As we start game-planning for our livestock housing, I've been considering heavily how I plan to manage the rabbits and chickens, both of which stand a chance of being predated by the raccoons, foxes and hawks if not tended to properly.
I could manage them like many, kept in a coop and enclosed run set up or in wire cages (for the rabbits) but after seeing how much happier they all are with freedom to run and socialize I just don't feel right about that level of confinement on this farm. Fresh air, fresh food, fresh water and plenty of exercise are what most red-blooded creatures need to thrive, and with that in mind I am starting to formulate a plan that allows the critters adequate space to roam during the day, but safety and security at night when they are at most risk.
Stevie and Peach are still young and have a lot of learning to do, so we can't count on them to do it all!
My goal is to have the rabbits and chickens continue to share a fenced in pasture for now. They will have separate houses, encased in one electrified fenced in area (solar powered, of course!). They get along really well and they benefit by being able to alert each other to predatory presence. At night, the rabbits instinctively go back to their cages (they do it in Livestock Camp, which is pretty amazing.) and the chickens and ducks to their coop. Both houses would then be secured for the evening. The bucks will need to have their own isolated segment of the enclosure to keep them from jumping on the does every chance they get.
Any farmers out there have any input on this? I'd love to get some feedback!