Rabbits apparently enjoy time spent outside grazing on grass. This is a healthy and fun treat for them. But being allowed to roam too freely puts them in danger from dogs, cats and hunting birds. The best way to keep them safe and still allow them access to the fresh air is to build them a rabbit run.
Cut with the hacksaw through supporting rods of one 1.8 m (6 foot) section of wire shelving to produce two 90 cm (3 foot) sections. Cut close to the perpendicular wires to reduce snagging. Trim the other piece to remove the extending rods with the hacksaw. You should now have two matching pieces of shelving.
Place one long piece and one short piece of your shelving end to end, lying flat on the ground with the 2.5 cm (1 inch) lip aligned and facing up. Connect the two pieces in at least four spots, extending from the bottom to the top using the plastic zip ties. Do not tighten ties all the way at this point. Align another long piece of wire shelving at the end of the short piece and connect this with at least four plastic zip ties, leaving them slightly loose again. Repeat the process for the final long section of shelving.
Flip the sections over, so they are roughly lying on top of each other. Loosely attach the two unconnected ends to each other at the top and the bottom with plastic zip ties.
Stand the whole thing up on its edge with the lip sitting on the ground. Spread the sections, so they form a box with 90-degree angles at each corner. Place the sections where you want the rabbit run to stay.
Place the metal garden stakes in each of the four corners of the box and drive them into the ground with the 900 g (2 lb) hammer. Attach the walls to the stakes with plastic zip ties.
Lay the two remaining sections of shelving, side-by-side, so the lips are facing up on opposite edges. Connect these two pieces of shelving with at least six plastic zip ties. Do not over-tighten the ties as you want the joint to be flexible. This section will form your peaked roof.
Lift the two-piece roof up and flip over, so the lips are facing inward. Move the roof section over to the sections that form the walls of the rabbit run. Slide the roof down over the tops of the garden stakes and attach to the two long sides with plastic zip ties.
Cut the chicken wire to fit the open ends of the roof with the scissors, leaving enough excess to wrap around the roof edges and zip tie together. Wrap the chicken wire firmly around each roof edge and secure tightly enough that the rabbit cannot escape. On the non-door side, you also may attach the chicken wire to the wire shelving.
Tighten all the plastic zip ties, except on the one short end where you only placed two. This will be your door. Cut through the two plastic zip ties that were used to hold the structure together. Use the two small carabiners to secure this section.
Place the tarpaulin or plastic tablecloth over the southern or western end of the rabbit run to provide shade. Secure it by tying the ends to the shelving.
You can increase the run to almost any length you want, but extending the width will require a different roofing scheme. Check frequently that your rabbit is not digging a hole out of the run. Paint the cut edges of the plastic shelving to reduce rust and increase the lifetime of the rabbit run.
The cut metal edges of the plastic shelving are sharp and dangerous. Use only the narrow spaced shelves, so the rabbit cannot get its head between the bars. Bend all the edges of the chicken wire flat.
Tips and warnings
- You can increase the run to almost any length you want, but extending the width will require a different roofing scheme.
- Check frequently that your rabbit is not digging a hole out of the run.
- Paint the cut edges of the plastic shelving to reduce rust and increase the lifetime of the rabbit run.
- The cut metal edges of the plastic shelving are sharp and dangerous.
- Use only the narrow spaced shelves, so the rabbit cannot get its head between the bars.
- Bend all the edges of the chicken wire flat.