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.

Mesh Size

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 thicker for added protection.

Mesh GaugeThickness (mm)

The maximum gap size suitable for housing rabbits is 1" (25mm) square, although 1" x 1/2" (25mm x 13mm) provides more security. Any larger than this and a predator may be able to reach a paw inside or your rabbit may catch 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 save money by fitting mesh with larger holes to the top half, and standard holes to the bottom 2-3', as long as your rabbit can't access any of the areas with larger mesh.

Mesh of these gauges generally comes on rolls of standard widths 45cm, 60cm, 75cm, 90cm, 120cm. If you choose a width that matches with the size of the panels in your project you'll have much less cutting to do.

Attaching Mesh

Staple gun and U-Shaped staples/nails)

Mesh can be secured to wood using nails/staples applied with a hammer or staple gun. If you are using a hammer you need u-shaped nails aka. fencing staples (200 for £6 B&Q). If you are a bit nervous about hammering then try holding the nails in position with a pair of long nose pliers (also £6 B&Q) rather than your fingers.

For larger jobs a staple gun will cost about £20-25 but makes applying mesh much faster, make sure you get one suitable for the weight of mesh your are using e.g. Rapid R34 Heavy Duty Hand Tacker (£21 from Amazon) will cope with 16g - 19g mesh. Don't forget you'll need staples to go with it (and check they fit your staple gun) 2000 12mm staples for the R34 are £4 from Amazon.

To cut the mesh to size you'll need some tin snips (£10 Amazon). When fixing the mesh to the wood, if possible place the mesh on the inside of the hutch door/run frame, 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.

Another option, if you are particularly concerned about predators, is to double mesh the run by applying mesh to both sides of the wood frame and slightly offsetting it so the holes don't line up. This also works well if you've multiple rabbits and they don't get along, as a rabbit sticking his nose through the mesh will be more difficult to nip at as the second mesh layer is in the way.

Housing gallery Housing size guide Understanding Your Rabbit's Habits

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