Chicken wire for rabbitry: ok or not?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Gomanson, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Gomanson

    Gomanson Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2009

    I want to raise meat/fur rabbits. I've been slowly making plans for location, protection, feed sources, etc. Everything I've found online regarding cage design calls for 1x2" hardware cloth for the walls and floor. My question is: Is there something wrong with chicken wire for this purpose? From my inexperienced view, chicken wire is cheaper, more available, easier to work with, and is the perfect size for both poop falling out and predators staying out. What am I missing, or can it be used.

    Our local big box hardware stores don't have 1/2" hardware cloth. Only a "critter fence" for keeping animals out of gardens. It starts off 1x2" for the lower 4 inches, but then the hole size steadily increases as you move up the roll.
  2. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    Well in my experience, rabbits can chew through chicken wire even on the side walls. You need something heavier especially on the floor. It stretches and a heavy meat rabbit will have it bent out almost immediately. With urine on it, it will rust through and break out rather quickly too.
  3. BeccaB00

    BeccaB00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2010
    Chicken wire generally doesn't have the strength to hold up a rabbits weight,

    and will be destroyed by the bunny chewing it. You need somthing strong, and

    tight so the bunny cannot chew it into, and so that the bunnies weight will not

    eventually kill the wire.

  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    When I was a boy we lost a dozen rabbits because a bobcat tore holes in the chicken wire our cages were made from. It hasn't gotten any better of the years. I'd use half-inch hardware cloth at a minimum.
  5. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    I think you need the same preditor proofing you would use for chickens. Check out the Preditors & Pest section to read up on what can happen when folks use chicken wire that keeps chickens in but NOTHING out.

    Chicken wire gage is large enough for coons, posums, etc. to reach through and grab your little bunnies.
  6. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Standard Rabbit cages are made with 1"x2" welded wire sides and 1/2"x1" welded wire flooring. The floor should be galvanized after welding or it will rust out very quickly. 14 gauge for the floor is best.
    Unless you need a bunch of them it is better to order the kits from:
    You may also be able to pick some up at your local feed store. However they are usually the cheap versions so inspect them carefully before you buy.

    A friend built her entire rabbitry using galvanized before welding floors. They lasted about 9 months in her breeding cages.

    Also make sure you will be able to reach all the way into the cages to get the rabbits out. I am 5'7" and can just barely reach the back of my 30" cages.
  7. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    It would be terrible to invest all that time and money in planning and stock and (inferior) housing, only to have it all quickly destroyed because of incorrect wire that will stress & injure the rabbits and expose them to a host of other dangers.

    Chicken wire is not economical in the least for rabbit use, since it'll actually end up costing you several times more (and you and them lots of grief) than investing in the correct wire to begin with. [​IMG] At the least, protecting your investment is the only way to go.

    I use all 1/2" x 1" and it costs about $18-$20 per 36" x 30" cage, including hardware, latches, and door guards. Maybe you can locate used cages or go in with a friend on a roll of wire. (But if you're going to have, say, 3 does and a couple of bucks, you'll pretty much use an entire 100' roll for the number of cages you'll need).

    Good luck in starting out!
  8. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    [​IMG] What they said.

    Chicken wire will corrode from urine very fast, not to mention it is just too big.
  9. Lifesong Farm

    Lifesong Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2010
    Noble County
    Ditto what everyone else said and adding even if it was strong enough to hold the weight of the rabbits the babies would fall through the floor. Then there is the issue of how corrosive rabbit urine is. That stuff will eat through cheap wire like a hot knife through butter.

    ETA I should have read the last post before adding the urine comment.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

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