Chicken species typically need specific resources and hut to live in comfortably. If you’ve had rabbits as pets but now have an empty hutch, you’ve probably wondered, can chickens live in a rabbit hutch?
Can Chickens Live in a Rabbit Hutch?
Chickens can live in a rabbit hutch if it’s high enough, and has enough space per bird, has a dark place to sleep is ideal, has enough ventilation and heat, as well a roof on top of the cage to protect them from predators.
Many new homeowners don’t have a lot of money to invest in extravagant chicken coops. Owning chickens doesn’t have to extremely expensive, and many people have used dog runs and rabbit hutches to house their birds.
Some have even taken it a step further to convert an empty hutch to a chicken coop. We’ll take a look at some of the things to consider when housing your chickens in a hutch.
Is A Rabbit Hutch Ok As A Chicken Coop?
A chicken owner suggests to buy or create a hutch that is at least twice their height. It will also need a perch at least three inches from the bottom of the hutch.
Exclude the wire part, as it’s not appropriate for them to sleep in as they dislike the slightest draft. It may be worth considering covering the mesh with a thin piece of board or any flat surface such as wood, cardboard, or plastic durable enough to stay in place by having a high vertical hutch.
Leave about an inch uncovered to enable the chicken to have breathing room while they sleep. It’s important to note the gaps should be at the top but not at the bottom.
Can you Put a Rabbit with Chickens?
The area needs to be large enough for both animals to live comfortably and take precautions regarding health concerns.
Ensure the chickens have their own space and not leave droppings near the rabbits as their fetal can contain infectious diseases, and you wouldn’t want the rabbit to catch it, and vice versa.
However, a couple of owners said they had no problems with the two animals living together in one pen. It can depend on several factors, whether they were introduced younger, how big the cage is, and how often you clean it.
The bottom line is, that you are taking a risk by placing them together, so it’s up to the owners.
One plus is that you don’t have to worry about each mammal eating the wrong foods. Even if they eat each other’s food, as chickens tend to eat a lot, it’s not a health risk to either animal.
Just place several bunny and bird food in corners of the hutch, and it won’t be a huge issue as long as they both eat enough.
Tips for Using a Rabbit Hutch for Chickens?
There are a couple of specific things chickens need to survive in a rabbit hutch.
The following list explains the essential specifications and features when housing chickens in the hutch, especially if they’re sharing a cage with furry friends.
- Rabbit hutches should be slightly elevated off the ground in order for poultry to not sit on the ground of the rabbit pen. Stepping in poultry can lead the chicken or rabbit to develop coccidiosis.
- Chickens need nests and enough space if they want to roost. Watch for roofs being made of felt, as they are an ideal nesting spot for mites. Bunnies need nests to sleep in.
- Have an enclosed door and covered roof at night. This will protect against predators, and better yet, if the rabbits are sharing the space, it will make them feel safer as they are naturally timid animals.
- How big is the run? If your chickens spend their days inside the run, they need enough time to forage and move around. Allocate 10 square feet per bird. A smaller run will work if you let your birds free-range.
- When you have several chickens living in a rabbit hut, consider whether or not they have enough ventilation. Managing air quality can be challenging when housing chickens in a very small volume space.
What Are The Advantages of Housing Chickens and Rabbits Together?
There are several benefits to keeping chickens and rabbits in the same coop, and here are some things to consider.
Budget: Both rabbit hutches and chicken coops can cost hundreds of dollars, and investing in one can save you save.
Space Saving: If you don’t have a big backyard, one large coop will help maximize your small space, rather than having two coops.
Security: Both animals are prey species that have some of the same predators. Having a large number in the same coop will help them feel safer.
Loneliness: All animals enjoy the company of other animals. Once they learn how to get along, these animals can safely and enjoy the company each provides.
Just like there are advantages, there are also several disadvantages you need to consider before housing these animals together.
Disadvantages of Housing Chickens and Rabbits Together?
Not Enough Room: It’s vital to ensure both the rabbits and chickens have enough room. Rabbits need enough room to flop and bound, and chickens require sufficient room to wander, flap, and forage without getting in each other’s way.
Cleanliness: Rabbits are much cleaner animals than chickens, while chickens poop everywhere. Coccidiosis is found in chicken poop and it can make your rabbits sick. It means you’ll likely have to clean the coop more often to ensure your rabbits are happy.
Food: Both rabbits and chickens have different nutritional needs, and can get sick if they eat each other’s meals. While rabbit pellets are not toxic to chickens, you’ll still want to set up separate food stations to ensure your chickens don’t eat the rabbit food.
Illnesses: Both rabbits and chickens are known to have different illnesses and disease issues. Rabbits are prone to Pasteurella multocida or P. multocida, which is contagious to chickens. In contrast, chickens can give rabbits fowl cholera.
Mating: Male bunnies are known to try to hump anything they can, which puts that saying “multiply like rabbits” into perspective. Neutering can help, but humping is a behavior rabbits are known to do.
Digging: Rabbits love to dig, so you’ll want to ensure your chickens can’t escape from the pen. Some people have had success with hard flooring to keep their chickens in the pen, which can cause discomfort to your birds feet.
Pecking: Chickens claim their dominance over other animals by a pecking order. A chicken or rooster can hurt your rabbit if they become a victim of being pecked.
Consider A Rabbit and Chicken Coop Combo
Instead of housing the animals in the same space, consider a rabbit and chicken coop combo. Your animals are still housed in the same building, but you section off spaces to separate their living areas.
For example, an 8×12 coop can consist of two bi-level rabbit hutches separate from the chickens. Each hutch would have access to the outdoor run, where they can mingle with your chickens.
The chickens would have a regular ramp and door that allows them access to the coop like regular. It is the perfect setup for people with a small backyard and wants to have both chickens and rabbits as pets.
Many tractor supply stores can help you find the right coop online or provide you with a plan so you can make your own.
Chickens can live in a rabbit hutch perfectly fine. They just need specific accommodations such as a dark place to sleep in, and their needs are met regularly if you raised them in any other pen.
As health risks can be concerning by the potential transfer of infection from animal to animal, it is advised not to place a chicken in a rabbit hutch with other rabbits habituating there.
Bird mammals like hens tend to peck at things, so it can be risky to keep them with other rabbits and especially bunnies. Worse consequences are attacking a bunny or even killing it.
All in all, bird mammals can live in a rabbit cage that is a little larger height wise and elevated off the ground.
If you have a large number of chickens, consider converting the rabbit hutch to a chicken coop that will ensure your chickens’ needs are met.