A well-built hutch is essential for healthy and safe rabbits
The first step in raising rabbits is to build a rabbit hutch. Because rabbits are hunted by many animals and birds you will need to build their housing so that it is raised off the ground and sturdy enough to protect the rabbits from coyotes, foxes, wild cats and even the family dog.
There are a large number and wide variety of plans for how to build a rabbit hutch. However, they all agree that the purpose of the rabbit hutch is to protect the occupants from rain, wind and hot sun, be easy to clean and be at a convenient height for the caregivers.
Rabbit Hutch Designs
While some of the basics of rabbit hutch design may differ slightly there is one material common to all designs. That is the use of wire mesh or hardware cloth with a maximum of ½ in. square mesh often used for the floor of the hutch. This is the optimum size to allow urine and droppings to fall through without hurting the rabbits’ feet.
The sides of the hutch should be open and allow for the free flow of air to keep the rabbits from overheating. The wire mesh for the walls can have bigger holes than the wire cloth used for the floor. One example is chicken wire or mesh, however it is much too thin to be used for the floor of the hutch where it can cause painful feet or allow baby rabbits to fall through.
Make sure that there is a roof over the rabbit hutches that will protect the rabbits from the rain. The hutches themselves can have a single hinged roof that can be raised to allow access to the inside of the cage. The dimensions of the hutch can range in size from 2’ x 2’ x 2’ on the small size to 3’ square by 18” in height. Size of the hutch will depend upon the size of the rabbits you will be raising.
The walls should let in plenty of fresh air to keep the rabbits cool in the summer by shield them from harsh winds in the winter. If you don’t build your own rabbit hutch or hutches in an outbuilding, you’ll need to make sure that they are out of the path of the north wind in the winter and shielded from the afternoon sun in the summer.
Here’s another idea that you might find useful. Since rabbit manure is clean meaning it can be put directly into the garden without being composted, it is a great fertilizer. Some people who raise rabbits have also built bins under the cages to catch the dropping and used that as a medium for raising worms.
It doesn’t take a lot of expertise to build a rabbit hutch but you do need to do your research. Once you have a rabbit hutch built then it’s time to think about what you’re going to feed your rabbits.