There is no one style of rabbit housing that is suitable for all situations, but there are certain basic rabbit housing needs that should be met regardless of the type of housing used.
Raising rabbits can be a rewarding experience and one that can provide many hours of enjoyment for you and your family. Rabbits also provide wonderful compost for your gardens and are worth the effort if only for that reason.
The first step to success with rabbits is to design your housing correctly and make sure the needs of the animal are met. Provide facilities suitable and comfortable for the rabbits that live there and for the manager who will spend many hours working there.
Let’s explore four basic rabbit housing needs so you can pick the best rabbit hutch plans to fit your circumstances.
The housing should be comfortable for the rabbits
The cage needs to provide enough room for the animal to freely move about. As a general rule, that is .75 square feet for every pound of rabbit. A cage measuring 30 inches by 36 inches (2.5 x 3 feet) would provide the required space for most rabbits. Knowing the mature size of your rabbit breed will be important as you are planning to build a secure hutch.
Take care during the construction process so you do not leave any sharp projections or roughness on the floor. All cut wire and exposed wood should be smoothed or covered.
Provide plenty of fresh air and make sure there is adequate ventilation. Rabbits produce a compound in their urine called urea. Urea reacts with water to form ammonia. This gas is irritating to the nose and eyes and can reduce the rabbit’s productivity and health.
Rabbits need to be kept dry and protected from cold winds, heat, and extended periods of direct sunlight. Make sure your hutch has a shelter where your rabbit can get out of harsh winds and can stay dry. In very hot weather you may need to provide extra cooling in the form of frozen water bottles.
The housing must confine the rabbits, keep them from escaping, and protect from predators
The wire used must be strong enough that the rabbit can’t tear it, being sure that wooden parts are covered so the rabbit can’t chew its way out. The wire should surround the cage or hutch completely on the top, bottom, and all four sides.
Dogs, cats, opossums, snakes, foxes and many other animals will enjoy a rabbit dinner if you make it possible. They are quite capable of destroying substantial rabbit housing, so planning for additional strength with wire and even extra fencing may be necessary.
The housing should allow easy, comfortable access for the manager
Rabbits will require daily care. Make sure your hutch is at a comfortable level so you can reach inside for access during breeding, grooming, cleaning, watering, and feeding.
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This is important if children will be involved in the care. They may be inclined to avoid doing their chores if it is difficult to see or reach inside the cage. Make it easy for them to participate in the fun of raising rabbits by having the cage at a good height.
The housing should be easy to clean
Cleanliness, in addition to ventilation and good management, will go a long way toward prevention of disease. This is also important, to reduce the odors that can develop in the rabbitry. Even self-cleaning cages will need a bit of weekly attention from the owner and it is often necessary to brush or remove manure from the cage floor.
Several hutch plans have pull-out drawers to capture manure. This is handy to have in one place if you are going to be using it as fertilizer in the garden. As a general rule, your cage needs to be big enough to reach inside for cleaning.
Consult the Rabbit Housing Publication from Southern University Ag Extension Center for more details about constructing rabbit hutches.
5 Places to find free rabbit cage plans
We chose these plans because the plans are free, they are simple to make, and they are small enough for every backyard rabbit owner to implement.
Ginger Snap Crafts DIY Bunny Hutch has a sturdy roof and a door big enough to reach inside.
Construct 101’s free pdf rabbit hutch plans include a separate built-in area for the rabbit to get out of the elements.
Rogue Engineer’s plans have a two-tier hutch area for the rabbit that is moveable, goes on your lawn, and has a large opening for easy access.
How to Specialist’s plan has detailed instructions and is also a moveable rabbit hutch giving them access to fresh grass.
This YouTube video from Great Cove Adventures is the simplest design of them all and will show you how to build a simple rabbit cage without breaking your budget.