A rabbit hutch doesn’t have to be a DIY project. The ease of the internet makes shopping, choosing features and construction materials, pricing and purchasing a simple project. It is hoped that some of the following information is helpful in finding the perfect rabbit hutch for your rabbit.
Rabbit hutches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, construction materials, features and benefits, quality of craftsmanship and a wide range of prices.
To begin with, the size of your rabbit’s hutch should be determined by the size of your rabbit. A dwarf bunny can inhabit a much smaller hutch than the giant breeds and has different needs. Whatever the breed of your rabbit, he should have room to comfortably hop around and stand on his hind legs.
Some rabbit hutches are simple constructions of wood and galvanized steel mesh while others are built to look like a human’s house, complete with painted walls, window shutters and picket fences. They can be 3 level structures with ramps and tunnels and sometimes an attached rabbit run. Or a simple, functional place to bring your rabbit outside for fresh air and a change of scenery. A rabbit run is an excellent opportunity to give your rabbit plenty of room for vigorous exercise and time for hopping and “binking”. Optimum area and exercise space for a small rabbit is of 7’ x 8’, 8’ x 10’ for a medium rabbit and 14’ x 14’ for the giant breeds. Unfortunately, a large number of rabbit owners do not have that kind of space. The larger the area you provide for your rabbit, the happier he’ll be.
The price of a rabbit hutch can vary from the inexpensive to the very extravagant. Ranging in price from $39.99 US to upwards of $300. US. You are only limited by your budget and the space you can allot for a rabbit hutch.
Rabbit hutches are constructed of various materials. A popular style is built from untreated pine lumber and 14 gauge ½in x ½in galvanized wire mesh. Another popular option is a molded material made up of recycled plastic polymers and wood by-products sometimes referred to as “eco-friendly”. Untreated pine lumber can be colored with safe stains and dyes. Neither one of these options is chew free. The problem with the recycled, molded material is that if a rabbit chews on it, it could be harmful to the rabbit. But, it is much more durable, weather resistant and lasts up to 3 times more that wood hutches. There are some multi-purpose hutches that are offered as habitats for different species of small mammals and poultry. If you are interested in this kind of structure, make sure that any ramps are wide enough and sturdy enough to accommodate your rabbit and there is plenty of room for him to move around inside. Any metal parts of the structure should be made of galvanized steel as it does not rust.
There are many optional features of a rabbit hutch. Some of the more beneficial ones are; attached holders for food and water crocks, slide out trays to catch waste and uneaten food, built in ramps and tunnels and small structures within the hutch for the rabbit to hide. Also important is supplying your rabbit with plenty of toys and stimuli to keep him engaged and happy. You should give your rabbit a flat sheet of plywood or sturdy cardboard for thumping, scratching and general comfort. Short haired rabbits and the giant breeds suffer from sore hocks when left on wire mesh only.
Depending on where you live, you will have different requirements for a rabbit hutch. If you live in a rural area, there is a strong danger of predators of all sorts. You will need a hutch that is lifted up to 4 feet off the ground. With hinges and locks that close flush to the exterior of the hutch. In a suburban setting, there is not such a strong likelihood of danger from predators. You must be aware that even in the most benignly appearing neighborhood, there is still the possibility of an occasional raccoon or coyote. Better to err on the side of caution and buy a very secure hutch to keep other animals and bugs out of and your rabbit in the hutch. In the case of a rabbit hutch that you intend to keep on the ground, you need to decide if it needs a floor. Some rabbits can dig a hole and be out of their hutch in 30 seconds. If you have a digger, you need an attached floor. If you feel there is no worry of him digging out and you opt for an open bottom hutch, be sure to lay down a thick layer of hay, as some dirt and many grasses are harmful to rabbits. People keeps rabbits in urban areas, too. There is little danger from wild predators, but be mindful of loose dogs and the presence of rats. A slide out tray is essential to keep waste and fallen food from attracting rats and bugs (clean it often). A rabbit hutch should never be considered the primary habitat for your rabbit. A rabbit should not be left alone outside for long periods of time and never overnight. That could be quite frightening for a rabbit and very unhealthy.
If you have decided to purchase a rabbit hutch online, be prepared for some manual labor and have the proper tools for assembly. Your rabbit hutch will likely arrive in several pieces with many pages of instructions and these can be difficult to decipher. If you are DIY challenged, it might be best to consider hiring a handy man. You want your investment to last a long time, be sturdy and safe for your rabbit.
Your local feed store is an excellent source for advice on feeding, caring for and housing rabbits in your area. Also, the feed store is an economical place to buy supplies, hay and pellets.