The Hutch is Happening

If I were tweeting about this, I’d add the hashtag to my tweet #it’shappening. I’ve got my hutch set up and ready for my rabbits. I started this summer and never got it finished when school things started picking up at the end of August. And since I’ll be getting my rabbits this Saturday, I needed to finish this project. Finally.

Like the chickens, I’m learning that there are various ways to raise a rabbit and many different opinions about the best way to do so. As I’ve gotten more experience raising my hens, I’ve figured out what works best for us and have managed to keep my girls happy and healthy. But I didn’t always feel this confident. I spent a lot of time second-guessing my choices and wondering if I was doing the right things. I’m noticing that familiar insecurity creeping up again and I don’t even have the rabbits yet. So I’m taking this new endeavor one step at a time and have at least decided how I’ll set up my hutch.

In doing my research on building a hutch, I learned that the most important thing is to keep the rabbits dry and cool. I knew that I’d have to keep them sheltered from the rain and wind during the winter and keep them cool and out of the sun during the summer, so I decided to put the structure in the shade of the north side of my house.

Like most projects around here, the hutch didn’t come together easily. I had lots of fun challenges along the way. Building a custom-style hutch with a unique compost system like I wanted just didn’t happen because of a lack of time, expertise and shady space. However, I think what I came up with will work out just fine. With the help of my dad, I built a simple wood structure that will protect the rabbits from the elements.

I attached a piece of oil cloth, which I fitted with a grommet in each corner, to the two exterior sides. Those will keep the rabbits protected from the wind and rain coming in from the sides.

I decided to invest in two pairs of stacking cages from Bass Equipment, one set of 30 by 30 inch cages and the other two 30 by 36 inches. I plan on keeping the doe and the buck in the 30×30 cages and will use the 30×36 inch cages as grow-out cages and when my doe is expecting. I already ordered the nesting box. I ordered the cages with doors that swing out so it’s easier to access the rabbits. I was able to order super cool adapters that make two-liter bottles into waterers. They even came with springs that secure them to cages like a bungee.

Putting together the actual cages was a test of patience. Every few inches a small piece of metal called a J-clip is curled around the two sides of wire to join them together. I ordered a special pair of J-clips pliers, but I had the hardest time figuring out how they fit around the clips to bring them to a close. I’m sure most people find them easy to use and I was just too close to the problem to see the solution clearly, but I couldn’t figure out an easier way.

I finally devised a system using a real pair of pliers, which I used to give the J-clip a little more of a bend, and then using of the J-clip pliers to bring the metal all the way around and secured in place.

Finally, no rabbit hutch would be complete, at least on my farm anyway, without a little decorative bunting to give it some charm. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it with style. So, I’m working on that final touch.

Stay tuned for updates soon. #it’shappening

 

5 thoughts on “The Hutch is Happening

  1. Sarah C.

    I currently have five “breeding” rabbits in two sticking cages very similar to yours in an outdoor shed. That’s not even taking a grow out pen for kits into account. So watch out! Stacking cages can lead to a severe case of rabbit hoarding!

    What breed of rabbits are you getting? I love watching your progress and I’m excited to see how rabbits fit into your little farm.

    Reply
  2. Dana

    Hi Stacy! I love your blog. :) Just want to let you know… if it gets cold enough to snow or actually does snow, you will want to bring the rabbits inside somewhere. We had one at my school last year that died from the cold, and it was really sad. You can have them in your garage or maybe your bathtub, like the chicks, but you really don’t want to keep them outside all winter unless you have some way to heat them a bit. Maybe some blankets on the outside of the hutch? Or a heat lamp?

    Reply
    1. stacy Post author

      Interesting…everything I’ve heard from other rabbit raisers and what I’ve read has told me they do ok, as long as I make sure their water doesn’t freeze and they keep sheltered from the wind and rain. I’m a worry wort though, so if it snowed, I’d be out there checking on them all the time. :) Thanks for the heads up!

      Reply
      1. Sarah C.

        Our rabbits are kept outside year-round and it gets down to 20* easily. It snows from November to April and our rabbits have lived quite comfortable with no added heat. As long as they have shelter from the wind and drafts, rabbits do very well in temperatures well below what Seattle can muster up! I know people with rabbits outdoors in 0* temps with no problems!

        Reply

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