Thinking of combining my rabbits and chickens together.

Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Rabbits

I’m having problems with rodents terrorizing my rabbits and they aren’t even old enough to begin breeding. I know the rodents will become a much bigger problem then. I have a small flock, a rooster and 12 mixed, heritage breed ladies and (currently) a buck and 2 does. I have seen a little bit in one of Justin Rhodes videos of someone else’s setup where they all lived in a barn together. My own plan is a little different since the flock can free range during the day but the setup sounds like the best answer for my needs. What I do not know is how to figure how much room to plan for. I’m also thinking of making the barn only three sided since we don’t have a lot of cold time in central Alabama. If the area is the right size the animals will generate more than enough heat and I could stick a heater in there for any severely cold nights. Need input....


  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @Owl I have been wanting to do this myself but I’m still working on the husband to see the benefits!!

    I don’t have as much room as a farm might have so the set up I’m looking at is two story. The chickens can roost in the upper half which would serve as a shady area over half the enclosed space.

    Currently the chickens roam during the day and get closed in at night. We have snakes that try to steal the eggs if they are not enclosed in nesting boxes (I suspect they would enjoy a baby bunny too if they had access!) and bobcats that try to steal the chickens if they are not safely enclosed. We even have the top covered in wire mesh to discourage rats and prevent hawks from hunting easily. Thankfully I’ve never seen rats or mice around but I do what can to prevent seeing them!! This means the feed is locked in a bin in the garage and we clean the coop every weekend and occasionally mid week too.

    Im curious about how a 3 sided enclosure would help with rodent problems??

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    If the chickens are pecking and scratching around under the rabbits they would eat any rodent they came across. The three sided structure would simply be because anything tightly enclosed would be too hot. With one side open we could use a sliding barn door to open partially or fully as the season and temperatures demand. I’m thinking that a concrete floor would be best to prevent tunneling things and make it easier to clean out the shavings and manure periodically for the compost bin. I’m just trying to brainstorm how best to build the whole thing...

  • annflancan
    annflancan Posts: 84 ✭✭✭

    I had my rabbits and chicken in the same space and they got along famously. The only problem was the rabbits began to burrow and get out of the coop and have babies out yonder on a tunnel somewhere.

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I’m going to leave the rabbits in cages so I won’t have that problem but I did think long and hard about free ranging my rabbits too. There’s an old system I read about years ago that called for building an outside pen for the rabbits that was placed on a concrete pad so they couldn’t tunnel out. You built up with bales of hay for them to tunnel through but I cannot remember any more details nor where I read about it.

  • bcabrobin
    bcabrobin Posts: 251 ✭✭✭

    I think the chickens would help. I have never seen the chickens eat mice I have seen the white ducks chow down on mice and snakes. My chickens love snakes and even kill copperheads. So I think you would have a win-win. The only trouble I foresee is some of my chickens beat up on the baby chicks. I have the babies in a tote till they get bigger but if one gets out they beat on them.

  • Gil Montano
    Gil Montano Posts: 39 ✭✭✭

    I do not think there is much problem in having them together, but the ideal would be, if you have little protected space, that both species had their own cage and could share a common area.

  • Momma Mo
    Momma Mo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I have heard that chickens will kill baby rabbits because they think they are rats. If you keep the rabbits in cages, I can't see any problems. Our rabbits are in cages, and the chickens free range around them. The chickens do like to eat the rabbit food that they can get to.

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    There’s a video of “The Great American Farm Tour” on Justin Rhodes site where they have it done it this way and the chickens scratch around in the poo and bedding and clean up dropped rabbit food and generally serve as sanitation and produce those lovely, yolked gems from the job. Clean out the whole bottom as needed to add to the compost pile and then use that to feed the garden that feeds all those animals as well as the two footed ones and we have a start on a thriving permaculture homestead. Then I just need to add fresh milk and homegrown pork... homegrown mushrooms....and an orchard...and....

  • beel.sara
    beel.sara Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    The list keeps growing and growing as we learn more and do more. Keep going!

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    I'm rather late seeing this thread but I have my rabbits in cages hung above the chickens. Our climate it the extreme opposite to yours so we have a full insulated barn. It has worked out very well!! As well as great use of a building. During the summer the chickens are either allowed out during the day or moved out completely.

    As far as heat goes we do not add any supplemental heat. Both critters are pretty warm blooded and do well even when things freeze up solid. Ventilation is important to keep condensation down. With your 3 sided system I imagine a tarp covering the open area to keep out the wind on colder periods. Heaters scare me because of the fire hazard.

    Have you made any changes since you first asked your question?

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    Great to know that it’s working well for you! Unfortunately, the rabbits and chickens have to wait for current projects to get completed before the barn gets built while I am trying hard to be patient. I wil definitely update the conversation when I get started.

  • AngelaOston
    AngelaOston Posts: 247 ✭✭✭

    Really interesting idea. - bern trying to think about raising animals in our backyard, where not allowed chickens. And we have lots of hawks - snakes and coyotes about. So the idea of putting some bunnies with some quail seems like a possibility. Hmmmm.

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The thing about raising the rabbits and chickens together is the chickens scratch around and spread the rabbit droppings and eat the bugs they attract. We keep a thick layer of bedding down and muck it all out for compost periodically. I’m not familiar enough with the habits of quail to know if you would get that same symbiotic deal. Around here (in Alabama) lots of folks just keep a couple of hens so no crowing and nobody cares, even neighborhood associations.