Wire Mesh for Rabbit Hutches & Runs
The wire on your rabbit's hutch or run may be the only thing between it and attack from a fox or cat, so it is important that the mesh is heavy duty enough to stand up to attack and also firmly secured to the surrounding wood.
Types of Mesh
Left: Chicken Wire, Right: Weld Mesh
There are two types of wire mesh commonly used for rabbit accommodation: chicken wire and weld mesh.
Chicken Wire (or Netting) is made from galvanized wire twisted to form a hexagonal grid.
Weld mesh has a square or rectangular grid, and it is welded at each joint.
Weld mesh is the best type of wire to use on rabbit accommodation because it is welded at each joint making it stronger, as a single break does not effect surrounding joints. It also retains its shape better and is less likely to stretch and bow making it more visually appealing. The one downside to weldmesh is that it is more expensive than chicken wire.
Both types of mesh come in different gauges (thicknesses). The lower the gauge the thicker the wire. 19 gauge (approx. 1 mm) is the standard for aviaries/small animal housing but you can use 16 gauge (approx 1.6mm) or higher for added protection.
The maximum gap size suitable for housing rabbits is 1" (2.5cm) square, although 1" x 1/2" provides more security. Any larger than this and a predator may be able to reach inside or your rabbit may force it's head or leg through the wire and get caught.
On an aviary (a run tall enough for a human to walk into) you can fit mesh with larger holes to the top, and smaller holes to the bottom 2-3', as long as your rabbit can't access any of the areas with larger mesh.
Staple gun and U-Shaped staples/nails)
Mesh can be secured to wood using u-shaped nails/staples applied with a hammer or staple gun.
If possible place the mesh on the inside on the hutch door/run as it will protect the wood from your rabbits nibbling. Position it so it overlaps the wood frame with enough spare to allow for a double row of staples. This will help ensure it is securely attached.
Improving Existing Mesh Sections
Secure the mesh to the wooden frame at regular intervals with staples
If you buy a hutch then check how securely the mesh is fitted by pulling on it, both in the centre and around the edge where it is fixed. If it appears loose then reinforce it with extra nails/staples. If you are worried about the strength of the mesh then take it off and replace it.
If you have a run or pen with excessively wide spacing on the mesh, but the mesh is otherwise secure, instead of replacing the mesh you can fix finer mesh over the top or the same size mesh but offset to create smaller holes. In this situation cable ties could be used to secure the second layer of wire to the original.