A couple of weeks ago my wife and daughter got a two Californian white rabbits. The rabbits can not stay in their cage in the kitchen forever; the time has come to build a hutch and move them outside.
Instead of building or buying some simple wire cages, my wife and I decided to build a solid rabbit hutch. This is something that will fit into my chicken coop plans with no change of design or other major alteration. The rabbit hutch my wife and I built this weekend is a total of 8 feet long, divided in half gives each rabbit a space of 3 feet by 4 feet, for a total of 12 square feet.
If I am going to keep rabbits and chickens, I want to make sure they are treated humanly, protected from the elements, and have plenty of room.
Rabbit Hutch Bill of Material
- 2 1/2 inch long outdoor wood screws
- 3 1/2 inch long outdoor wood screws
- 10 pressure treated 2x4x8 feet long for 24 inch centers, 11 if you are going with 16 inch centers
- 3/4 inch galvanized wire staples and/or staple gun
- Drill with #2 phillips bit
- Tape measure
- Framing square
- Extension cord
- Roofing screws
- 1/8 drill bit for pilot holes
- 4 pressure treated 2x2x8 feet long boards (for the doors)
- Hinges (for door)
- Clasp/latch for door, something to keep the predators out.
- 1/2 square hardware cloth, my wife and I used spool of 25 feet and a spool of 10 feet.
Rabbit Hutch Assembly
I am going to try and describe the process in which my wife and I built our rabbit hutch. I might skip or miss some steps, so you might have to fill in the gaps yourself.
Lets build the floor
My wife and I setup 2 tables, each one being 6 feet long.
Lay 2 of the 2x4x8 boards on the table. Layout each board for cross members on a 24 inch center, or 16 inch center, whichever one you prefer.
I cut the cross members 34 inches. This provides 37 inches between the inside of the uprights.
Use 3 1/2 inch long screws to secure the cross members to the main board.
After all of the cross members have been secured check the floor to make sure it is square. This is done by measuring from opposite corners.
Before the walls are installed, do you want to wrap the wire across the floor, or do you want to run the wire along the face of the floor? I have built rabbit hutches both ways. I think its a matter of personal preference, and which one provides the best security for your rabbits.
What we are looking for here is security. The main focus of the rabbit hutch is to protect your rabbits from the elements, and from predators. Lets install the wire to what is best for your rabbits, and not necessarily what is easy.
The way my wife and I built the rabbit hutch we wrapped the wire across the top of the floor 2×4. I do not recommend this for everyone, do what is easiest for you.
Use a c-clamp to clamp the uprights to the floor, use 2 1/2 inch long screws to attach the uprights. I spaced my uprights at the same distance as the floor cross members.
Use framing square to make sure uprights are square with floor.
Once all of the wall uprights have been secured it is time to install the hardware cloth wire.
I built the rear wall one inch higher then the front wall. This adds a slope to the roof for water to drain off.
When ready to attach the legs, lay the hutch on its side, use c-clamps to attach legs, secure legs with 3 1/2 inch long screws, or drill a hole through the legs and the frame and bolt together.
Where I messed up
When I wrapped the hardware cloth across the floor I did wrap the wire far enough. When the floor was installed one side overlapped only about 1/2 inch. I was expecting something like 3/4 inch overlap, but it did not happen.
If I were to build this rabbit hutch again I would not wrap the walls like I did with this hutch. Instead, I would extend the wire down the wall, and make the floor so that the 36 inch wire fit with no gaps.
Not just a rabbit hutch
Some of you might be thinking “this is a lot of work just for a rabbit hutch”, and for the most part you are right. However, this is not “just” a rabbit hutch. This is also a place to keep chicks, keep a sick hen or sick rooster, keep a broody hen,,, whatever needs to be kept secure.
Lets say in a year or two my wife and I decide to sell the rabbits. Now the hutch is free to be used for whatever we want.
If I get a broody hen, I can move the hen and her eggs to the cage and hen with her clutch of eggs will be safe.
Chicken get injured by a predator or in a fight, I have a safe place for that chicken to recover.
Now that the wire, walls and legs have been installed, now what? Next we build doors, install latches, install hinges and add the roof.