This is the rabbit hutch design I use for all my rabbits. It's safe, sturdy, attractive, predator-proof, tornado-proof, and hurricane-proof. Well, I'm actually not sure how well it would stand up to a tornado or hurricane, but you get the point: it's sturdy.
It's also very versatile. You can move it around rather easily, given its lightweight structure. (I usually need someone to help me move it because it's bulky and awkward to carry. I've had a few smushed toes from carelessness when carrying this hutch. But it's still really great. Smushed toes and all.) I can also use this hutch for many different animals. I used it for a chick nursery once, and I'm sure it would be great for other small animals.
The A-frame structure allows for great strength. I have abused these hutches (when they were empty, of course) by dropping them, standing on them, jumping from peak to peak, and bopping them on the ground to dislodge bunny poop. There has been no decrease in strength, even though they're only held together by finishing nails. (I didn't really want to pre-drill for a bunch of screws, so I took the lazy way out.)
For those of you who worry about the wire floors, I check my rabbits' health very regularly, and I have seen no signs of sore hocks. What I have found is that rabbit rescue websites are often misinformed. For instance, rescues say that the percentage of cancer in non-spayed female rabbits is around 20%. If you check reputable non-rescue sources, you could see the rate drop below 5%. With the wire flooring issue, I believe that although wire DOES increase the chance of sore hocks, it is not the terrible evil that nost rescues believe it to be. And if I ever see the signs of sore hocks in my rabbits, I will cover their outside enclosures with hay, as well as the inside. The reason I leave the wire open is because I have heard from many breeders that rabbits like the cool breeze during the summer. And in the winter, it's nice for them to have an open place to go to the bathroom, so they don't sit in their frozen droppings.
Also, feel free to revise and make things up as you go. I designed this hutch and wrote the instructions before I actually made it, so I'm afraid they're a bit idealized. I know from experience that nothing comes out exactly how its supposed to in the pictures.
So anyways, here's the rabbit hutch in all its glory. I posted the instructions on Wikihow first (before I realized that anyone could edit Wikihow articles), so that's why the instructions are in the format of a bunch of pictures. Be sure to look at each and every one. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
Please give me comments and suggestions. I have had some very good ones so far. Just read some of the featured comments to see people's great ideas! I posted this instructible so that everyone can build, revise, offer suggestions, and (God help me) fix my grammar. I am always open to constructive comments that may enrich this project. And I really love compost ideas!
Happy building! (Sorry for the "book" of an introduction.)
Step 1: Gather Materials!
These specs are for 1 hutch only. I find that the way to best save wood and materials is to make 3 hutches at once.
For one hutch, you will need 5 2" x 2" boards cut like in the diagram of the sixth photo.
For 3 hutches, you will need 13 2" x 2" boards cut like in the diagram of the fifth picture.
To save the maximum amount of plywood, you should follow the plywood cutting chart in the fourth photo. This shows the cutting diagrams for 1 hutch and 3 hutches. For one hutch, you will only need 1 4' x 8' plywood board. For 3 hutches, you will need two plywood boards of the same specifications.
You'll need 1 3' x 4' piece of hardware cloth and 2 2.5' x 2' pieces per hutch. 1 roll of 4' wire would be suitable, but it's expensive and hard to find. If you need, you can lace together two 2' x 3' pieces for the bottom with wire. Just make sure to cut any sharp ends. If you take this route, you can find 2' rolls of hardware cloth at most home improvement and hardware stores for a relatively low price.
If you have a pneumatic nailer, USE IT. It makes the project so much easier than if you just hammer. Also, you won't need wood glue if you have such a tool. You WILL need caulk, though, whether or not you have a pneumatic nailer.
Also, of course, if you were to build 3 hutches, you would need 6 latches and 12 hinges instead of 2 latches and 4 hinges.
Step 2: Frame Time
Pretty self-explanatory. It helps to have another person to hold the wood while you're nailing.
Also, if you have a pneumatic nailer, this is the time to use it. It really transforms a dull and frustrating project to a fun experience.
Step 3: Doors and Window Walls
This is where the trial and error comes into play. You'll likely need to shave those wood triangles down a bit for them to fit nicely.
The way I designed the doors ended up being much different from the way I actually built the doors. They don't fit nicely into the gap like I expected them to; I had to do some quick improvising and came up with a slightly uglier solution. The door sits slightly on top of the frame, and the latches are springs that hook up and over the edge.
Also, I found that wood glue is not necessary if you have a pneumatic nailer. However, if you live in a cold climate, you'll want to caulk the gaps. Theo's cage, as you can see from th e picture, doesn't have big gaps, but some of mine did and I used paintable caulk.
The hole shown here is much too large. Cut a hole about half this size. And it CAN be square.
Step 4: The Outer Shell
Just a tip: make sure to do it in the correct order. Problems will occur if you don't. I know from experience.
Use the finish nailer for this. It's perfect for the job. If you dont have one, just hammer. And hammer. And hammer.
Step 5: Finishing...
Finishing touches are important. Make sure to bend any protruding nails inward. Caulk the gaps. Prime and paint.
I still need to paint mine. The cold weather came before I could last summer, but I'll be painting them soon.
Paint the hutch a light color so sun can reflect in the summer. Bunnies need a cool spot to rest in the hottest months of the year.
Step 6: Finished!
And you can build platforms out of 2x4s. I might put that in another instructible someday, but it really isn't that hard.
Also, you may have noticed the playpen/jungle gym near the hutches. Yes, I DID build that. The bunnies love it.
I am going to build 3 more of these soon. I will post more pictures when I do.
Also, I will indulge myself in a little boasting. I'm a fifteen-year-old girl who built nine of these hutches in one summer. Yeah, they aren't perfect, but they're pretty cool. And I did it, as any little kid would say, ALL BY MYSELF! Well, my mom wouldn't let me cut the wood without her, but other than that, these hutches are my creation completely. I designed, built, and placed these cages myself.
Boasting aside, this should prove that anyone can build these. So go ahead and make your bunny her dream cage!