Whether it’s to stop your rabbit digging out of their house or to make sure predators don’t get in, you need your rabbit hutch and run to be secure. We’ll tell you what you need to dig-proof a rabbit run and show you step-by-step measures you can take to make your hutch and run safe.
How do you dig proof a rabbit run enclosure?
It can be a balancing act.
On one hand, you want to prevent rabbit escapes and predator incursions. On the other hand, digging is a natural rabbit behaviour. And you want to make sure your rabbits can engage in that behaviour…to a degree.
There are a few different ways to make your rabbit hutch and rabbit run secure. You can put it on top of a cement slab, for example or put it on a gravel bed. But we’re going to focus on three methods that are cheaper, easier, and allow your rabbits access to grass and dirt.
What You’ll Need
- Measuring tape or a ruler
For Methods 1 and 2:
- Chicken wire or other tough mesh
- Wire cutters or metal snips
- Hammer and nails or zip ties
- Garden netting spikes
- A spade
For Method 3:
- Paving stones
Here’s how to secure your enclosure, step by step.
One method is to fortify the perimeter of your rabbits’ enclosure with metal mesh. Watch how one person does it in the video below.
Step 1: Measure Your Perimeter
Use your measuring tape to measure around the perimeter of your rabbits’ run. Make sure the mesh is at least two feet in height.
Step 2: Cut Your Wire
Roll out your mesh. Measure out the length that you need. It might be easier to cut lengths corresponding to each of the walls, rather than attempting to wrap the fortification around the entire perimeter.
Step 3: Fold
Fold your wire lengthwise to a 90-degree angle. It should now be a long L-shape.
Step 4: Placement
Where you place your barrier depends on which type of digging you want to prevent.
If you want to keep your rabbits from escaping, place your “L” inside the run, so that the vertical piece sits against the wall and the horizontal piece lays on the ground like a canopy.
Now, secure the barrier to the run with zip ties, or by nailing it to the run’s wooden frame. Secure the canopy part to the ground with garden netting spikes.
If you want to keep out unwanted visitors, place the “L” on the outside of the rabbits’ hutch and secure the same way.
For additional protection, you can make a canopy both inside and the outside of the perimeter.
Method 2 involves burying your barrier vertically, rather than making a canopy.
Step 1: Measure and Cut
Measure and cut your chicken wire, just as you would for Method 1. Again, it may be easier if you cut a segment to fortify each wall, rather than attempting to wrap the wire all the way around the perimeter.
Step 2: Dig
Using your spade, dig ten to twelve inches (26 to 31 centimetres) down around the perimeter. You can put this barrier on the outside or the inside. Either way, though, make sure to stay close to the wall, as you’ll be securing the top of the barrier to the wall.
Step 3: Insert the Wire
Place the wire in the ditch, so that it sits along the bottom. Replace the dirt so that it holds up the barrier.
Step 4: Secure
Secure the wire to the walls using either nails or zip ties.
Wire provides strong proof against predation and escape. But there are other materials you can use, as well.
While placing your run on top of a bed of gravel or a cement slab will effectively stop digging on all sides, it can be expensive and difficult.
You can achieve a similar effect by placing paving stones along the perimeter either inside or outside of the run.
Not only will your rabbits not be able to get through the stones, but if they try, you might not have to clip their nails as often!
This rabbit owner made a similar fortification for their rabbit run using carpet remnants.
Digging is Natural and Beneficial
You don’t want your rabbits to dig out, of course. But digging is a natural behaviour that satisfies a number of purposes, including:
- Providing a cosy place to sleep
- Hiding from predators and other dangers
- Accessing grass and plants
- Keeping nails worn down
- Staying fit and active
- Mental stimulation
You can satisfy this rabbit instinct by building them a digging and forage box for their hutch or run. This is a simple and inexpensive way to redirect that digging urge.
Watch one owner make a box here.
Fill your digging box with grass, bedding, shredded newspaper, or dirt. Make sure to bury rabbit-safe toys and food treats for your rabbits to find.
You can also use cardboard boxes and tubes to create an above-ground house or burrow for your rabbit hutch or run. This is good for enrichment, and can provide a hiding place to help your rabbit feel safe and secure during the day.
Can You Dig It?
The urge to dig is natural for a rabbit. But no one wants their rabbits to run away, or for predators to get inside the hutch.
If you dig proof your hutch and run, it can help to keep your rabbit safe from predators, as well as from becoming lost.
At the same time, it’s important to give your rabbits opportunities to perform natural rabbit behaviours, including digging.
Do you have a favourite dig-proofing method? Or have you created any fabulous enrichment you’d like to share?
We’d love to hear about it!