What could be more life-affirming than having a little family of bunnies at the end of the garden?

Rabbits enjoy a unique reputation in human culture as a, near-universal, symbol of innocence, kindness, and joy. As well as being the pure and blameless baby of the animal kingdom in our imaginations, they are exceptionally easy pets to keep in our day to day lives. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase (your run of the mill bunny will set you back about £35) and, besides food and bedding, the only other major cost to consider is the hutch. 

A lot of boring people in expensive suits will gleefully tell you that “You get what you pay for” if given the opportunity. But sometimes when I consider the happiness that something innocuous like a pet rabbit can bring people; I’m more inclined to side with the “the best things in life are free” camp (even if the facilities in their camp aren’t quite as nice). You can build a lovely rabbit hutch for your pets without spending lots of money, but you must take care to do it properly. After all, an errant wire or splintered piece of wood can easily cause a nasty injury to your furry friend.

 

Tools

You’ll need: 

  • A hammer/screwdriver/drill
  • Nails/screws
  • Some sturdy wooden 2x4 planks
  • A saw
  • Chicken Wire
  • Wire trimmers
  • Metal pegs/a stapling gun
  • Thin wooden boards of uniform thickness
  • Sleeping area (a large box which can be wooden or plastic)
  • Sandpaper
  • Some zip ties

 

Building a hutch: step by step 

Take your time and ensure that all loose ends are dealt with. Remember that the name of the game isn’t just to slap together a box to plonk your rabbits in; it’s to build a home for them. A home that you’d be just proud to show off to the neighbours, as you would its adorable occupants. 

 

1. Create 2 matching rectangles from wooden 2x4s.

Cut some thin wooden boards to a length about 2 inches longer than the smaller pieces of the rectangular frame and secure them to one of the frames to create a platform long enough to place the sleeping area on.

 

2. Nail the rectangles together with 2x4 columns

Roughly 2 feet tall, between them at each corner. Ensure the pegs are resting on top/ underneath of the frames and not inside/ outside of them. Make sure that the frame with the platform is on the bottom but that the platform is inside the box and raised off the floor by the 2x4s underneath. Take extra care to ensure at this point that all of the nails are flush with the wood and that no metal is poking out.

 

3. You should now have a rectangular box

With a platform covering roughly one quarter of the bottom frame. You can now start fixing your wire. First measure roughly the sizes of the sides you’ll need to cover. Then staple/peg the wire to the OUTSIDE of the frame and be careful to cut the wire as close to the edge of the frame as possible.

 

4. When cutting out the top wire sheet

Cut the rectangular shape at about two thirds of the way along so that you have two separate unequal pieces. Now attach the larger piece to the frame, then reattach the smaller wire rectangle to the larger one with at least 3 zip ties and voila; you have a hatch you can open. Ensure you don’t pull the zip ties too tight or else the hatch won't open properly. 

 

5. Now cut a small rabbit sized hole

But not too small. The idea is to retain heat inside this box without making it difficult for the rabbits to enter. Cut the hole in the box you’re using as a sleeping area and place it onto the platform on the bottom frame. Be careful here to sand off any edges on the door as the rabbits will be squeezing through it regularly. 

And there you have it! Just furnish with straw, feed tray, water bottle etc. and you have your very own handcrafted rabbit hutch. To make it a truly heavenly place for your bunnies to live, please consider stocking their pantry with plenty of Happy Hay.

You need to also find a secure location for your hutch, somewhere that will keep your bunny safe. You don’t want them to be anywhere that is too noisy or that is subject to a lot of footfall. And it is important to position the hutch out of direct sunlight so ideally under a tree. 

Remember, Rabbits aren’t fussy creatures, and they will be happy with their hutch. You just have to make sure that they stay cool in summer and warm in winter!

 

Find out more

There’s a lot more to learn about rabbits so keep an eye out for more advice, how to’s and fact files on rabbit care.

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