Best Outdoor Rabbitry Setup Ideas For The Backyard Farmer

Alright, let’s talk about the best outdoor rabbitry setup for both the rabbit’s health and ease of use.

Let me clarify that by outdoor rabbitry set up I simply mean that they are not in your home while I will show examples with multiple rabbits this guide will be helpful for you even if you just have pet rabbits and want them to stay outside. (Which is totally fine by the way. Don’t feel guilty for it.)

outdoor rabbitry set up post inro image

Work With What You Have To Use To Set Up Your Rabbitry

Well, you may only have one or two options but I am going to talk first about what your rabbits need to stay healthy and safe. And thats ok. Work with what you’ve got.

Also if you are starting your own rabbitry either to raise them for show, meat for your hobby farm, or even as a business and side income stream.... start ugly. For the first 6+ years, my rabbit hutches were what I could find and repair off of Craigslist. Slowly I built my favorite set up lean-to style hutches and it took probably 10 years until that’s all I had.

Don’t break the bank trying to make everything pretty. Make sure you want to stick with raising rabbits before investing so heavily into them.

Look around your property for ideas you can have a mental checklist if the rabbitry setup meets the necessary qualifications. 

Do the best you can with what you’ve got when choosing a place for your rabbit’s outdoor housing.

Rabbit Raising Check List

Get the exact steps you need to start raising rabbits and create a plan around starting your rabbitry.

Shelter Or Outbuilding

Your rabbits need some form of shelter for their outdoor housing. They can’t just be outside in a wire cage and not be able to get out of the elements. Personally, I don’t think a frame with a roof on it is enough either depending on where you live. Three sides on the rabbit enclosure is a must so they can get out of the rain and wind if necessary.

 You don’t have to have a special rabbit barn but you should NOT have rabbits with chickens or mixed in with other animals. This is a sure way for your rabbits to get respiratory issues.

outdoor rabbitry set up outside a barn

The Two Keys To An Outdoor Rabbitry Setup

Temperature and airflow

Both of these things are equally important to the health of your herd. If the rabbits are too hot they will get heatstroke and airflow is paramount to healthy respiratory systems.

I personally believe that it also affects your rabbit’s production and litter health.

Every time I walk to someone having health issues in their rabbitry they almost always have to do with a lack of airflow.

Temperatures between 50-75 degrees out of direct sunlight is ideal for rabbits. But nowhere in the world does it stay that consistent all year long. 

Airflow or shift every 10 minutes is ideal and they are not going to get that if they are in an enclosed situation.

Let’s get into some tips you can do to keep your rabbit housing temperatures where they need to be.

leanto style rabbitry hutch

How To Get The Best Temperature And Airflow In Your Rabbitry Setup

People think that being in a barn, outbuilding, or garage is the best option for their rabbits but I have to disagree.

The coolest and best airflow option is going to be outside in rabbit hutches under shade trees.

Even on a fairly cool day, the difference between the shade from being under a building or under a tree is HUGE. They don’t even compare.

I now have the option for the rabbits to be in a barn but I still have them in their lean-to hutchs outside under as much of the trees as we could get.

Now, I realize that if you live in an area where stray dogs or neighborhood pets are a problem you may have to have your rabbits in a secure building. You may just have to work with what you’ve got.

We do have a good amount of coyotes around us and we invested in cattle fencing around the long side of the three-rail wood fence and closed up the left side as well. I’ll get into how to keep your bunny safe later in the post.

I have a full post about how to keep your rabbits cool in the summer heat. You can read that here. 

But here is a quick checklist for things you can do to help cool your rabbits down if their temperatures are getting past 80-85 degrees. High humidity is even worse.

  • Small personal fans to circulate the air. 
  • Frozen 2-liter water bottle. Anything smaller is a waste of time because it will melt so fast on hot days its almost useless.
  • DO NOT take them into your house where it’s air-conditioned. It is less stressful for them if you don’t put them in such drastic changes in temperatures.

If you are new to rabbit care and want practical no-nonsense information to rabbit care then check out my complete rabbit care guide.

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The Flow Of Your Rabbitry Setup

Once you know the location where your outdoor rabbitry will be, think about the flow in which you will move.

You will likely be doing hard work in there some days like cleaning out the pens and rabbit waste so you don’t want to cause yourself problems down the road.

Here are some things to think about.

  • Will you be having guests come to the rabbitry to pick up their rabbits? – Have space to chat because rabbit people like to talk.
  • Do you need to get a wheelbarrow down the rows? Make sure to leave space.
  • How much space do you need to get nesting boxes in? 
  • What about loading up for a rabbit show? Do you have a show cart you need to get in and out and possibly turn around?
  • How will you likely do the feeding? Give yourself a nice smooth line to work in. Not back and forth slowing down your natural movement.

What To Do In The Winter Months

I get questions all the time about rabbits and the cold weather. But the truth is they prefer cooler temperatures. Fifty degrees is ideal for rabbits. So even when the temperatures are getting close to freezing they don’t mind it. 

You can tell by the way they behave. If they are laying out and chilling. Then you know they are fine. But if they are sitting in a corner looking like they are in a zone and possibly even shivering which looks like slightly clenching muscles. Then you know they need some extra help. 

The latest on Youtube:

Here are some of the steps I take with my setup as winter approaches. 

  • I put empty feed bags or carpets over the top of the cages to create a lower ceiling for any body heat they put off to help slow it from rising out the top. 
  • I put these tarps up over the front of the lean-to-style hutches I have. 
  • Then if it gets really cold (In the teens for more than 3 days in a row) I move them into the barn if needed. – If you don’t have this option I would get them cardboard boxes and fill them with straw for them to nessle down in. 

** But be VERY careful with this. A rabbit will start to use this as a toilet and this is extremely unhealthy. They will get urine burn on their rump and even caked on waste. It’s not easy to clean up.

Creating A WorkSpace

Create a spacious easy-to-access workspace.

You will need a spot that can handle some weight and at least waste high so you can put the rabbit on the table to look them over either for grooming or to work on an injury.

You want to make sure it is completely flat if you are showing your rabbits because you want to be able to evaluate them in a posed position.

If there is a bow in the table, if it’s not level, or wabbles at all, the rabbit will not sit completely correct. Giving you a skewed view of the rabbit.

My “workspace” in my current rabbitry used to be a junky piece of siding board across a stack of bricks. And every few days I would flip that board over because it would start warping and sagging which was hilarious.

outdoor rabbitry space

After a year or so I upgraded to a backyard patio trunk which was the best birthday gift I ever got.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just work with what you’ve got.

Storage For Your Outdoor Rabbitry

Storage can be one of the most frustrating things about having an outdoor rabbitry set up.

If you don’t have a barn close by to have your supplies in you have to make do.

THE BEST thing I ever got was this patio trunk for the rabbitry. I see stars every time I look at it.

Trunk for rabbitry storage

Make sure it is level and put it up on cinderblocks because if you don’t have airflow underneath you will get some moisture and water up underneath. It will also be much easier for bugs to get in and cause issues with the feed, supplements, and not to mention if you have treats.

Security For Your Outdoor Rabbitry Setup

The biggest thing you are going to run into is predators coming into the outdoor rabbit area and scaring them badly enough to injure themselves. Or worse actually biting toes through the wire floor.

You might have a litter tray underneath the cages but even if that is the case I would highly recommend you take fencing or even chicken wire and put it up around the rabbit cages to keep predators out of the rabbitry. You can see that this fence goes about halfway up the back of the lean-to.

Fencing around rabbit hutches

Nite guards are another tool that works amazingly well for almost all predators.

Rabbits Need To Be In Separate Cages

Do not put multiple rabbits together.

I don’t like rabbits being together either way but hands down never have rabbits together if they are not fixed.

Breeding can happen in a split second and rabbits of the same sex will fight each other any second they get. One bite to the face could cause a rabbit’s showing career to be over.

As well as rabbit injuries can become infected so easily. You could have weeks of wound-healing chores to do if a fight broke out.

A perfect example was this very week I had two nine-week-old sisters decide they had enough of each other and got into a squabble causing one doe to nip the other in the ear and the upper lip. And yes they were both claimed on the waiting list so I had to go to the buyers and explain what happened.

a doe with a bit lip and ear because she got in a fight with her sister.

Never Let Rabbits On The Ground In Your Outdoor Rabbitry

I have a few pictures of rabbits on the ground that I took for brand photos and it made me cringe doing it.

Never let your rabbits run free in the yard or ground outside. Rabbits go down hard and fast.

Diseases can spread like wildfire and the herd you have to spend decades building could be wiped out in a matter of weeks. All because you chose to have a soft-hearted moment instead of sticking to the safety rules.

You have no idea what wild rabbit or wild animal ran across that piece of ground when you weren’t looking.

Could it be ok? Sure.

But you don’t know that or have a way to know. To me, it’s not worth it.

Outdoor Rabbitry Setup Ideas

Here are some of my favorite outdoor rabbitry setups.

I love this hutch above because there is lots of airflow for the rabbits. The one thing I would be careful of is which way the wind blows and if the rain could get blown into the rabbits. The other thing could be to be able to put some kind of covering over the front during the winter.

Here is another great option where the poo falls to the back for the top row and the waste falls to the ground for the bottom row. Either way, it gets the rabbits further away from the waste helping them have a healthier respiratory system.

Now this is pretty typical for most rabbits and it’s great if that is what you have to work with. But by having this setup you are causing yourself A LOT of extra work. Ventilation gets difficult and keeping good airflow is not easy.

My Rabbitry Set-Ups

Below is my first rabbitry set up at our first house when we got married. The main cages where inside a fenced-in area to help keep predators out. Then I had two extra hutches for rabbits that I was thinking of keeping and wanted to see how they filled out. Or when someone took longer to pick up a rabbit and a litter needed to be separated.

outdoor rabbitry setup

Now I have a similar setup but with a barn for supplies which is a dream come true. The rabbits have 360 fencing and all the supplies and evaluation tables are in the barn.

If your rabbitry is starting to get expensive and you want to turn your money-sucking hobby into a profitable business so it pays for itself. Check out the Profitable Rabbitry Playbook. I walk you through the exact steps I took to get my small rabbitry to multiply four figures a year in profit.

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