Building a do-it-yourself (DIY) rabbit hutch isn't that difficult. You can save money building it yourself, and you can choose the size of your bunny's home. Most pet store rabbit cages cost well over $100, but with a trip to your local home improvement store, a few tools, and these instructions, you can build a DIY rabbit hutch in a couple of hours.
Planning and Designing Your Hutch
Like all building projects, the job of building a rabbit hutch begins with either drawing up your own plans or finding one to follow. If you have an image in your mind of what you want your hutch to look like, draw it out on paper and be as detailed as possible. Write down your measurements and a list of materials you're going to need (i.e. screws, hinges, wire mesh, etc.) if you know them.
If you're not an architect, don't worry, a rabbit hutch doesn't need to be fancy. Don't get caught up in thinking that the hutch has to have a number of different rooms for the rabbit. Most rabbits do just fine with a single living space. The hutch is basically for eating and sleeping. As long as the rabbit has enough room for both, they're happy.
You can also jot down a list of desirable attributes. What do you want the cage to look like? Approximately how big do you want the hutch to be? Once you have these details in mind, you can begin the search for a plan that looks the same or similar to your vision.
Building a Basic Hutch
You don't need to go crazy, especially if this is your first build. Take your time, draw out your plans, gather materials and tools, and start off slowly. In no time, you'll have a perfect hutch for your bunny.
Tools and Materials
You'll need the following tools and materials to build your rabbit hutch:
- 3-inch and 1-inch nails
- Wire cutters
- Straight edge
- Measuring tape
- (2) Door hinges
- (2) Sheets of plywood, 24-inch by 72-inch by 3/4-inch
- (2) 6-foot long 1-by-2 common boards
- (8) 8-foot long 2-by-4 inch boards
- Chicken wire, 24 inches by 96 inches
- Hook and eye latch device
Building the Frame
For the frame of this rabbit hutch, you're going to need four 2-by-4s cut to 48 inches long, and eight 2-by-4s cut to 24 inches long.
Using a hammer and nails, join one 24-inch board to the end of a 48-inch board so it resembles the letter L. Nail another 48-inch board to the other side of the 24-inch board so it now looks like a U. When adding the second 48-inch board, be sure you join it the same way as the previous one, meaning against the end of the 24-inch board or against the top of it. Complete the bottom part of the frame by joining another 24-inch board at the open end of the frame.
Turn the frame so one of the 48-inch sides is facing you. Join a 24-inch board, positioned vertically, at the corner of the frame. The 4-inch wide side of this board should be against the 48-inch side of the frame, and the 2-inch side against the 24-inch board along the frame's end. Join one board in each corner in this way.
Join a 48-inch board to the top of the vertical boards so it looks exactly like the bottom part of the frame. Finish out by joining the top of the frame using two 24-inch and another 48-inch board. When the frame is finished, it will look like a framed rectangle.
Cut a piece of three-quarter-inch plywood into two, 2-foot-by-2-foot square pieces and nail one to each end of the hutch. Cut another piece of the plywood so it measures 24 by 48 inches and nail it to the backside of the hutch. Hammer in a nail every 3 inches, so the backside is secured in place.
Cut a piece of chicken wire so it measures 24 by 48 inches and staple or nail it to the bottom side of the rabbit hutch. Cut another piece of chicken wire so it measures 24 by 24 inches and staple or nail it to the left side on the top of the hutch. Cut a 24 by 24-inch piece of plywood and nail it to the right side of the top of the hutch.
Building the Door
Cut two 46-inch lengths of the 1-by-2 board, and two more at 24-inches in length. Join them to make a rectangle just like you did with the frame bottom. Cut a piece of plywood that measures 23 inches by 24 inches and nail it to the right side of the rectangle. Cut a piece of chicken wire that measures 23 inches by 24 inches and staple it to the left side of the rectangle.
Add hinges to the top 46-inch length of wood that makes up the door. Secure the other side of the hinges to the 48-inch board on the front of the hutch so that the door will swing upward. Attach the eye and hook locking mechanism on the bottom side of the front.
Adding the Legs
When learning how to build a rabbit hutch, it's important to remember to make sure it is on legs so the bottom of the hutch doesn't come in contact with the ground. This allows the rabbit's home to be drier and healthier because droppings will fall to the ground below.
Turn the hutch over and join a 48-inch length of the 2-by-4 board to each corner. Make sure all four legs are of equal length so the hutch sits evenly.
Building a Multi-Level Rabbit Hutch
The Rogue Engineer offers a building plan for a multi-level rabbit hutch. The following are the materials necessary to complete the project:
- One 4- by 8-foot Textured Wood Composite Panel
- Four 2- by 4 by 8-foot Premium Studs
- Twelve 2- by 2- by 8-foot board
- Chicken wire, 24 inches by 96 inches
- 2-1/2-inch Blue-Kote Pocket Screws
- 1-1/4-inch Exterior Wood Screws
- 2-1/2-inch Exterior Wood Screws
- Wood Glue
Building the Frame
The first step involves assembling the sides. You will need to drill pocket holes and assemble the side of the frame with your 2-1/2-inch Blue-Kote Pocket Screws. Once the frame has been put together, paint it the desired color and wait for it to dry. Once dry, attach the panels with the exterior side down and attach them with 1-1/4-inch exterior wood screws. The area you are choosing to not be the panel can be covered with chicken wire for proper ventilation.
Assemble the Front and Back of the Hutch
Next, you'll want to assemble the front and back of the hutch following the same process as above. Drill pocket holes and assemble the side of the frame with your 2-1/2-inch Blue-Kote Pocket Screws. Then, attach the panels with the exterior side down and attach them with 1-1/4-inch exterior wood screws. Covered the open area with chicken wire as you did in the step above.
Putting the Tray Together
This hutch has a tray. Although it's not necessary, most rabbit owners prefer having a tray so the hutch can be cleaned on a regular basis. You can either use chicken mesh for the tray or a solid piece of material depending on what you're looking for.
Now that all the pieces have been made, you can put it all together. For a step-by-step photo view of the process, and the measurements, check out the building plan photos from the Rogue Engineer or watch the video below.
If you're looking for a hutch that is large and can house multiple rabbits separately, this could be the perfect cage for you. This cage utilizes 2-by-4s and 4-by-4s, along with simple components, such as nails and screws.
The cross pieces that go along the top and the bottom of the hutch are 2-by-4s that are 8 feet long. The corner posts are 2-by-4s that are 5 feet long. The 3-by-4 cross pieces on each end are 35 inches long. The four divider panels are made from 2-by-2s and their finished dimensions are 36 inches long by 24 inches high. The divider panels are spaced 24 inches apart and are screwed down into 2-by-4 crosspieces that are 35 inches in length and are vertically attached to the horizontal 2-by-4s.
Anti-predator Rabbit Hutch
Although this hutch isn't as aesthetically pleasing as some others, it does protect against predators. It's made entirely of wire, other than the straight edges to form the corners of the cage. This type of cage may be recommended if you house your rabbit outside in an area with heavy predation. Foxes and coyotes are known to grab rabbits when they are housed outside.
This cage is 36-inches long by 30-inches wide and 18-inches tall. You will need galvanized cage wire to form the sides of the cage, a pair of dikes to cut the wire, a tape measure, J-clip pliers, and J-clips. You will also need a 2-by-4 to form the edges of the cage and 1/2-inch by 1-inch galvanized cage wire to make the floor of the cage. A smaller diameter wire will reduce the wear on the rabbit's feet.
Construction involves attaching the wire segments with the J-clips, and cutting sections as necessary to fit. You also need to add an entrance.
When building this all-wire hutch, you can avoid creating sharp wire edges when you cut out the door entrance by making your cut in the middle of the galvanized wire segment, and folding the sharp end over on itself. This allows you to get rid of those sharp wire edges at the door without having to grind down the wire around the entrance. If you do any grinding, however, make sure you are wearing eye protection and gloves, especially if you are using power tools or a dremel to do the grinding.
Additionally, you may wish to include another material inside the cage as flooring, such as a piece of plywood, to give the rabbit an area inside where their feet are not directly on the wire. A small hide may serve for this purpose. There is debate among rabbit keepers about all-wire hutches potentially producing sore feet in rabbits, so keep this in mind if you notice your pets developing sore hocks.
Notes on All-wire Cages
Rabbits produce two types of droppings: regular, round-shaped poop, and a different type of poop known as cecotropes, which are typically expelled during nighttime. Rabbits often consume these droppings to ensure they are getting enough protein and vitamin B in their diets. Cecotropes also provide rabbits with healthy bacteria they need.
All-wire cage construction can be functional for rabbit hutches, but they may deny your rabbit access to their cecotropes, especially if their hutch does not include a tray, and droppings fall through the wire mesh. You can avoid this by giving your rabbit access to their cecotropes, either by providing them a flat surface upon which to defecate at night, or otherwise by moving their wire hutch to a location where they care able to access their cecotropes.
Finishing Your Rabbit Hutch
Whatever design you chose to use, your rabbit hutch is now complete. You can choose to paint the wood (if your build includes wood) and stain it, or simply let it weather naturally. If you choose to use paint or stain your wood, do not apply it to the wood on the inside of the hutch because rabbits may chew on the wood, and you don't want them ingesting the paint or stain. If you used other materials, check that all surfaces are free of sharp edges, and that the build is solid and safe for your pet rabbit. Next, all you have to do is introduce your pet to their new home and enjoy the custom, DIY build!