The Backyard Rabbit (or Quail) Coop

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Introduction: The Backyard Rabbit (or Quail) Coop

About: It's dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Many budding homesteaders and/or suburban rabbiters enthusiasts quickly find themselves in need of a sturdy, outdoor rabbit coop. We found ourselves in this predicament this spring. Though we searched for plans online, the results fell flat for us. So, my wife and I designed one ourselves and bought the needed hardware/lumber at our local hardware store. This build will take you a weekend or two by yourself, and considerably less time with a partner. You don't have to be a professional carpenter or woodworker to take on this project, but it helps to know your way around a few power tools.

Supplies

Tools

1. Drill

2. Drill bits / sockets

3. Table saw

4. Miter saw

5. Hammer

6. Work gloves (optional)

7. Ladder

8. Wire cutters

9. Carpenter's level

10. Circular saw


Lumber

1. 2 - 2"x8"x6' (rafters)

2. 3 - 1"x2"x12' (roof support beams)

3. 15 - 2"x4"x6' (framing/doors)

4. 4 - 2"x4"x8' (framing)

Hardware

1. 4 - Sets of gate hinges

2. 5 - Polycarbonate roofing panels

3. 1 - 5 lb box of 2 1/2" T20 deck screws (or similar)

4. 1 - 2 lb box of 1 1/4" T20 deck screws (or similar)

5. 1 - 2 lb box of 5" T20 deck screws (or similar)

6. 1 - 2 lb box of 2" hex-head screws (or similar)

7. 1 - 1 lb box of matching neoprene washers (or similar)

8. 6 - Pier blocks

9. 1 - Roll of aluminum flashing

10. 2 - Decorative plant hooks (optional)

11. 1 - 5 lb box of 1" fence staples

12. 1 - 30' of 36" 1/4" wire mesh.

13. 1 - 15' of 36" 1/2" wire mesh

14. 20 - 90-degree corner brackets

15. 4 - Sets of hooks & eye latches or latch bolts

Step 1: Build the Frame & Attach the Wire Mesh

Lay the 8' boards on the ground or a table parallel to each other. Decide on the depth and width of the hutch. I cut the middle support pieces at 30". Cut five of them. Space them evenly apart, and screw them in place with 5" screws.

Affix the four inner corners 90-degree angle brackets to ensure square across the frame.

When you're satisfied, attach quarter inch wire mesh on one side. References pictures above.

When you've finished - build ANOTHER frame just like this one, but attach the vinyl-coated half-inch mesh on one side.

The vinyl-coated mesh will be the bottom of your cages. The 1/2" makes it so manure is easier to slip through the cracks to down below. The vinyl coating repels heat more than traditional wire and is softer on the feet of your rabbits and/or quail.

Step 2: Build the Legs, Finish the Framing, Set the Frame on Piers

Take your 6' boards and screw them together in an L shape (refer to first photo). Decide on the height of your cages and mark the legs accordingly for attaching the top and bottom frame. With the help of an exceptional friend (you've sufficiently inebriated ahead of time), screw them in place, and check them for level. Be sure to have enough screws on all sides. It may be a bit wobbly at this point. That will work itself out once you've added additional braces.

Once both the top and bottom are on, lay the piece down with your strapping friend and/or family member, and attach connecting boards in the front and back. I aligned the boards from the top and bottom, which provided an easy guide.

When this is done, stand the frame up on its legs. Though not pictured above, you can add middle 6' board braces on the front and back to provide additional structural support.

Measure the distance of the legs from each other. Set your pier blocks where the legs will stand in place. Dig them down enough so an inch or two is above ground. Use a large carpenter's level to ensure the piers are level all around. Use your wire cutters or sharp scissors to cut aluminum flashing that will sit on the top of the piers. This will provide an extra layer of protection from moisture to the wood.

Grab your magnificent and hopefully not fully intoxicated friend/family member and lift the frame on to the piers.

Step 3: Attach the Dividers, Wrap the Cage in Wire Mesh, Affix the Rafters & Support Beams, Attach the Roofing

Measure and cut your plyboard to match the height and depth of your cages. Attach them with 90-degree angle brackets on top and bottom. No need for both sides, as the board is light and will not be moving.

Once completed, take your 1/4" wire mesh, and wrap around the sides and back of the cages. Keeping things straight while hammering in fence staples can be quite a task. Be sure to wear gloves so you don't cut your hands here. After you've finished wrapping, take your wire cutters, and trim away any excess wire mesh.

Now that you've got the cages wrapped, let's cut the rafters. Take your 2"x8" boards and cut them diagonally in half. This can be a tough cut, so I'd recommend using a long straight board or your carpenter's level to draw a marking line diagonally end-to-end. You can also use a chalk line if that's something you have lying around. Take your circular saw, jigsaw, or band saw (whatever you can make this cut with) - and make the diagonal cut. After you've done this, measure 1 1/2" from the top and make a mark. From the bottom, make a mark at 12". Make this diagonal cut, and you'll end up with the shape of the rafters above. This can be difficult to comprehend, so check out the pictures I've uploaded to help you here. Cut the rafters to the length of your coop, allowing for 6" - 12" overhang in back (depending on preference).

Cut your support beams, also allowing for 6" overhang on each side. Attach your rafters to the frame with 90-degree angle brackets. Reference the picture above for positioning. Attach the 1"x2" support boards in the front, back, and middle with the overhang evenly spaced on both sides. I ended up with three 10' boards horizontally laid across the rafters. Again, check the photo above to help you with positioning.

Once the support boards are on, place the roofing on top of them. Overlap each panel about 4" or so. Screw them into the support boards with the 2" hex head screws and neoprene washers on the edges, and where the overlaps occur on every panel, across all of your support boards. Refer to the picture above if you need help with visualization.

Step 4: Make and Attach the Doors, Attach Extras

Measure the inside of your door frames. Cut 2x4" boards to size and attach them. I liked the aesthetic of 45-degree angle cuts on both sides and joining the boards that way. You can opt for something more simplistic (or complicated), as long as the job gets done.

Take your gate hinges and attach them appropriately. Reference the pictures above for the orientation I chose. Drill the holes necessary to install your hook and eye latches (or latch bolts) as well for all the doors.

You're done! Optionally, you can add things like decorative hooks, wi-fi cameras, hanging plants, or even landscape around the base.

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    18 Comments

    1
    ArthurJ5
    ArthurJ5

    1 year ago

    Wow that’s great work! I was thinking about having some chickens, but now I have to consider quail, chuckar, and other birds. Hmmm... lots to think about there.

    I hope you have some raccoon defenses like a big yaller dog. With the hands raccoons have they can do horrible damage to your birds and bunnies. The wire mesh is way better than chicken wire. Foxes can’t reach through the wire and grab your birds, but they will chew and claw until the sun comes up. Raccoons are cute but they are also hungry, greedy, clever animals. Be vigilant!

    Sorry for the downer, that’s a lot of work and a great job, and I’m going to make one.

    0
    katerhere
    katerhere

    Reply 14 hours ago

    good point....two of my dogs attacked a raccoon and they are vicious animals....both needed staples, antibiotics, repeat rabies shots....but note if this happens you can get the raccoon tested for rabies by animal control, this saved my dogs from the 45 day later rabies shot booter, they already have 3 year shots...and shots when it happened.

    0
    katerhere
    katerhere

    Reply 14 hours ago

    this was during the day, after 430 and before 7 pm.....some thought that meant rabid raccoon, but that is not necessarily so.

    0
    ArthurJ5
    ArthurJ5

    Reply 9 hours ago

    They do come out in the daytime. I had a couple of young ones in the scrub oak, just running around and playing. Up the tree, down the tree, chattering like crazy until their mom made them settle down with a couple of good screeches. They are cute but good grief they are troublesome. Hope your dogs are OK!

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Not a downer! The reason sure mesh is used instead of chicken wire is for predator defense. I chose quarter inch around the perimeter specifically with racoon hands in mind. This set up has been preventing attacks against our chickens now for quite some time.

    1
    tytower
    tytower

    12 months ago

    Best I ever had was a low fence around the base of a tree. They burrow in to nest and keep warm and come out for food and play. A ping pong bat on a stick stops them getting away from you if you want to catch them and the fertilizer comes premixed with dirt.

    2
    ETsCat
    ETsCat

    1 year ago on Introduction

    You might want to get some used roofing tin, make it slop about6" from front to back. Make it about 6" longer then the coop is wide and put a movable tin tray to catch the droppings. this should be able to slide out to empty, and use the droppings to feed worms. sellable product there.

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks! We've been discussing ways to catch the manure effectively. Love it!

    1
    aoetken
    aoetken

    1 year ago

    As a 30+ year Checkered Giant rabbit raiser, just a couple of notes. Rabbits will chew the covering off the vinyl-coasted wire and any exposed wood including the plywood cage dividers in their cages. Also, any flat wood framing that the wire is attached to will become soaked with urine and excrement especially in the corners of the cage. Free hanging wire cages hung from a wooden frame might be a much better alternative.

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks! I've seen much success with this design and the one you mentioned. This design can also be easily modified to match free hanging cages if that's your thing.

    1
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    1 year ago on Step 3

    A neighbor built a rabbit hutch about 10 years ago and in his, he has a portion of the floor made out of wood to give the rabbit(s) some relief from walking on wire, as well as a small enclosed space so they feel safe. I also understand that rabbits seem to pick one spot as their toilet, which is usually away from the "house" portion. Just some suggestions.

    Also, do you have pics or another instruction for your chicken coop? I really like the look of it.

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks! The vinyl coated floor is really kind to their feet, which is why it was chosen. A small bit of flooring would be cool, but would probably get poop on and require a lot of maintenance. This set up allows the manure to fall to the ground.

    1
    mdes737
    mdes737

    Tip 1 year ago on Step 4

    Very nice but anyone that knows anything about mechanics or cars can tell you a coupe has 2 doors so therefore that would be a 4 door rabbit sedan.

    1
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Lol - hard to beat a good dad joke!

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks!

    0
    saryent
    saryent

    1 year ago

    Is this a hutch for two rabbits or four? I assume one as each section would be very small for one rabbit to be confined in for any length of time without at least being able to see the next door rabbit. Assuming it is for two rabbits, you could make two of the flooring panels out of wood as rabbits feet are not designed to walk on wire. It will quickly become painful for them as they have no pads on their feet like cats and dogs do.

    The cage is very nice to look at but it would be even better if it was at least comfrotable for your farmed rabbits to live in as it is to look at for the humans. As well as floor boarding you could add a small sheltered area to help with this.

    0
    esper2142
    esper2142

    Reply 12 months ago

    The vinyl coated wire prevents pain for the rabbits, which is why it is used did flooring. This design is for up to four rabbits, or a lot of quails. It is flexible. Depending on the breed, rabbits are actually solitary animals.