Aviary panels are pre-made wooden frames covered in mesh. They are usually set sizes such as 6'x2' or 6'x3' but other sizes are sometimes available and many companies will also build to your measurements. They were originally designed to build walk in aviaries for birds but make just as good walk in runs for rabbits. The good thing about pre-made aviary panels is that most of the DIY is done for you. If you aren't confident about measuring and cutting wood or attaching mesh, these can make building your own run much easier.
Aviary Panel Types
There are slight variations on design between manufactures but these are the main options:
a. side panel with cross bar, b. side panel with corner braces instead of cross bar, c. side panel with substrate board, d. half solid side panel, e. door panel.
It's possible to mix and match aviary panels for example using panels with a solid bottom half at the side for extra protection from the weather and full height mesh panels at the front for a clear view of your rabbits. Full height mesh panels are less dominating in a small garden as you can see through them to the rest of the garden. Panels with a low board around the bottom (substrate boards) are good for keeping stray pieces of hay inside the run. Door panels can usually be fitted either with a panel under the door, creating a threshold to help prevent rabbits dashing out; or with the panel above the door so you don't have to step over it to walk in and out.
For information on the mesh that panels should use see: mesh for rabbit runs.
Aviary panels are a very flexible way of building a rabbit run. You can go for a simple rectangle or fit the run around the space available in your garden. As well as a walk in aviary style run, panels can also be used to make a more traditional low rabbit run. The main constraint on size is supporting the roof. If you build a very large run you may need extra support beams or upright struts to support the weight of the roof panels in the centre.
Each side (and the roof) is made from two 6'x3' panels.
Total panels required:
9x 6'x3' Panels (£15 each)
1 x 6'x3' Door panel (£25)
Total Cost: £160
Fixing the aviary to a wall so the two back panels are not required would reduce the cost further.
6'x6' Rabbit Run (3' Tall)
Each side is made from a single 6'x3' panel and the roof from two panels.
Total panels required:
6x 6'x3' panels (£15 each)
Total Cost: £90
The cost of aviary panels varies depending on the style and where you buy so the costs above are just estimates to give you an idea of how much a run could cost to build. Full mesh panels are cheaper than the part solid panels, and the door panel will be more expensive as it includes hinges and a closer. As panels are large and heavy postage can be expensive you factor this in when working out the total. A local company with a delivery service may work out cheaper and offer you the option of having the panels fitted together for you.
Joining Aviary Panels
Panels are joined by screwing or nailing the wooden frame together. Using screws makes the aviary easier to disassemble again or change the configuration.