire". You already said that you are making or have made a house for them. You can also use an old small dog house or an old airline crate with the gate taken off as a good shelter. Remember that if the temperatures get above 80 degrees F that you'll want to freeze some water in 2 liter bottles and place themin there. You'll se the rabbits cozy up to them to cool off. Finally ALWAYS make sure your rabbit has shade. Never leave a rabbit out in direct sunlight, esp. the red eyed ones. They're eyes are super sensitive to sunlight and for all rabbits they succumb FAST to heat stroke.

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    Senior Member Eyssa's Avatar
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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    It pretty much looks like this: http://www.fencebuilt.com/uploads/im...are_kennel.gif, with a six-foot high wall and one wall (unfortunately the wall with the door) missing, but like I said otherwise in one piece and definitely salvageable. A top and a wire bottom sounds like a really good good idea, and I'm sure I can find something inexpensive at Tractor Supply or the feed mill.

    I have seven rabbits altogether: an Angora, a Lionhead, and four Angora/Lionhead crosses. The biggest one weights probably five or six pounds, so they're not too big. In that case, like you said it would probably be best to put fine gauge wire around the bottom... not only am I worried about dogs and cats getting at them, but they could probably find a way through the spaces in the kennel's wire.

    And yes, I do have a house for them... it's a large dog-sized dog house which I can fill with straw and have a nice place for them to hide in. The logs are a very good idea and I think they'd enjoy that, and I certainly won't have a hard time finding any. I think a large tarp draped over one side will also help to keep direct sunlight out and give them a nice shady area.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions!!

    EDIT: Oh, and another question... should I worry too much about snakes? And if so, are there any precautions I can take to keeping them away from my rabbits when they're in their run?

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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    With the fencing that I have, the 1"x2" spacing, my netherlands can't get thru (unless they're babies, then they can, hence the "baby saver wire". I don't think that if your smallest rabbit is a lionhead that you'd have any problems. Ugh all that hair in natural grass... you must be a brushing fool. I can't imagin all the stuff their coats must pick up. Also honestly I think that a wire bottom is overkill. Isn't the point of having an outdoor shelter for them to get them OFF the wire? I think if you sink some wire into the ground and spred the gravel (larger stone approx 1") you won't have an issue. Also if you are using a dog house type enclosure for them, you're going to want to cut a piece if plywood and put a hole in it just big enough for the rabbit to get thru (like 3-4 inch diameter) and cover the access door, that way if something DOES get into their pen they likely won't be able to get into the hide for the bunnies and they can escape. Make sure you actually put wire over the top and don't just trust a tarp will keep out predatory birds (but using it for shade is a good idea). I have seen/heard stories of hawks, falcons, racoons even rats tearing right thru a tarp to get to outside bunnies so be careful with that.
    Last edited by Dog_Shrink; 05-21-2010 at 11:24 AM.

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    Senior Member Eyssa's Avatar
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    Re: Dog kennel to rabbit run... ideas?

    Actually, the Lionhead isn't the problem... It's my Angora who's a pain in the behind. I have to brush him every couple days or he'll get those little mats on his chest and behind, and him romping around in the grass doesn't help.

    By sinking the wire into the ground, I assume you mean just burying it around the border, right? So they hit the mesh if they try to dig out? Honestly, to tell you the truth, I've never had trouble with my rabbits digging. They're pretty much satisfied to just run and nibble grass. The only thing I'm worried about is predators trying to dig in...

    The dog house/plywood front is a great idea, and I have tons of plywood so as long as I can get someone to cut a hole out for me it shouldn't be a big thing. And I'll definitely invest in a good wire top and just use the tarp for shade. Hawks and things really scare me when it comes to the rabbits... and we've got plenty of those around here.

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