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close this bookBetter Farming Series 36 - Raising Rabbits 1: Learning about Rabbits; Building the Pens; Choosing Rabbits (FAO, 1988, 56 p.)
close this folderBuilding the rabbit pens
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSome simple rabbit pens
View the documentHow to build better rabbit pens


72. Whichever materials you use, it is best to build your pens side by side, as shown below. That way, two pens will share a wall and you will need fewer materials.

73. Build your pens on legs above the ground. That way, the rabbit droppings will fall to the ground and not collect on the floor.

74. In addition, a pen on legs will help to keep the rabbits safe from other animals.

Pen on legs


Be sure to fit your pens with metal guards (see page 38) to keep rats and other small animals from getting to your rabbits.

75. A good size for a rabbit pen is 70 centimetres wide by 90 centimetres long and 50 to 60 centimetres high.

Pen sizes

76. This size of pen is good both for full- grown and for young rabbits, so, you will need to build only one size of pen.

77. Make the inside of each pen as smooth as you can. This is to keep your rabbits from hurting themselves.

78. There are many ways to build pens. If you know another farmer who raises rabbits, perhaps you can get some good ideas from him.

79. The drawings on the next page show you several simple rabbit pens that you can build easily.

80. If you want to build a better pen, the drawings on pages 22 to 43 will show you how. You will also learn how to make feeders for plants and grain and how to build nest boxes.

Some simple rabbit pens

Rabbit pen

Rabbit pen

How to build better rabbit pens

1 you will need four posts of about 10 cm in diameter for the legs and two boards of about 4 x 10 cm for the floor braces (each post should be buried in the ground about 45 cm)


2 cut the top of each of the floor braces as shown to keep the rabbit droppings from collecting on top of the boards

3 the floor braces can be attached to the posts using wood screws or bolts with nuts

Floor brace

Floor braces

Basic frame

4 build the basic frames for the pens one frame for the back and one frame for the front, as shown above and below

Basic frame

5 dig tour holes about 50 cm deep and put about 5 cm of small stones in the bottom of each hole

Dig the holes

6 put the frames in the holes and hold them straight with wood strips

Put frames in holes

7 when the frames are level, fill the holes with earth and pack it well so that the frames cannot move

8 cover the ends of the pens with wooden boards

Cover the ends of pens

9 cover the back oat the pens with wooden boards

Cover the back oat



10 build a wail and cover it with bamboo or wooden strips

Attach the wall in the centre of the pen

11 attach a 15- cm board to the front of the pens, as shown

Attach the front of the pens

Front attached

12 when the board is in place, make sure that the wall in the centre is straight and fasten the front of the wall to the board (see arrow)

13 for the floor, you can use round pieces of wood, straight tree branches or pieces of bamboo about 3 cm in diameter, with a space of no more than 1.5 cm between them

Round pieces of wood

14 if you use tree branches, be sure that they are straight or your rabbits may catch their legs and hurt themselves

Tree branches

15 when you put in the floor, be sure that the space around the edge is no wider than 1.5 cm

Space around edge

Finish boxing in the front

16 finish boxing in the front of the pens using 10 cm boards making sure that the openings are square and straight

17 attach four pieces of wood to the inside corners of each pen (see arrows) to hold the pen doors on the inside

Attach four pieces of wood

18 attach four small wooden blocks that can be turned and a strip of wood (see arrows), to hold the pen doors on the outside

Attach four small wooden blocks

19 build a roof for the pens using wooden boards about 2 cm thick and of any width

Build the roof

20 cover the roof with a piece of sheet metal or pieces of tin cut from cans

Cover with sheet metal

Or cover with pieces of tin

Note: if you use pieces cut from cans, begin by putting the first piece of tin at the bottom of the roof and overlap the edges of each piece of tin above it

21 build door frames for both pens; one to close the whole pen and another smaller door to fit inside the larger door

Build door frames

22 cover the inside of the large and small door with wooden strips as shown below

A plant feeder

23 make a plant container using two pieces of wood and close it with wooden strips

A water container

24 make a water container using a bottle and a tin, such as a sardine tin

Sardine tin

25 attach the plant container to the large door and the water container to the small door

Attach them all

26 attach the small door to the large door

Attach the small to the large door

Ways to attach the small door

27 you can attach the small door using metal hinges or strips of leather

Using metal hinges or strips of leather

28 when the small door is closed you can hold it in place with a hook and eye, a wooden block and screw, or a leather strap and a wooden pin

29 to finish the pens, put the large door and the small door in place in each pen and attach a rat guard to each of the legs

Put the doors in place

Attach the rat guards

How to make a rat guard

30 you can make rat guards for each of the legs of your pens using a piece of tin

Cut a circle for each rat guard

Three kinds of grain feeders

31 for a grain feeder you can use a hollow piece of bamboo or a dish or other container. Attach the feeder to a piece of wood to keep the rabbits from spilling their food



32 you can also make a grain feeder using tin or metal

The grain in the holder will slide down as your rabbits eat

The grain holder will slide down

Two kinds of nest boxes

Nest box

33 build a nest box for each female rabbit using wood about 1.5 cm thick

Nest box

Some other ideas for your pens

34 you can dig a pit near your pens to hold the rabbit droppings note: rabbit droppings make a good fertilizer for your garden

Dig a pit

35 if there are small animals that might harm your rabbits, build a fence around your pens

Build a fence

36 if it rains a lot where you live, build a shelter over your pens to keep your rabbits dry

Build a shelter

37 plastic sheets that can be rolled up and down will also help to keep your rabbits dry and to protect them from wind

Put plastic sheets