Build a Rabbit Hutch
Learning how to build a rabbit hutch will serve you well, both before and after any apocalyptic event. Building a hutch beforehand will allow you to keep pets for your children and will teach you the basics of coop and hutch construction. Building it after a TEOTWAWKI event means that you’ll have access to fresh meat and pelts. Once the hutch is built, you’ll need to learn how to breed and raise rabbits for meat.
As with any home construction project, it would be crazy to just build a rabbit hutch without any planning or preparation. Some key questions to consider when you’re drawing up your designs include:
- Location — the location of your rabbit hutch will influence many different factors. If you’re planning on having it inside, you’ll need to think about where their waste will go and how you’ll transport them to the garden to exercise. If you want to build a rabbit hutch outside, you’ll need to consider how you will keep them dry in the rain and warm during the winter months.
- Numbers — the expression “multiplying like rabbits” exists for a reason, so your rabbit hutch designs should take into account how many original members you’re going to have and where you’ll put the extras when they start to arrive. Meat rabbits tend not to be tamed, so you’ll need to think about how to keep the males and females separate unless you want a constant supply of baby rabbits.
- Materials — the materials you use will depend on where you’re building
the hutch and what you have available. Traditionally, an indoor hutch
becomes a cage, and you’ll need lots of strong wire fabric to build a
rabbit cage as they can gnaw through just about anything. If you’re
building an outdoor hutch, you should plan to make it out of treated
wood, for weatherproofing, with mesh screens for ventilation. Do not use
chicken wire fencing for rabbit cages; it’s not strong enough.
Basic Design Principles
While the design may change, depending on the location, your design will need to include a few common factors when you build a rabbit hutch. These include:
- Nutrition — your hutch design needs to include specific areas where the rabbits can access food and clean water. The food sources need to be near the hutch doors so that you can put fresh food in quickly without the fear of letting the rabbits escape. Water can be placed in bowls, as you would do with cats, or in upside-down bottles that allow the rabbits to drip feed themselves.
- Warmth — your rabbits need somewhere comfortable and warm to sleep and prefer to sleep in dark spaces, as they would do in the wild. Part of your hutch design should be an enclosed space filled with straw or big sawdust shavings to allow them to make a nest. If the hutch is outside, you should consider putting a thin layer of insulation around the inside of the walls to help the hutch retain the rabbits’ body heat.
- Cleanliness — if you’re raising rabbits for meat, you want them to be in good health. you need to give yourself easy access to their bedding so you can clean it out regularly, give them access to grass for their toileting needs and keep any wire ends on the outside of the design so they don’t cut themselves and develop infections.
Treated wood and strong wire tend to be the building materials of choice when you build a rabbit hutch, as they give you the protection and strength you’ll need. If you choose to get started early, you can buy pre-made hutch sets that are shipped to you flat-packed and just need screws to set up. You can also download pre-drawn plans from the Internet. You can then cut the materials to the right shapes and sizes in your own time.