Outdoor Habitat for my Menagerie


I have a nice outdoor area for my various animals. Most of the are rescues that I was suckered into taking. I have 2 potbelly pigs who were rescued from a hoarding situation (both ladies so no risk of piglets), 3 chickens, a duck who was dropped off in a local reservoir (my crazy friend swam out and caught him), his 3 sister wives, 3 chickens and 2 “After Easter they aren’t cute anymore” rabbits.

There is a very large coop the poultry/fowl can access, and the pigs have 2 “log cabins” I had specially made for them. The bunnies come inside for the winter but are ready to stretch their legs again now that it’s spring.

The area as it is now is the large coop (6x8 with electric), with an attached run that is 12x24 feet with the good wire dug into the ground, roof over half of it and predator wire/net over the rest.

The run still gets very muddy and gross with so many animals (especially the ducks) so I want to extend it and i’m looking for some ideas.

  • I’d like to put in a legitimate pond for he ducks. If I get something like this do I need to worry about the bunnies or the chickens drowning in it? I was thinking of putting rocks in it that they could climb on if they fell in.

  • What type of fencing should I use? I need it to be small enough so the bunnies can’t squeeze through and strong enough that the pigs can’t push.

  • Can you think of anything special I should add to make it an enjoyable and stimulating enclosure for them?



Are all of the animals in there together?

I would start by creating a different enclosure for the pigs since they already have shelters and don’t require as much to be safe from predators. Once trained to it, they do pretty well in electric that can be moved to fresh ground if theirs gets too yucky.

Other than water, ducks and chickens do well together so you could also add an electric netting “paddock” to the run so they have access to fresh grass/duck pool during the day and a portable rabbit “tractor” might work for the buns. Premier 1 has chicken and hog netting but there is also one designed to keep wild rabbits out of gardens so that could work too.

They are very cute!

ETA: My daughter wants to get chickens again but let them out of the coop and run during the day when she’s not there so I’ve been researching ideas lately and came across this. These are meat chicks but the same idea could work if you built it a little taller and, obviously, it wouldn’t need to be that large for what you have. The fence is something you could attach to the coop and the wheeled thing would give them something to duck under at the furthest point in case of hawks. I think the same guy also has small pigs so you might want to check out his set up.

I used to keep two rabbits in my large fowl coop. The male rabbit would chase the hens around and hump them. One day, he killed one of my dear salmon Faverolles hens. I think he chased her til she had a heart attack. Lesson learned.

Another word of warning, I kept ducks and chickens together in my early days of chicken keeping. I witnessed a drake push a hen perched on the edge of the water trough into the water and commence humping her while holding her head under water.

There was another thread, I believe on the CotH boards, about drakes going after the hens - apparently they can cause serious injury even if water isn’t involved.

Found it: Chickens and Ducks- Why can’t we all just get along? – with the discussion going on to detail the differences that make for incompatibility.

Yikes! I’d heard that drakes will try to mate with chickens (and potentially hurt them) but I thought it was only if they didn’t have enough girl ducks.

In that case, I’d try to make a separate enclosure for both the pigs and ducks since they have similar water habits. Meaning they like to dirty it up pretty quickly.

Male rabbits hump anything. There is an entire collection on youtube of them doing this to balloons.

if you need to top enclose the entirety you might try a long, long curvy maze. If you only make it as wide as fencing (whatever you use) you’ll be able to top it. You can loop it around and back on itself, or spiral or any design you want. Surround your garden even…give your beans and peas something to climb… or climbing roses even.