The next step to raising meat rabbits was to provide a roomy pen for them to grow up in. My rabbits had 7 babies in one litter and 9 babies in the other so the cages I put them in were rapidly getting too small. I built exercise pens for them to run around in during the day but that didn’t protect them from predators in the night. I needed something they could run around in, that I could move around the yard and that would protect them at night. I figured out that a rabbit tractor would be just the thing. You have heard of a chicken tractor, I am sure. Well, what about one for rabbits?
My first thought was to make the whole thing out of PVC and chicken wire so that it would be super light weight. I am no engineer that is for sure! I say this because that plan was an epic failure. Every time I tried to put the arched PVC on the frame, it bent out, way out. A wooden frame against the ground was what we ended up going with.
Step 1: We made a rectangle frame out of 2X4 that measured 4x8ft.
Step 2: We already had 8ft arched PVC poles from another garden project. Those were screwed into the inside of our rectangle wood frame with D clamps. We placed 1 arch on each end and 3 in the middle, so 5 in all.
Step 3: attach a 8ft long straight PVC pole across the top of arches with zip ties to provide support.
Step 4: Use 4ft wide chicken wire to stretch across the arched PVC. Staple the chicken wire onto the 2×4 on one side then turn frame on it’s side, stretch the wire tight and staple to the 2×4 on the other side.
Step 5: Use scrap piece of chicken wire to cover the end of pen with, attach with zip ties and bend the end of chicken wire into wire on top.
Step 6: I used an old window screen a neighbor had given me to wedge into the opening on the other end. That left plenty of room for me to reach in over the screen to feed and water. This leaves the top part open so I have to get busy designing a top door that will protect against predators. Right now I just put wire yard cloth and prop a pallet against the door at night but I will post when I have completed the top door this weekend.
Step 7: Throw a tarp on for rain and shade protection. Attach it with zip ties.
Dishes for food and water and you are done.
A friend of mine who lives farther out in the country than I do showed me where a Bobcat or maybe Mountain Lion had torn right through her chicken wire on her coop. If you have lots of predators around then switch the chicken wire out for wire yard cloth as they found the big cats couldn’t get through that.
If you have some property you could move your rabbit tractor around on your
lawn. Maybe even plant some clover or something they could munch on. That would be as close to pasturing rabbits you can get on a small scale. I move mine around my backyard then rake up the left over straw and pellets to put on my garden for mulch. I have not had any trouble with them digging out yet. They do have small holes dug just about the time I move them to a new spot and they have to start all over. I will let everyone know if it becomes a problem. They are 11 wks old now and have been in the pen for about 3 weeks. Update on pen here.
I have to close with a HUGE thank you to my wonderful husband for helping with this project from start to finish! Homesteading is really my thing. I enjoy it most of the time. But there are times when I am feeling overwhelmed with the work involved especially when it is pushing 100 degrees. My hubby seems to be able to clue in on this and step in just when I need him most. My night in shining armor. Well my knight in a baseball hat and shorts. I love him so!
This post was shared on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop