Why build a rabbit hutch? Rabbits fulfill many roles. Some people enjoy them as pets. Others show them in 4H or in shows sponsored by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Still others raise them to feed their families, as the rabbit produces an extremely healthy meat that is low in fat and inexpensive. No matter what reason you are choosing to get a rabbit or two, you will need a hutch for them.
A hutch is a cage that will protect your rabbit outdoors. It should have a strong, waterproof roof and a few solid walls to protect the rabbit from rain and wind. It should also have plenty of ventilation. The hutch should be sturdy and easy to clean.
You can always look around at local pet stores or feed stores to see if they have something that you like. Be prepared to spend quite a bit for any ready-made hutch.
The alternative is to build a rabbit hutch yourself. Depending on how fancy you want to make it, this may cost a similar amount or less. If you have some construction experience or know someone who does, this can be a very simple undertaking. If you have never built anything before, be prepared for a great learning experience!
There are many free rabbit hutch plans available online. You can also ask at the home improvement store, your local extension service or your local 4H group. You will find that you will have many plans to choose from. If you do decide to build your own hutch, be sure to gather all your materials together before you begin.
One area you don't want to skimp on is the wire. Use heavy 14 gauge wire that has been galvanized after welding. Don't use hardware cloth. While hardware cloth may keep the bunny in, it doesn't do a good job of keeping predators out. It also rusts much faster and tends to come apart. Water bottle nozzles don't fit easily in the squares, either.
Using heavy duty wire when you build a rabbit hutch will make your hutch last longer and keep your rabbit safer. Floor wire should have a grid pattern no larger than ½ inch by 1 inch. Side wire can be 1 inch by 1 inch or 1 inch by 2 inches.
You can make your hutch as simple or as attractive as you want. A simple hutch may be a single living area. A fancier hutch may have an enclosed area, a ramp to another floor or a ramp leading down into a fenced play area. You can choose a simple wood like pine or a fancier, more attractive wood. Some people put siding on their hutches and make peaked roofs with shingles to keep bunny dry.
Once you have a basic plan to build a rabbit hutch, gather your materials. Measure things carefully before cutting them. A good rule of thumb is measure twice; cut once. Arrange your pieces so you can easily put them together. Screws work well to hold your frame together for a long period of time. Staple your wire securely to the frame, leaving no gaps. Make sure the door opens and closes smoothly and fastens securely. Your rabbit will love his new hutch when it is complete.
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