Last updated: October 15, 2021

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A person does not like to be alone. This became especially clear in times of contact restrictions. Therefore, the demand for animal contemporaries grew. Besides dogs and cats, small animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs also enjoyed great popularity.

Almost all pets need their exercise regularly. A dog can be taken for a walk and a cat likes to take care of its own exercise. This is much more difficult with small rodents. Free-range enclosures offer a suitable solution. For our product comparison, we have worked out the most important aspects for you.




Summary

  • Free-range enclosures of the right size are important for the health of your pets.
  • Free-range enclosures come in a variety of materials and designs, each with its own advantages depending on the area of use.
  • An outdoor enclosure allows small animals to run around and at the same time offers protection from enemies.

The best outdoor enclosure: Our Picks

Below you will find a selection of free-range enclosures. It should help you to get a first overview of the range of different enclosures.

Buying and evaluation criteria for free-range enclosures

You should consider the following criteria to find the best outdoor enclosure for you and your pet:

Pet species

If you do not yet own a pet and are buying the enclosure with or before the pet, you need to consider who the enclosure is for. Depending on the type of animal, there are several criteria to consider.

A rabbit behaves differently in nature than a turtle or chicken, which is why it has correspondingly different demands on the outdoor enclosure.

Size

The larger your animal, the larger the area of the outdoor enclosure needs to be. To achieve the necessary size, two or more enclosures can be connected.

In addition to the surface area, the height of the outdoor enclosure must also be taken into account, as rabbits in particular have great jumping power and can easily manage heights of 70 cm.

Material

An enclosure made of wood looks beautiful and blends in well in the garden. However, wood lives and especially wet and cold days are hard on it. Therefore, such enclosures should be regularly maintained and treated with a compatible varnish. Metal outdoor enclosures are easy to maintain and robust.

This means you can use them longer even in bad weather. It is important that metal enclosures are made of rustproof material such as aluminium or galvanised steel. Also, round edges should be used to protect the animals.

Structure

There are foldable models that can be set up quickly, or those that stay in one place once set up. Whichever model you choose, it is important that the enclosure is close to the house so that you can keep an eye on the animals and intervene quickly in case of emergencies.

Especially with rabbit enclosures, it is important to ensure that the walls reach a few centimetres into the ground so that the animal cannot dig its way underneath. In addition, this anchoring serves as protection in strong winds.

Equipment

There are various features for free-range enclosures. In order to offer your animals protection from enemies, it is important to provide a suitable cover and the correct grid spacing. With a net or a grid, they are safe from cats or birds of prey.

For easier maintenance, a flap in the roof of the enclosure is recommended. Furthermore, rabbits in particular need a source of shade for hot days as well as a place of retreat for dangerous situations. A weatherproof hutch in the enclosure is suitable for this. However, this should be slightly elevated to avoid waterlogging in the hutch.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about free-range enclosures answered in detail

In this section we will answer the most important questions about free-range enclosures. This will give you a deeper insight into the topic.

Why do you need an outdoor enclosure?

Animals are used to being able to move freely in their natural habitat. Keeping them in a stable or other very confined space can lead to the animals becoming ill or injuring themselves in the confinement.

Enough free running keeps the animals fit and healthy. However, letting them run free in the garden is too dangerous because small animals have many natural enemies.

What types of free-range enclosures are there?

Free-range enclosures are usually made of wood and metal. The combination of wood and metal is more visually appealing, but also more susceptible to the weather outside. Wet and cold days are hard on the wood, which will rot without proper care.

Freilaufgehege

Providing your pets with the necessary exercise in an outdoor enclosure will keep them fit and healthy. (Image source: Olia Nayda/ Unsplash)

Therefore, it is important to protect the wooden elements with a suitable paint coating. Metal frames, on the other hand, are more stable. Aluminium or rustproof stainless steel make them safe against the weather.

There are also differences in the design. While some enclosures are open at the top, others require a net or some other form of roof over the free-range enclosure to keep enemies from entering. An opening in the ceiling of the enclosure helps to make it easier to insert and remove the animals or other objects.

What needs to be considered for a free-range enclosure?

It is important to set up the outdoor enclosure correctly. The animals need sun protection for warm summer days and a safe shelter for rainy days. A cover or a small animal house inside the enclosure is suitable for this purpose, to which they can retreat.

It is important to ensure that it is not placed directly on the ground, but slightly elevated, so that no cold or moisture can penetrate from below. In addition, a free-range enclosure should have an escape barrier to prevent the animals from running away. Depending on the size of the animals, the grid spacing or the mesh density of the fence should be chosen.

Conclusion

To give your beloved small animals enough exercise at home, free-range enclosures are the optimal option. Many models can be set up very variably, which is why they can be easily integrated into your own garden.

When buying an outdoor enclosure, it is always important to consider for which species it is intended and what size it should be accordingly. You should also consider which material and which equipment you want, in order to save high follow-up costs if necessary.

(Cover picture: 123rf / wirestock)

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