Introduction: Building a Sectional Rabbit Hutch

If you're new to raising rabbits as part of an urban homesteading project (like I am), you're going to need a home for them. A breeding pair can produce 8-10 bunnies per litter and I'm sure the cats and dogs aren't going to like giving up their cozy beds for dozens of little long eared friends.

The sensible thing to do? Build a rabbit hutch! For less than $250 you can build a sectional 5 cage hutch, perfect for a breeding pair and their offspring.

I know, I know. At this point you're probably thinking "A sectional hutch? What?"

Let me explain. I live in Maine, where winters can dump several feet of snow and pound us with temperatures below zero on a daily basis. With a sectional rabbit hutch I can break it down and move it into my cellar if the temperatures drop too low. I can also move it into other areas of the back yard if I choose to. It can be quickly and easily handled by two adults.

This instructable covers the construction of a 6' (3 bay) rabbit hutch section and an adjoining 4' (2 bay) section.

You may build either or both depending on the number of rabbits you are starting with and the space you have to work with. Lets get started!

Step 1: Create a Plan

I like to draft projects like this using plans and elevations. I sketched out my sections and roughed in dimensions prior to cutting any wood, which gave me a solid direction for the entire process. Use these images to help you get started.

Step 2: Purchase or Collect Your Materials

Listed below are the materials you will need as well as their prices (which may vary).

Material

  • 16 pine 2x3's 8 foot length, $37
  • 14 2x2 pine furring 8 foot length (mine came in bundles of 4), $28
  • 2 rolls of 24"x25' welded wire 14ga, $42
  • 36"x10' roll of 1/2 wire mesh cloth, $14
  • 2 lb of 2 1/2" decking screws, $20
  • 5000 1/2" staples, $12
  • 5 hinges 2 1/2" narrow, zinc plated, $20
  • 5 barrel bolts 1/2", zinc plated, $17
  • 2 4'x8' sheets of 1/2" plywood, $55

Tip: Use spare materials you have laying around to reduce cost. Spare plywood can be used for the roof, and the 2x3 legs can easily be swapped out with 2x4's with only minor modifications to the doors.

Step 3: Gather Your Tools

You will need the following tools to build your Sectional Rabbit Hutch.

  • Circular Saw
  • Drill and 1/8" bit
  • Impact driver
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun
  • Measuring Tape
  • Carpenter square
  • Carpenter pencil
  • Tin snips
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Earplugs

Disclaimer: DeWalt does not pay me to advertise. I just happen to own DeWalt tools and really enjoy them.

Step 4: Building the Floor

Note: When constructing the hutch sections I started with the floor and built my way up. Additionally, I built my sections one at a time because of space limits, but it will save some tool switching and setup to build them both at the same time.

For the 6' Hutch Section

  1. Use the circular saw to cut two of the 2x3 studs to 6 foot lengths. These will be the long supports for the 3 bay hutch section.
  2. Save the scrap for later use.
  3. Measure four 2x3 support pieces, 33" in length. Cut from 8' stock to get two from each stud.
  4. Save the scrap for later use.
  5. Butt the 33" end supports flush with the ends of the 6' supports to make a box shape.
  6. Butt the two middle supports 2' and 4' on center from one end of the 6' support.
  7. Using the drill make two 1/8" pilot holes and followed up with two screws to attach each piece, keeping them loose until everything is secure. Be careful not to over torque the screws. Even with pilot holes, the wood may split if you go too deep with a screw.
  8. Once the frames are squared and tightened mark one long side 'front' on both floor frames.
  9. Unroll the mesh cloth and spread it over one frame.
  10. Measure and cut. The mesh should be centered with approximately 1/2" from the left, right, and back sides, with 1/2" excess on the side marked front. Fold the excess over. Do not cut off the excess.
  11. Staple the cloth in place and set floor frame aside.

For the 4' Hutch Section

  1. Use the circular saw to cut two of the 2x3 studs to 6 foot lengths. These will be the long supports for the 2 bay hutch section.
  2. Save the scrap for later use.
  3. Measure three 2x3 support pieces, 33" in length. Cut from 8' stock.
  4. Save the scrap for later use.
  5. Butt the 33" end supports flush with the ends of the 4' supports to make a box shape.
  6. Butt the middle support 2' on center from one end of the 4' support.
  7. Using the drill make two 1/8" pilot holes and followed up with two screws to attach each piece, keeping them loose until everything is secure.
  8. Once the frames are squared and tightened mark one long side 'front' on both floor frames.
  9. Unroll the mesh cloth and spread it over one frame.
  10. Measure and cut. The mesh should be centered with approximately 1/2" from the left, right, and back sides, with 1/2" excess on the side marked front. Fold the excess over. Do not cut off the excess.
  11. Staple the cloth in place and set floor frame aside.

Be Safe! Be sure to wear gloves when handling wire.

Step 5: Building Dividers and Ends

For the 6' Hutch Section

There are two dividers and two ends on this section. They are all built exactly the same way (although their installed orientation will depend on your preferences).

  1. Measure and cut four furrings into 3' lengths.
  2. Trim the scrap pieces to 21" and save.
  3. Using a fifth length of furring, measure and cut four more 21" lengths.
  4. Verify that you have eight 36" furring sections and eight 21" furring sections.
  5. Assemble four 'picture frames' by butting the short furring pieces on the ends of the longer furring to make corners.
  6. Use a single screw to attach all of the ends. Tip: For added stability use two offset screws (drill pilot holes first).
  7. Measure and cut the welded wire to size. Align the wire flush the the bottom long edge of the frame. There will be excess at the top. You may leave this or trim it.
  8. Staple the welded wire in place.
  9. Tip: Sometimes furring is bowed. If you need to work with warped material, try to force the bow into shape by making it the bottom of a frame like these.

For the 4' Hutch Section
There is one divider and two ends on this section. They are all built exactly the same way (although their installed orientation will depend on your preferences).

  1. Measure and cut three furrings into 3' lengths.
  2. Trim the scrap pieces to 21" and save.
  3. Using a fourth length of furring, measure and cut four more 21" lengths.
  4. Verify that you have six 36" furring sections and six 21" furring sections.
  5. Assemble three 'picture frames' by butting the short furring pieces on the ends of the longer furring to make corners.
  6. Use a single screw to attach all of the ends. Tip: For added stability use two offset screws (drill pilot holes first).
  7. Measure and cut the welded wire to size. Align the wire flush the the bottom long edge of the frame. There will be excess at the top. You may leave this or trim it.
  8. Staple the welded wire in place.
  9. Tip: Sometimes furring is bowed. If you need to work with warped material, try to force the bow into shape by making it the bottom of a frame like these.

Be Safe! Be sure to wear gloves when handling wire.

Step 6: Mounting Dividers and Ends

Note: From here on out the steps for both hutches are largely the same so the instructions, unless otherwise noted, will assume that both hutch sections are in work.

Mounting the Dividers and Ends

  1. To mount the dividers and ends to the rabbit hutches, simply line them up with the frame members and screw them in place as shown in the photos. There is really no measuring for this part.
  2. Optional, Orient the two inner dividers of the 6' hutch with their wire faces pointed out. This gives a bit more space to the middle cage, which is slightly smaller in area than the two outer cages.
  3. Mount the cross bracing on the front of the 6' hutch. Butt the ends and center the dividers at 2' and 4'.
  4. Mount the cross bracing on the front of the 4' hutch. Butt the ends and center the divider at 2'.

Step 7: Facing the Backs of the Hutches

Note: To attach the welded wire to the backs of the hutches you may need an assistant.

  1. Roll out enough welded wire to cover the back of each hutch section and line it up for trimming.
  2. Staple the wire in place temporarily and attach the back cross brace on the top back side of the hutch to square up the dividers. Cover the top of the welded wire with the cross brace.
  3. Once the wire is centered, staple into place ensuring that you close all of your gaps.
  4. The back legs can be mounted at this point. For a recommended hutch height of 5', cut the legs to 57&1/2". Other heights may be achieved at your discretion.
  5. Mount the legs over the welded wire as shown in the photo.

Be Safe! Be sure to wear gloves when handling wire.

Step 8: Facing the Fronts of the Hutches

Facing the front of the hutches involves building up an additional layer of 2x3's in order to add the front legs and provide mounting surfaces for the doors.

  1. Start by mounting the front legs. For a recommended hutch height of 5', cut the legs to 57&1/2". Other heights may be achieved at your discretion. Mount as shown in the photo.
  2. To face the front edge of the floor and cover up the excess mesh cloth, cut a 2x3 to fit between the front legs. Tip: This is also a good opportunity to make use of some scrap.
  3. To face the front divider edges, cut 2' lengths from 2x3 scrap and drift into place. Ensure all openings are the same width before screwing into place. Otherwise your door widths will be slightly different.
  4. Stand your Hutches up to balance them and see how they look!
  5. Move them into their intended locations before mounting the doors and roofs.

Step 9: Building the Doors

At this point if you have built your hutch sections to plan, you should be able to produce 5 doors that are the same size and shape. Measure the clear openings of the hutches to get your measurements. My doors are roughly 21x20, although there may be variance that will need to be accounted for. Be sure to account for a 1/8" to 3/16" gap around the entire door to avoid sticking.

The procedure for building the doors is the same as the dividers;

  1. Cut longer top and bottom frame pieces.
  2. Butt the verticals to the edges of the bottom and top frame pieces.
  3. Drill pilot holes and screw frame together.
  4. Measure and cut the welded wire to fit before stapling into place.
  5. Set the doors aside until required.

Step 10: Mounting the Doors

  1. Measure down 2&1/2" from the top left corner of a clear opening and mount the hinge on a vertical face with the provided screws.
  2. Repeat for the bottom hinge but measure up.
  3. Hang your door (have an assistant hold it in place if necessary) and attach the hinges with the provided screws.
  4. Mount a barrel bolt opposite of the hinge side of the door, half way down the length of the door.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining doors.

Step 11: Gussets and Roofing

  1. Cut one of the plywood sheets to 4'x5'.
  2. Using the 4'x3' sheet, measure and cut 90 degree triangles with 8" to 12" for use as gussets to stabilize the hutches.
  3. Install the gussets where the legs and floor of the hutches intersect. (need picture)
  4. Using scrap furring, screw a few pieces onto the top front of the hutches. When you install the roofs this will create a slope to the back of the hutches.
  5. Place the full size plywood sheet over the 6' hutch. Center the plywood and allow for 12" of overhang on either side, 11" overhanging the front of the hutch, and 1" in the back. If you are not happy with 12" overhanging the sides, trim the plywood to 80"x4'.
  6. Repeat with the smaller hutch roof and trim as necessary.
  7. When the roofs are adjusted to fit, screw them into place.

Step 12: Finishing Up

Congratulations! You have finished your sectional rabbit hutch. You may want to stain or paint the wood to increase longevity. If you have eager bunnies, help them move into their new home!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this project, my intention was to build a weather resistant hutch that could be moved as necessary, even indoors if the situation warrants.

Depending on your budget and time you may decide to build the 6' section or the 4' section, both, or maybe you want it all in one piece. The possibilities are up to you! I had a lot of fun building this and wanted to share my process. Thanks for reading!

Comments

author
TimT131 made it!(author)2017-01-01

The only thing I would suggest is using 1x1/2" 14 gauge cage wire for the floor. Put it so the 1/2" spaced wires are facing up, and your rabbits' hocks will be just fine. Only reason I comment this is because it looks like you use hardware cloth, which may be tough on their feet and probably won't take long to rust out...otherwise, for a wood-framed rabbit hutch, I'm impressed!

author
Kawaii_Kida made it!(author)2016-12-23

What kind of rabbit do you have? He looks exactly like my rabbit I have now, Rascal, and I have no idea what kind he is.

author
DaddyEngine made it!(author)2016-12-24

She is a New Zeland Red. Her brother actually had the red, she had a bit of a calico pattern on her back and belly, but was black furred predominantly.

author
MatthewS3 made it!(author)2015-06-01

Rabbits will chew on wood to wear down their teeth. Be aware that they can damage any wood edge they can get to.

Walking on wire can tear up their feet too and create an entry point for infection. Give them something they can sit on to get relief from the sharp wire. Or get a litter box and do away with the mesh all together.

Also, please give them something to hide under, a little house or shelf. Rabbits can get very stressed being out in the open.

author
Patrice66 made it!(author)2016-11-15

this is what I've been trying to say... >_>

author
DaddyEngine made it!(author)2015-06-01

Thanks for the tips! We've been checking feet to make sure we don't have any abrasions, they like to bed down in the hay we have been supplying as part of their feed so they have plenty of time off the mesh. Is there any downside to allowing this? The chewing was also a thought in the back of my mind during this project. Is there a natural deterrent to keep them from tearing up the wood?

author
MatthewS3 made it!(author)2015-06-01

It sounds like they are using the hay as padding on their feet. They should always have plenty of hay to eat as you know. The downside is that if they are urinating and defecating on their hay, you may be wasting some fraction of the hay. A piece of plywood or a cafeteria tray works well to get them off the wire, and they're easy to hose off. You can also make little hay bins, which keep the hay separate from the feces if you continue to feel handy.

You want them to have something to chew on to maintain their teeth, but you don't want them to chew the cage. A round-over router bit can take the corners off your wood that is inside the enclosure. They can't chew something round. Throw in some sacrificial wood feed their need to chew. It's not a deterrent; it makes it physically impossible for them to get their mouth around it.

author
HeatherP2 made it!(author)2016-03-29

Round things are certainly HARDER for them to chew... but not impossible. My rabbits chew even flat plywood!

author
cookinbaconnaked made it!(author)2015-10-16

What size roundover bit would work? Also are scrap pine 2x4 chunks ok to give them as something to chew on?

author
MatthewS3 made it!(author)2015-10-17

depends how big your rabbits mouth is honestly. and I only give my rabbit untreated wood. if you don't know what's in the wood, I would put it in there.

author
cookinbaconnaked made it!(author)2015-10-22

Thank you both for the response. I am wanting to start raising meat rabbits in the spring and have been collecting info on the topic. Any tips for a first timer are appreciated.

author
DaddyEngine made it!(author)2015-10-18

Rabbits can have the scraps as long as the wood is not treated. I used untreated pine for this, so I give them chunks from the scrap pile. Other than that I give them sticks from the yard. Putting wire over the exposed wood is a good way to prevent chewing, but honestly, mine don't chew a lot. We give them the sticks and scrap and hay cubes and they are busy with those all day.

author
Patrice66 made it!(author)2016-11-15

WHATS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE PUTTING METAL BOTTOMS BECAUSE THEY HAVE SENSATIVE FEET AAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNDDD THEY NEED SPACE. >:(

author
DanA122 made it!(author)2016-07-26

This was great! My FFA daughter is excited about her new and improved hutches for this years rabbits.

rabbithutch.jpg
author
HeatherP2 made it!(author)2016-03-29

This is really nice! Of course, the wood won't last past 3 years in some places, but it's replaceable. Also, you can put some hot sauce on the wood. However, I don't really like that idea. It just seems so... mean.

author
parisusa made it!(author)2016-03-21

Hoping you doubled or tripled the space for each pen. Hutches are cruel. Good luck.

author
BoKKeR made it!(author)2015-06-02

I dont like that there is no ground for them to normally step on otherwise nice project, could be bigger for the animals sake :)

author
SnazzyBot made it!(author)2015-06-03

Ground access must be done very carefully, otherwise the rabbits will dig out of the enclosure altogether.

author
DaddyEngine made it!(author)2015-06-03

We also have 3 dogs. Having the rabbits off the ground keeps them away from the mutts.

author
timevortex made it!(author)2015-06-03

good design; however I would lay down newspapers because they can develop foot problems when the only walk on the wire.

For pet rabbits at least, I would advise the following: Give each rabbit about double the space. Rabbits also naturally burrow, so they need a substrate to dig in. In order to fulfill their mental needs they should also have toys, somewhere to hide, and things to chew on (to ware down their ever-growing incisors). All animals should have basic comforts and happiness even if they're raised for food.

author
seamster made it!(author)2015-05-31

This looks really well done. Nice work!

Great first instructable too, I hope we see many more projects from you! :)

author
DaddyEngine made it!(author)2015-05-31

Thanks! This actually started as a blog post, but my fiancée suggested that I make it an Instructable instead. I think it turned out much better this way, and I will certainly be adding more!

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Bio: I love building things! I'm an E-Learning Developer by trade, and writing instructables seemed to be a great way to share some of my ... More »
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