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Rabbits are some of the smallest and easiest pets out there to take care of, but they often need more space than most people would think. The fact is, in many cases, rabbits are kept in habitats that are much too small for them, leading to them becoming stressed, anxious, and unhealthy. A good way to keep your rabbits happy and healthy other than buying high-quality food, is to is to keep them in bigger spaces. For example, you can learn how to build a rabbit hutch for outside rabbits in order to give them a better, more spacious place to live where they can thrive and live their best life possible!
Building rabbit hutches for rabbits is really not as difficult as it may seem – you can do it even if you have little to no experience with building things at all.
To be honest, you can build your hutch even if you are completely inexperienced with crafting and handiwork!
Rabbit hutches are perfect for not only keeping your precious bunnies safe, but still allows them enough freedom and space to explore, roam around, and exercise. The best part of building your own hutch is the ability to make it any size or design that you desire. As a result, you will be able to build whatever hutch size you need in order to house however many bunnies you have!
Today, we will be talking about how to build a rabbit hutch for outside so that you can build your bunny (or bunnies) the habitat that they deserve! Without further ado, let’s get started right away!
Planning the Design for the Rabbit Hutch
Pretty much all of the rabbit hutches (save for a few exceptions) are made using wood, while the doors and the windows are made using wire. Keep this in mind as you begin to plan out the design of your rabbit’s new home. Before you begin to buy materials and construct anything, the first thing that you need to do is to figure out how many bunnies you need to house. There has to be enough space for all of them to move and explore in a safe and healthy manner. The ideal size is about four times the bunny’s body size. You should make the height of the hutch a minimum of sixteen inches, as well. This allows them room to hop a bit without hitting their heads.
To make it easier, here is an example: a five inch wide bunny that is ten inches in length should have a hutch that is 4.2 square feet in size. Another thing you need to consider is whether you want to add in some dividers, in the event that you are going to be keeping more than one rabbit.
A tip that many people give for building rabbit hutches for outside is to keep the hutch around 30 inches in depth maximum. Otherwise, you could have trouble getting your bunnies out when you need to.
Get The Right Materials for the Base
After you’ve already made the decision as to how many bunnies you need to house and also whether you need to add in dividers or not, the next thing you need to do is to get the proper materials. There’s no sense in learning how to build a rabbit hutch for outside if you’re simply going to use the wrong materials, after all!
For example, when it comes to the frame and the supports for the hutch, you most certainly want to get wood that is sturdy. You can use 2x4s or even 4x4s as your posts, taking great care of course to use only straight wood (avoid warped wood, please!). Avoid any wood pieces that appear to be splitting at the edges. Also avoid any wood that looks like they have large knots.
You can choose pine wood (untreated) as the type of wood you use for the supports and also the frame. This kind of wood is resilient and can hold up quite well in varied weather. Furthermore – and more importantly – pine wood (remember to get untreated) is not harmful to bunnies if they accidentally consume it.
Sketch up your design for the hutch so that you can figure out how many pieces of wood you need. Also consider the pieces you need for any doors – of course, for these you can use much smaller wood pieces. Another thing to consider is how high off the ground you want the hutch to be.
Pick Materials for Flooring and Roofing
Once you’ve gotten everything ready for the supports and the posts, it’s basically time to start on the flooring and roofing. You’ll need a piece of plywood for the floor, and another piece for the roof. Of course, you must get these wood pieces to match your hutch’s dimensions. A tip we want to share is that you should get wood that is light reddish or even somewhat golden in color. Avoid any pieces that show large knots or any signs of flaking and fraying.
Gather your materials in order to get ready for the next step (don’t forget to gather enough wire for the hutch as well, according to your design – more on this below)!
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Upon gathering all the pieces of wood that you need, now it’s time to measure them. Make sure that in measuring them, you are marking the pieces as you need them. Check and double check before you cut the wood. If you are not confident in cutting the wood yourself, you can always ask someone for help. Set your wood pieces aside by “type” – for example, all the door pieces should go together, all the posts should be together, and so on. This will allow you to more easily plan out the task of actually putting everything together.
- Make sure that you take all safety precautions before you cut wood. Wear safety goggles in case an errant piece of wood goes flying. Wear safety gloves in order not to lose your grip and make cutting easier in general.
- In the case that you are using a table saw, ensure you do some quick checks for safety before you begin cutting. For example, check that all of your body parts as well as anything important is well out of the way of the actual saw.
- If you are afraid to cut the wood yourself and you are unsure you will be able to do it correctly, you can ask your home improvement or hardware store to do it for you. Most will, and if they do not agree, try a different shop. You will need to bring your dimensions and measurements.
Wire Meshing for the Walls
The next thing in how to build a rabbit hutch for outside rabbits is selecting the wire that you want to use. You will typically want wire mesh, at around a fourteen to sixteen gauge. Choose galvanized as well. This will ensure that the hutch will not break in the case of your bunny chewing on it.
For the doors, as well as the sides, choose 1×2 in rabbit mesh. For the flooring, and you may use 1/2×1 in weave bunny mesh. This ensures that your bunny won’t get its feet hurt from walking over it.
- Don’t even think about using chicken wire. It simply won’t be strong enough for keeping rabbits in. Chicken wire can’t contain the bunnies, and you might end up with your bunnies going missing.
- Specialty bunny mesh can be purchased from online specialty stores for animals. They can be pre-cut to your dimensions, or you can purchase them in a roll for you to cut yourself. Note that most home improvement (and also hardware) stores don’t usually carry bunny mesh, at least not in the sizes that you might need.
- Use wire cutters for getting your wire meshing into the dimensions you need. Don’t forget that you will also need to cut a piece to go into your door’s frame!
Preparing The Rest of The Supplies
Of course, you must also obtain the rest of the supplies before you finally proceed with building a rabbit hutch for outside. You need some shingles to use on the roof, at least if you know that your bunny habitat will be outdoors. Using shingles will allow your hutch’s roof to last longer and protect your rabbits from the elements.
Try to avoid using metal roofing materials as this can make the hutch too hot while under the sun. Pick out shingles that will overlap for best results.
Get some locks, (sliding bolts work really fantastic!) as well as two hinges for the door. Make sure that you purchase stainless steel or rust resistant ones.
Start Putting It All Together!
The next thing you need to do for building a rabbit hutch for outside is to basically start putting everything together! Get some wood screws and start screwing together the end sections. Make sure that you keep the same sections across each other – so width piece opposite width piece, and height piece opposite height piece. Then, put the rest together – in a square (or rectangle, depending on the shape you are going for). That’s all you need to do!
After you have put all of these together, you can then begin to attach the wire mesh to your hutch. You can secure the wire mesh to each side using a staple gun – but not just any staple gun. You need an industrial one in order to make sure the wire pieces will actually stay on! Staple the wire mesh on in about one inch intervals to make sure you don’t get any gaps. Ensure that you are holding all of the wire mesh taut so that you don’t have any sagging.
- If you feel as though you’ll have some trouble with attaching the wire mesh yourself, you can ask for help to make the process much easier.
- You can simply put the door together with a wooden frame and wire mesh. This is the best and easiest way to do it. You can attach the door to the front of the cage.
Attach the Bottom and the Top Last!
Once you’ve put everything together, the door is in place and the hinges are set, you can then put bottom and top on last. Just make sure you do all of that before you put the shingles on. Oh and also, if you need to make dividers, you can simply choose to use some plywood cut into the right sizes.
In putting together your roof, make sure you leave some drainage holes to make sure the roof lasts longer. A layer of tar paper could really help as well in ensuring more protection from water.
- Note that it’s not really necessary to use shingles for the roof of your hutch, but it really helps in increasing its lifespan and weather protection.
Once you’ve put together your new rabbit hutch, the next step is for you to simply find a good spot to put it in. Find an area that is farther from foot traffic, and is also quieter. A shaded area is a nice spot to put it, such as underneath a tree. However, don’t put it near forest areas or any places where there might be a lot of wild animals that can hurt your bunnies. Of course, you might also want to put it in an area where you can easily see it and check on it every now and then. You can choose to use concrete in helping to secure the posts, weighing the entire hutch down and ensuring strong winds won’t move or tip it over. After doing all of this, the only thing you need to do is basically ‘furnish’ your bunny(ies) new home!
We hope that you found this guide on how to build a rabbit hutch for outside helpful. It might seem complicated and really difficult, but it really isn’t too hard to do. Hardware stores can help you with any questions or concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re having trouble putting the hutch together.
Good luck with putting one together for your beloved bunnies!