DIY Rabbit Hutch Design

Step-by-step instructions and materials needed to build an inexpensive DIY rabbit hutch to house your rabbits.
By J. N. Peterson
November/December 1970
Add to My MSN

Here is an inexpensive coop with which you can gain maximum results from rabbits, easy to build and inexpensive.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/NMAVERICK
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Stenciling: An Inexpensive Decorating Method

Create a custom room in your home and express your creativity by decorating with stencils.

The World Awaits You

The birth of an internet business.

DIY Rabbit Hutch From Wooden Pallets

Gather a few pallets and get geared up to make your very own spacious rabbit hutch with just a few s...

How to Hand-Feed Rabbit Kits

Find out how to feed rabbit babies using a goat's milk-based formula.

This inexpensive DIY rabbit hutch is easy to build and will provide your rabbits with a comfortable and sturdy house to live in. 

A DIY Rabbit Hutch Design

James N. Peterson has spent over five decades rambling the globe in search of the Good and the Beautiful. His restless quest—through hobo jungles of the big Depression to plush, catered clubs in South Africa, from sweeping floors in a mill to pacing the bridge of a luxurious passenger ship—has finally brought him full circle to his starting point: A family, small farm, the woods and the soil. Along the way, Jim has picked up a wealth of practical experience and a warm, comfortable view of life.

"The bounty only ceases when you fail to acquire the knowledge necessary to reap the harvest," he says. "I figure many problems in alternative living, communes or homesteads are about the same any place you go. And—whether it's the mountains of Colorado, the woods of Minnesota or the Hills of Oswegatchie right here in Connecticut—you'll most generally find an ole-timer who's already solved those problems.

"A good many of today's young folks are looking for an alternative to the rat race and I don't blame them. I just wonder if they realize that a number of us older geezers have been living such alternatives for years. Trading the so-called security of the establishment for the freedom of a simpler life, we've lived on the perimeter and made our own Good Life from the things provided by the Good Earth.

"In our case, my lady and I cut a spread out of rocky, bushy, wooded hills so dense even the copperheads had to use what was left of the old wood trail to pass through. We had to go the organic gardening route to have any plant life other than bullbriers or scrub blueberries on the land, as it is truly worn out. Along with the soil and reforesting bit, the husbandry of animals is in progress and our hillside is slowly being covered with small coops and sheds, each an experiment in limited costs and maximum serviceability.

"One of our most satisfying projects has been the raising of rabbits. This economical endeavor produces both high protein food and exceptionally rich garden fertilizer (rabbit manure outstrips poultry, horse and cow manure in nitrogen and phosphate content and matches horse manure in potash values) and has been too long overlooked by most folks.

"Even a small-scale rabbit venture pays solid returns but fancy breeds, fancy coops and fancy feed won't teach you any more than trying the same thing with a buck and a doe from the guy down the road.

"A couple of the inexpensive coops shown in this article should house your first rabbits just fine: The animals were successfully raised in far less substantial quarters long before this antibiotic age. With a little common sense and a little loving daily care anyone can raise the pesky critters. Just keep them clean and forget the Easter bunny bit. Ask the guy down the road what he fed them and follow suit."

Here is an inexpensive coop with which you can gain maximum results from rabbits. Constructed basically of 1 x 2 furring strips, 1 inch mesh chicken wire and tar paper, the coop is light enough to be moved from area to area before and after the growing season and out of the prevailing winds to a sheltered spot during the blustery winter months. For further protection, either black building paper or cardboard can be tacked to the sides and back.

The floor, well covered with litter, will provide additional comfort for the rabbits and excellent mulch for your garden.

Step 1: Floor Frame

Cut (and cut 'em square!) three pieces of 2 x 3 lumber, 24-3/4" long and spike to the 8 foot 2 x 3's as shown in Figure 1 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations). Then staple on a 1/2 x 30 x 60 piece of galvanized wire with staples spaced 3 inches apart. Now, for convenience in building, set frame on four cement blocks.

Step 2:Ends

Cut the following pieces of 1 x 2 furring strip to length and nail as in Figure 2 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations).

Two pieces 22 inches long
Two pieces 26 inches long
Two pieces 30 inches long
Two pieces 30 1/4 inches long

Remember, one is for the left side and the other is for the right, so lay pieces out accordingly before nailing. After frames have been assembled, cut and staple 1" chicken wire to the outside surfaces and trim off excess. Lay frames on a solid surface during stapling to make the job easier.

Step 3: Back Section

Cut the following pieces and nail as shown in Figure 3 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations).

Two pieces 60 inches long
Three pieces 25 inches long

When frame has been nailed, staple on 1 inch of chicken wire.

Step 4: Roof Frame

Cut the following pieces of 1 x 2 furring and carefully nail as shown in Figure 4 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations).

Five pieces 72 inches long
Two pieces 44 inches long

Step 5: Door

Cut the following pieces of 1 x 2 and assemble carefully as shown in Figure 5 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations).

Four pieces 27 1/2 inches long
Four pieces 25 1/2 inches long

After nailing sections rigidly together, cover with 1 inch chicken wire and attach hinges. This will ease hanging of doors later.

Step 6: Center or Divider Frame

Cut the following pieces of 1 x 2 and nail as shown in Figure 6 (Click on the image gallery link for illustrations).

One piece 21 7/8 inches long
One piece 25 7/8 inches long
One piece 29 7/8 inches long
One piece 30 1/8 inches long

At this point—when doors, roof frame, divider, ends, back and floor sections have been completed—additional pieces of 1 x 2 should be cut as follows: Three pieces 1 inches  x 2 inches x 29 1/2 inches.
Complete assembly by following this sequence:

(a) Position end sections on floor frame and toe-nail each section at each end with one four-penny nail.
(b) Nail back section to floor and both ends.
(c) Position and nail divider in place.
(d) Carefully position and toe-nail roof frame to back and end sections.
(e) Nail two 29 1/2 inch pieces of 1 x 2 on front (one at each end) to roof frame and ends of coop.
(f) Hang doors.
(g) Position remaining length of 1 inch x 2 inch x 29 1/2 inches between doors. Make certain doors swing freely.
(h) Attach hooks and eyes to doors and center piece.
(i) Nail a small cleat to the frame of coop to act as a stop for the top of each door.
(j) Cover roof frame with 1inch of chicken wire and carefully staple in place. If a heavy object (sledge hammer, piece of iron or rock) is held against the under side of the 1 x 2 during this operation the staple will drive easier and you'll prevent damage to frame. Cover only top, not outside edges, of frame. Trim excess wire.
(k) Cover entire roof frame with black building paper. Tack on at outside edges, placing tacks approximately three inches apart. Fold to box corners neatly.
(l) Cut 30 pound heavy tar paper to fit top area of roof and cement (do not tack or nail) to black paper. Spread a two inch wide area of cement all around outer edges and add a spot here and there at random on the remaining area. Cement, when dry, will hold the tar paper without nails. If nails are used they will eventually be drawn out by temperature change, causing later difficulties


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

eowynrohan
11/15/2013 9:46:09 AM
One of the pictures mentions plans for other coops. I'm wanting to raise rabbits for the freezer so will need 3 cages. Is there a way to contact the author and get more inexpensive plans? This is the most economical design I've seen!

craftygrandpa
9/15/2013 10:22:38 AM
Hey, Erika Schoene, why yes, yes I would eat my cat and any other animal I chose, if this offends you, maybe you shouldn't visit a site that caters to ALL WALKS OF LIFE from vegan to those of us whom you seem to think are barbaric carnivores. Perhaps you should just stick to sites like vegantoday.com, and I promise NOT TO COME THERE AND POST A GOOD HASENPFEFFER RECIPE. We got a deal?

Boyd Craven
7/2/2012 4:08:30 PM
I might consider it if cats taste as well as rabbit?

Erika Schoene
5/30/2012 3:26:21 PM
Do you know rabbits are smarter than a cat? Would you eat your cat?

AUSTIN MIEDEMA
2/7/2012 7:54:04 PM
Figure 1 doesn't seem to be in the image gallery.

Kit_2
9/30/2009 10:20:05 AM
Thanks Guys n Gals at Mother! I could come up with absolutely no information from the USDA or any other source except for full blown commercial operations for a simple hutch. Thanks for keeping these archives of invaluable information open to us!

cresa
6/26/2007 2:42:26 PM
I love this bunnie hutch. I would love to make one. It is very hard to see the measurement on the pictures. Is there any way you could email me the plans to I can make them larger. Thanks Cresa

anon_2
2/23/2007 12:26:56 PM
The pictures to go with the article would have been nice. MOTHER EARTH NEWS RESPONDS: You can find the pictures in the Image Gallery at the top left of the article under "Related."








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.