The Rabbit Run
Rabbits need an exercise area in addition to a hutch or similar sleeping quarters. A run allows them to run, hop and generally stretch their legs and play. It also provides the necessary space for toys and enrichment activities like digging boxes and tunnels.
Here are some points to consider:
The minimum recommended rabbit run size is 8' x 4', this is a minimum though and your rabbit will certainly appreciate being provided a larger area. The rabbit run should be tall enough for your rabbit to stand upright on its back legs, see size guide.
Ideally your rabbit should have permanent access to the run by joining it to/combining it with their living quarters but when this is not possible a minimum of 4-6 hours per day is recommended.
Types of Rabbit Run:
This is a triangular run made from wire and mesh. Most have a covered area to provide shelter and fold flat for storage. This style of run is limited in size by its design and the area is reduced further by the low slopping sides. Apex runs are handy as an additional exercise space - perhaps for providing occasional access to a lawn for grazing, but they are not large enough to meet all a rabbits exercise requirements.
Wire Pen (Puppy Pen)
These are pens made by joining multiple wire panels. By combining multiple packs, you can cheaply create an extremely large temporary enclosure. However, as it has no roof, rabbits should never be left unsupervised even for a few minutes. Therefore, unless you have time to provide that level of supervision for 4-6 hours per day, it is best used in addition to a secure run to provide a larger area for extending exercise.
There are a few all metal rabbit runs available which include lids. Where it is possible to combine multiple runs they are a good alternative to puppy pens for creating a large exercise area. Make sure you firmly anchor the run to the ground though as they are lighter than wooden framed runs.
Rectangular Wood & Mesh Run
A wooden frame covered in mesh is the most common type of rabbit run. These can be made in any size and are easy to build yourself. Placing the mesh on the inside of the wooden frame will protect the wood from gnawing.
An aviary is a taller version of the traditional wood and mesh rabbit. The extra height allows you to walk inside which is excellent for interacting with your rabbit whilst they exercise. It also makes general access easier as they are no small doors to try and catch your rabbit through or the need to climb over the sides.
Rabbit Run Safety
Rabbit are expert diggers, so rabbit runs should be stood on something to prevent rabbits digging out, such as paving slabs or mesh buried into the grass under the run.
Outdoor rabbit runs should always have a roof. A rabbit will jump and climb 3-4' - even higher if there is something to jump from like a box. A roof is not only to stop your rabbit escaping but also prevent predators getting in. A cat or fox (foxes are active even in urban areas) can easily clear 6'. Make sure the roof is firmly secured and cannot be blown off by strong winds.
The wire on the run is your rabbit's protection so it is important that you use strong mesh, like weld mesh, and it is attached firmly to the frame. The mesh should be small enough to prevent your rabbit putting its head through and predators putting their paws through.
If the run is large or not attached to your rabbits sleeping accommodation then provide a box as shelter and a secure place to retreat to if your rabbit is frightened.