Cheap & Easy to Build Rabbit Hutch

At about thought number two of "I should get a rabbit", the fever came on strong and vigorous so Hubs and I took step one in finding a good rabbit hutch for our little Tennessee urban homestead. We shopped our local farm supply centers, CO OP, and strolled around on Craiglist for several weeks looking for maybe a nice second hand hutch that would work for us. 
The farming centers and the CO OP all had what seemed to be awesome hutches. But once I flipped latches and swung open doors of those oh so cleverly cute bunny boxes, those two to three hundred dollar price tags seemed pretty steep for the quality of build and supplies. I am by no means a bunny box genius, but the more Hubs and I shopped the less impressed we became with prefab rabbit hutches. 
Step two. Take to Google, punch in "rabbit hutch", scroll through hundreds of rabbitry blogs and individual builders sites of even more expensive built hutches.  We simply did not want to invest a lot of money into my latest urban homestead rave, but I was positive I needed a rabbit hutch soon because I was not going to be able to curb the urge of bringing on Bunny for much longer.
 
I love it when I have to be out of town for several days and Hubs has time on his hands. Although that's not often. The time on Hub's hands part, not me being out of town. I'm out of town a lot. Anyway, since I had sent Jay a few hundred links and pictures of rabbit hutches he pretty much had my single urban bunny idea pegged. So he got to work building a hutch from supplies he had on hand plus a few small purchases from the hardware store.  I think it took him a couple of days of off and on sawing and hammering but before I was home from my trip he had my future bunny an awesome place to huncker down and be happy!  
So he first just scratched out the idea on a piece of paper. As you can see, "scratched it out" is not an understatement. 

The drawings above show mainly the shape and the dimensions that he used for the build.  That part right in the middle of the front view drawing labeled "drawer" got changed.  Ignore that part labeled "drawer".  I'll show you why later. 

The legs are made from 2x4's and are 30" tall.  The actual housing part is another 30" tall on the front of the hutch, but 36" tall on the back of the hutch. Jay made up that extra 6" with one 4' fencing board and left a gap of about 3" on the back so there could be good ventilation in the actual box part of the hutch.  That 4' top board across the back is what the roof decking rests on. 

The box portion of the hutch is important because the rabbit has to have a place for protection from the elements.  The box portion of this hutch measures 18"x24". (sorry the pictures are so dark)  And again, from what we can tell, none of this stuff is an exact science, Hubs just designed it to make sense for our particular building supplies. But I can vouch for the fact that Hazel loves it!

The door to the actual box portion of the hutch was actually just cut out of the side with a jig saw and secured together with scrap pieces. Then the door was hinged on one side with a simple block clasp on the other. If you have a better, nicer way to do it go for it. 
The slanted roof is important for water run off.  Almost all of the ones we saw online and in the stores had a slanted roof.  Makes sense. The mesh or the actual roofing is not on in the first picture below but you can see in the second picture how it was attached with a staple gun.  He stapled about ever 2" or so. And also, after stapling he filed over the edges of the wiring to make sure there wasn't any sharp edges to hurt the little bunny feetsies. That would be so sad.  
The door on the open end side was fashioned out of the 1x2's using L brackets to hold them together and hinges to fasten to the hutch opening. And again, Jay made the door size according to the amount of lumber on hand. I think the door size is good to be as large as you can make it.  It helps when you need to crawl half of your body up in there to rabbit retrieve!  

You can see that even the bottom of the box is made from pallet wood, and my bunny, Hazel, is perfectly content here especially when she has fresh hay and plenty of good newsprint carpet to lay on. Hazel is a nice size rabbit. The hole opening to the box side is only about 6"x6" and Hazel gets in and out easily.  She sits in there all the time and spies on all the other nature animals around the yard that are way less protected from predators than she is. Yep, she's spoiled. 

   
I posted the first picture above so you can see the mesh wire (from Home Depot) that Hubs used to attach to the opening part of the hutch.  It is ½x½" mesh.  It comes in rolls and you can get it at any home store. OH! Something to pass along to you here.  Jay realized that the mesh wire comes in two heights.  Since the height of the hutch is pretty much irrelevant, had he designed the hutch shorter he could have used the shorter mesh and cut his cost in half.  This mesh wire was the most expensive item he purchased.  But I have enjoyed using the left over (which was a lot) on other stuff too. 

You can also see the L brackets that were used to hold the door frame together. 

Remember in the beginning when I told you to ignore the drawer part of the sketch because we did something different than the drawer?  Well, the other two pictures above are my ingenuous poop shoot idea. Instead of a pull out drawer that would be gross and hard to clean, we decided to just let the shoot do the work for us. This made me very happy! Although, this picture is the shoot after several days of rain. When it's rainy outside it doesn't work quite as well because the dampness keeps the bunny berries from rolling down. Even still, it's way better than a drawer. I used this picture so you can see how efficient just one rabbit can be in producing bunny berries. That's only about three days worth of production there. Them bunny rabbits! They sure do pop out the berries! 

Jay went to the scrap metal yard and picked up this piece of flashing for under $5.00.  He brought it home, laid it on the ground, stood on one side and started bending it over until he had this "shoot" fashioned.  He then drilled a hole in each of the corners and placed i hooks.  Using cheap chain links we attached one end to the mesh wire on the bottom of the hutch only about 3" down, and on the other end, we used much more.  I think it was like 10" long. At the end of the shoot I placed an old coal bucket to catch the bunnie berries.  It works like a charm! 

Finally, Hubs finished out the roof with the cheapest corrugated style metal sheeting he could buy.  I think it was about ten bucks. We had to hammer directly into the sheet metal.  I'm sure it will end up eventually leaking and have to be replaced, but for a ten spot,  I'll take my chances.  

So, anyway, there are the how to's of our cheap and easy rabbit hutch.  We love it, Hazel loves it, and if you build your bunny a hutch like this, I am sure you and your bunny will love it too!



Enjoy!,

Pj + Jay




  
 
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