By Jaynelle Louvierre – I recently saw a letter in Countryside and Small Stock Journal from a lady who was seeking plans for a rabbit hutch. After sending her the plans for my design, I realized that some of the other readers out there may find it useful as well.
I came up with this rabbit hutch design after losing some rabbits to the chill of winter a few years ago. I wanted a rabbit hutch that would keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I am happy to report that since I begun using this rabbit hutch, I have not lost a single rabbit to the elements. It was a hard lesson, one I hope to help those new to raising rabbits for meat avoid.
The roof slopes backwards so that in the winter, I can turn the sloping side toward the northern winds while allowing the larger front to face south. In the summer, I simply reverse the rabbit hutch to allow the sloping side to face south, thereby protecting my rabbits from the heat.
The sleeping box is surrounded on three sides with plywood to protect the bunnies from the wind or heat, as the case may be. The bottom of the box is screened out allow the droppings to pass through. In the winter, though, I fill a cardboard box with straw and slide it into the wooden sleeping box to protect my rabbits from the cold air coming under the rabbit hutch.
The rabbit hutch was built using scrap lumber so it was cheap. Rabbit hutches can be slightly pricey though if you decide to use new lumber.
On my original rabbit hutch, I extended the roof a bit too much on the sloping side and in a very strong wind, the hutch would flip over. A concrete block against the back braces solved that problem. On this plan, I tried to allow for strong winds and shortened the roof overhang as well as lessened the slope.
You will need approximately 9 — 2 x 4s.
3 — 2 x 4s cut to 48 inches in length for the front legs
3 — 2 x 4s cut to 41 inches in length for the back legs
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 44 inches in length for the upper portion of the legs at the roof line
For the floor frame:
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 30 inches in length for the sides of the floor
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 41 inches in length for the front and back sides of the floor
1 — 2 x 4s cut to 34 inches in length for the center brace running from front to back beneath the floor
For the sleeping box:
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 18 inches in length for the sides of the sleeping box floor
1 — 2 x 4 cut to 13 inches in length for the back side of the floor
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 22 inches in length for the side walls a the back of the box. These will drop down 4 inches below the 2 x4 at the floor to provide a nailing surface for the sleeping box braces
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 24 inches in length for the sleeping box braces
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 18 inches in length for the upper sides for the box at the roof line
1 — 2×4 cut to 16 inches in length for the upper back of the box at the roof line
You will also need:
1 — 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood for the roof, sides of the sleeping box, and back panel. (I used some scrap ½ inch plywood for my roof but you could substitute it with plastic or tin.)
2 — 2 x 4s cut to 35 inches in length for the upper side sat the roof line of the main section to form the slope.
Wire for the sides of the rabbit hutch. Because the rabbits will not be walking on this particular section of wiring, I used old fencing.
Wire for the floor has small squares. If you are like me and cannot remember the name of this particular wire, someone at your local hardware store can help you out
I recommend using 8 “d’ ring shank deck nails because they really lock the wood together
The door can be built out of 2” x 2” lumber covered in wire screen. Be sure you leave a small gap between the edge of the door and the side of the rabbit hutch to allow the door to swing easily on its hinges.
• Assemble the main floor frame. It should measure 44 inches by 30 inches when complete. See figure A.
• Attach the two 44-inch boards to the top of the legs a the roof lines, and then attach the leg sections to the floor frame that is already assembled. See figures A and B.
• Next, install the center brace and the two 35-inch boards at the upper sides of the roof line. See figures A and D for the brace. See figure C for upper side board placement.
• Construct the sleeping box floor right onto the main floor frame and include its braces, side wall boards, and back wall board. See figures A and C.
• Cover the main floor and sleeping box frames with wire screening.
• Now cover the sides of the hutch with wire screening and install plywood panels on the sleeping box and the back wall of the main hutch. See figure A.
Next cut the plywood roof and attach. If you are using a plywood roof, you may want to cover it with a waterproofing material. To be honest, I didn’t cover my plywood roof and it has held up pretty good despite that fact.
• At last, you can build and attach the door.
In addition to proper housing, rabbits need access to plenty of fresh water and food to help them fend off disease. Flystrike and warbles in rabbits are of particular concern.
I hope some of you can find this rabbit hutch design useful and maybe even improve upon it.
Published in Countryside July / August 2001 and regularly vetted for accuracy.