How To Build The Perfect Bunny Hutch
If you like to do things yourself and save money in the process, building your own rabbit hutch is an excellent way to create a home for your rabbit that is nice and healthy. Most commercially available rabbit hutches are just too small for a bunny to be really happy in. Would you be happy if you could only walk two or three steps one way, turn around and walk back every day of your life? Of course not! But many rabbit hutches are made so small that is all a bunny can do.
Building a rabbit hutch is fairly simple for anyone with a circular saw, some timber, some wire netting and a drill. Here are a few design tips for making your own rabbit hutch:
Make sure that the hutch is at least 60 cm (2 feet) tall. Rabbits love to jump and when they are happy they will jump and spin in the air. Many commercially available rabbit hutches are only about 1 foot high, which is really too low for an active, healthy bunny.
Make sure that there is plenty of floor space. Our bunny hutch measures three feet by six feet, or one meter by two meters. The bunny has plenty of room to hop around, and that makes her very happy indeed. Rabbits are active creatures, its not fair to confine them in very small spaces for the bulk of their lives.
Design your hutch with a large lid for easy access. Another common problem with hutches is that the door will be relatively small and at one end of the hutch, allowing the bunny to escape very easily and making catching the rabbit difficult and making cleaning the hutch properly very hard indeed. When we built our hutch, we designed it so the entire wire roof was a large hinged door, making it easy to get inside the hutch, work with the bunny and clean it properly.
Make sure that you provide shelter in the hutch. A covered area that will keep the rain off is a must for all rabbit hutches. It is also a good idea to make sure that the floor of the covered area is raised off the ground, even if only by an inch or two. By building the floor on top of the bottom frame rather than under it, you will prevent the wood from soaking up so much ground water and rotting.
Chosing the wire gauge is another decision you will have to make. We went with a fairly large gauge wire of about 1.5 inches. I have found that smaller wire, especially when on the bottom of the cage, quickly gets clogged with sticky bunny poo and is horrible to try to clean up.
EDIT: I received a comment from a 'rabbit rescue volunteer' who took issue with keeping rabbits outside and on a wire floor. This is sort of a fair comment and I would like to address it. First of all, the wire is always covered with hay - I should have mentioned this originally. Wire can cause harm to a rabbit's feet if they hop about on it uncovered. However wire is absolutely essential because rabbits can - and do, dig. They can dig their way out of an enclosure in a few hours and even worse, if there is no wire, predators can dig their way in.
As for not keeping rabbits outside, I have had indoor and outdoor rabbits and both appear to have thrived well. Not everyone can handle the smell of bunny pee and poop inside and no matter how much you clean a rabbit's litter box, they really do smell. So, you know, to each their own on that issue.
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