Getting a new rabbit can be a great and exciting addition to your family. Rabbits are perfectly happy living indoors or outdoors. They are, however, a little more comfortable when they are outside. This is because they deal with cold temperatures better than they do with warm temperatures. It is important if your pet rabbit is being kept outside to provide them with a safe, comfortable and stable outdoor rabbit hutch to live in. There are two distinctly different ways to approach building rabbit hutches.
First you want to make sure you have your plans drawn out to the closest detail. This will assure that you have all of your appropriate supplies for building your own rabbit hutch, so you are not caught in a spot right in the middle. Draw it out in any way you know how, making sure to write down all of your measurements carefully. When drawing out a design, always take into account how big your rabbit is, or how big they will become before deciding how big the hutch should be. Your hutch designs don't have to be fancy. While you might think that your rabbit may like two or three different areas or compartments, this is not true. Rabbits are happy with one solitary area to live in. While in a rabbit cage, they are interested in eating and sleeping. Play time will occur when you take them out to socialize them.
There are two options to consider when you decide to build your own rabbit hutch:
- An All-Wooden Enclosure. This type of rabbit hutch is the most common and popular. It is not, however, the best choice for a pet rabbit. We will cover why this is after discussing the way to design it and build both kinds of rabbit hutches.
It is best to use sturdy dependable plywood when building all-wooden rabbit hutches, not particle board. This cage will be home to your rabbit for a long time so it is important to use good supplies.
This type of cage is generally designed with two different sections. One section will be completely enclosed, all except for a small opening for your rabbit to enter and exit into the larger portion of the cage. This section can have a wooden floor but it is recommended to have a wire bottom. This is because your rabbit will generally use any bedding as litter and they do not know any better than to go to the bathroom whether they are in their "bedroom" or not.
The larger section should be approximately twice the size of the enclosed area. This section will have a wire bottom and a door in the front. The door should be wire as well. This will allow your rabbit to have circulation throughout the pen. Circulation is vitally important for rabbit health. Make sure that your rabbit hutch has a sturdy roof, especially if you are in an area where there might be snowfall. Also make sure that the cage is set high enough off of the ground to allow for circulation, at least 3 feet. One last option is to put a solid door on the front of your "bedroom" area; this will make it easier to catch your rabbit if he is playing hard to get.
- An All-Wire Cage (Wooden Frame). This rabbit cage is the easier one to make. Go to any rabbit show, pet store, or farm supply store, and buy a regular indoor wire rabbit cage. Although meant for indoor use, they are perfectly suitable to be made into outdoor rabbit hutches as well. What you will do is take good quality 2 x 4's and build a frame around your wire rabbit cage, with legs at least 3 feet, and a strong safe plywood roof. It is best to put the roof on an angle sloping down towards the back in order for rain or snow to run off it. Shingling it or draping and stapling plastic to it is optional, but helpful in preserving the wood.
The option of dropping pans for your hutch is just that; it is an option. You can either build a wooden pan that could slide in and out of it, or simply allow the droppings to fall to the ground. Cleaning this up once a week is sufficient for sanitary issues, but you may consider doing it more often with a dropping pan, because it is closer to your rabbit's enclosure than the ground.
The second option is the better option for your pet rabbit. It is likely that with the wooden hutch, your rabbit will urinate in the corners of the cage. The wood will soak it up and the ammonia will gather. This isn't the best way to maintain your rabbit's health. It will take a long time for this to occur, so if you do choose the wooden rabbit cage, your rabbit will not be ill all the time; it is just something to consider.
Building rabbit cages does not have to be hard. With a good plan and knowledge of what you are hoping to accomplish, it will be a breeze!