Reader Valinda Mullin shares a clever DIY hack that allows her to raise healthy, happy meat rabbits in a mobile pen.
I thought it’d be great to have a tractor for raising meat rabbits, just like people do with their chickens. I started by gathering up recycled supplies that I’d been saving for this purpose and then got to work.
• 1 1⁄4-inch screws for wooden frame
• 1 sheet of plywood
• 3⁄4-inch fencing staples
• 2-by-3-inch welded wire mesh for bottom (use 1-by-2-inch welded wire if you’ll be raising small meat rabbits)
• 1⁄2-inch hardware cloth for sides
• 1 center-mounted wheel (2 wheels if using a side-by-side design)
• 2-by-2s for handles
• 3-inch screws for handles
• Lightweight sheet metal for roof
• 1⁄2-inch screws to attach roof
• Piano hinge
• Large knob
• Circular saw
• Battery-powered drill with screwdriver tip
• Wire-cutting pliers
• Tin snips
• Tape measure, straightedge, pencil
• Two 23-by-28-inch ends
• One 19-by-27-inch floor
• Two 19-by-23-inch sides
• One 5-by-28-inch front lip
• Six 29 1⁄2-inch pieces
• Four 24-inch pieces
• Three 22 1⁄4-inch pieces
• Two 4-by-4-inch pieces
1. For the top and bottom, build two 30-by-72-inch frames out of 1-by-4s. I salvaged my lumber from some large shipping pallets.
2. Attach the two frames together with 1-by-4-inch boards cut 30 inches long to form a box frame. I also put support boards across the top and bottom to sturdy up the structure.
3. Cut some plywood to the cutting list specifications to form a box at what will be the wheel end of the rabbit tractor. This will create a safe place for the rabbits to seek protection from the elements and sleep. To create a shade wall, cut another piece of plywood into a 23-by-28-inch rectangle to fasten to the opposite end of the rabbit tractor.
4. With staples, attach the 2-by-3-inch welded wire to the bottom and cut it down so that it’s long enough to wrap up over the ends. Do the same with the 1⁄2-inch hardware cloth for each side.
5. Raise the end with the solid-walled box a few inches off the ground and let it rest on blocks while you attach the wheel to the front of the rabbit tractor, wheelbarrow-style. You could do the same thing using two wheels, one on either side, for a wagon-style setup.
6. Add 2-by-2 wheelbarrow-style handles to either side of the rabbit tractor at the end opposite the wheel.
7. Cut a piece of sheet metal to size for the roof, and build a frame to fit using the 1-by-4 lumber.
8. Attach the metal to the wood frame with 1⁄2-inch screws and then attach the lid to the top of the rabbit tractor with a piano-style hinge.
9. Finish the tractor lid with a large knob as a handle.
I’m really pleased with the way my DIY hack turned out. I’ve been raising meat rabbits in the tractor for a while now, and they love the fresh patch of grass I give them twice daily. I love it because it’s easy to move and cuts way down on the feed I have to buy, and I’m able to raise healthy, happy rabbits.Valinda Mullin
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