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Guest Post: The Rabbit Tractor

>7 September 2011
 
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For hundreds of years homesteaders have faced unique challenges.  They have overcome them along the way by helping one another and sharing ideas. In a time when many have the “mine, mine, mine” mindset, homesteaders are still thriving in small towns and rural areas across the country.  Just like the homesteaders of times past, they hold to the same values and standards that existed in the old days.  Helpfulness, sharing, caring about one another, honesty and integrity.   With that being said, I would like to share our rabbit tractor.

Several advantages to the tractor over a stationary hutch are:

  • less expense in feed
  • easier way to fertilize the garden or yard naturally
  • cuts down on mowing
It is a simple cage, 4x8x4 high.  Easily moved, and contains a shelter 2x4x4 high.  The shelter has an exterior door to allow feeding and care.  The rabbits love both the grass and weeds.  They will eat the vegetation down to what looks like a nicely mowed lawn.  This leaves behind an evenly spread layer of manure.

We have been doing this for several months now.  It all started with the simple thought, “Too bad we can’t just put those rabbits in a mobile ground cage and move it around the yard.”  This was our first try and it seems to work well.

The only flaw is that the ground needs to be somewhat level. We have had only one escape which was due to a large dip right under the edge of the cage.  That was our learning experience.  The rabbit was easily caught and put back.  Now we make sure it’s on  semi-level ground and it works very well.  Animals love to be in their natural habitat.

What better way to feed your rabbits, mow, and fertilize your grass all in one shot!

Jason Ross is a Christian husband and father of 11 children. Originally from California, now residing on 10 acres in Missouri, where he and his family milled their own lumber and built a home, all debt free. Together they raise animals, and garden.  He is also the author of the eBook, “Nurturing A Godly Wife.”

You can find him blogging at:

TenAcresOfAbundance or reach him through email

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11 Comments »

  • Melissa, TN said:

    Great post! My family is now prepping to raise meat rabbits, and we hope to have them in the spring. This is a great idea, one that I had never thought of. Thank you so much!

    Keeping the rabbits inside the tractor would be a huge concern of mine, especially since rabbit is on of my two dogs’ favorite foods. lol Do you think wire fencing on the bottom would help keep the rabbits in and allow them to eat? I’m going to have to try that when we build ours. Again, I really appreciate your post!

  • Laura said:

    We were just talking about making a tractor for the kids’ pet rabbits that are stinking up my house :( I was wondering if rabbits would dig their way out though. I guess if they have been keeping them in there for a while it they must not. My middle boy has been looking for a good project I think I will show this to him and see if he can engineer it. Thanks for the idea.

  • Pam W. said:

    Very cool–although our full-size chickens have a permanent coop and large fenced yard out around our fruit tree, we do keep our Bantams in a moveable tractor that works out very well. And I second what he says about making sure it’s on level ground. We are getting ready to build another one soon, though, and, like Melissa suggested, plan to try it with chicken wire on the bottom–they’ll be more protected plus should still be able to eat the grass and clover through it.

  • Kris said:

    Won’t the rabbits dig out? We had rabbits in an outdoor enclosure when I was a kid. We buried some wire fencing in the bottom of the cage, but it eventually rusted and the rabbits began digging holes everywhere and eventually got out.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Kris,

    I think if you only have them in there during the day, and keep moving it around, they won’t dig out. Though I have no experience, so I can’t say for sure.

  • Meghan Finch said:

    Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I are considering adding rabbits to our farm, and the possibility if a rabbit tractor was something we’d talked about. It’s good to hear some personal experience with this idea. :)

  • Trin said:

    We just put wire at the bottom, saw it at poly…something farm (google “rabbit pasture”), the bottom wire is slightly larger than the one around, just to make it impossible for the rabbits to get out, but not too small for the grass.

    I am just wondering about wintertime, how long do you think you can leave them there?

  • Jessie @ Blog Schmog said:

    Great plan! We have something like this we’ve used to teach the chicks to scratch and peck for bugs etc (since none of the hens are broody). I might just put it to work in the chick off season with those rabbits too!

  • Cathy Ethier said:

    We have rabbits that just run around the farm. They sleep in the barn and with our Great Pyrenees, we don’t have to worry about anything getting them. They have full access to my garden spot. I figure they will fertilize it real well and I will start tilling it in a couple of weeks. They eat with the turkeys, ducks, guineas and geese. Looks kinda funny watching them run around with the cats too…

  • kristen said:

    You should definitely put some sort of mesh on the underside. The rabbit tractor I’ve seen at Stuart’s place (permacultureinbritanny.blogspot.com) had study wire mesh at the bottom with spaces about 3″ to 4″ so that grass and weeds (especially bindweed, which rabbits love) could poke through.

  • Cathy said:

    Hey, awesome post. Steve and I have decided to get one. Found one on Craigslist!! It will be our first attempt at rabbits for meat. I think it would be best to have something on the bottom. The one we found is actually elevated off the ground. So, if your building one, that might be something to keep in mind. They wont be able to eat the grass, but I feel our chances of keeping them safe will be better since we’re new at this!

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