Rabbit hutches are designed to house rabbits in an optimal environment outdoors. A roof for protection from the elements, height to keep away predators and a wire floor construction for ventilation and cleanliness are hallmarks of the hutch. An important element for breeding is being able to enclose the rabbit in its own space for safety. Construction requires basic carpentry skills. Building your own hutches enables you to make them to your exact specifications. Making your own may also be more affordable than purchasing ready-made units.
Determine the layout and size of the rabbit hutch you will construct. The height can remain standard at 18 inches. The number of cages or boxes you create depends on the number of rabbits you wish to house, but you will need from 24 to 36 inches square for each rabbit. The size is dependent on the breed and rabbit size. Never house a large breed rabbit in a cage designed for a small breed; they will be unable to move freely and can injure themselves. The key here is that a rabbit ready to have a litter needs her own individual space, not a group hutch with an open design.
Construct a box-type frame using the 2 x 4 sections. Do not use treated lumber. Rabbits will chew any wood they can reach, and treated lumber is poisonous. If you are constructing a small rabbit hutch, create a box that is 18 inches high by 24 inches long and 24 inches wide. Medium rabbits need a 30-inch by 30-inch width and length, while large breeds need a 36-inch by 36-inch width and length. You will be joining these boxes together into one system when complete.
Attach the wire mesh to the bottom, front, sides and top of the frame using the staple gun and staples. If you cut the mesh to width in a long section, you can leave the wire connected and simply attach it to one side, then fold the wire at the corner support and run it along the next section of the box without cutting it. This is a safer and more consistent method than cutting and attaching each side separately. You will still have to cut at least one section to avoid overlap, but this way the box will not have seams at each end. Be sure at least one inch of the cut piece of the wire rolls over the edge of the wood where it is attached so that it doesn't come loose and so sharp ends don't stick into the cage area. Staple the mesh firmly in place.
There are two different methods to create a door. You can use plywood as one side of the box (rather than wire), if desired, and cut a small door opening in the centre, attaching it with hinges. One thing to remember is that with breeding rabbits, the more enclosure the better. You can also use the wire mesh, and cut a square away from the centre of the section once it has been attached to the box. Cut your square opening using the wire cutters then, using the hog rings, clamp the bottom section back in place so it will lift and open easily. Use the cage latch at the top of the door to open and close it easily. These can be purchased from most rabbit supply dealers.
Connect your cages on a master frame by measuring the total length of the cages you are putting together. This master frame will have a roof and basic box frame to place your individual cages on. This keeps them above the ground and covered and offers protection from the elements and predators. If you desire, you can enclose the back and sides for more weather protection if you are in a cold weather area. Cut the 4 x 6 sections to the length that will hold the number of cages you are placing inside. It is recommended to build separate hutches if you have more than eight feet in length. Build the box to 20 inches high, 36 inches deep; this way it can house any size cage. Screw the frame together using the drill and galvanised screws.
Cut four leg supports 5 feet high from the 4 x 6 lumber. Screw them to each of the four ends of the box frame with the galvanised screws, making the box sit at the top of the supports. You now have a large box frame on legs.
Enclose the sides and back of your master frame with the plywood as desired. This is very dependent on your weather; if you are in a cold climate, add as much protection from the elements as possible. An open cage design will not successfully house rabbits through the winter.
Cut a section of plywood for the roof of the master frame and nail in place with the galvanised nails. Add shingles if desired for a more durable construction.
Place the cages you constructed inside the master frame box. Your rabbit hutch is now ready to use.