By Peter Blatch
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
I am thinking of building a hen run and wondered if it might also double as a rabbit pen for gun dog training?
How big does it need to be for this purpose and will I need to bury the wire meshing to stop escapees? Are domestic rabbits best in captivity or should I use wild ones?
PETER BLATCH says:
Yes, it would be quite easy to make your hen run into a rabbit pen but you must ensure that the wire is fixed properly to prevent rabbits digging their way out.
I find it effective to lay the wire so it faces into the pen with at least a 2ft skirt spread along the ground.
A good idea after laying the wire on the ground in this fashion is to spread grass seed over it, so when the grass grows through the wire it holds everything solidly in place.
The size of the pen is the most important issue. If the pen is too small a dog will soon wise up on how to peg rabbits so make the run as big as you can - your aim should be to create a pen where you do not hunt the same ground twice during a shortish training session.
When it comes to rabbits you can't beat the real thing because they flush a lot better than domestic varieties.
Having said that, tame ones come in useful when you're teaching a labrador to remain steady but spaniels need proper flushing rabbits which sit tight in cover until the last moment.
If the pen's a decent size you can also introduce a few chickens and pheasants to add to the variety of temptations facing a dog in training.
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