The other day we built another hutch for our boy Angoras! In a couple months we'll be building a couple more (hopefully; Peaches may be pregnant!), so we're getting good practice at building our hutches. A well hidden rabbit is a happy rabbit, and so we built nesting boxes too!
Our hutches are pretty awesome: We designed them back when we had rabbits in Utah. They're low to the ground so the short mamma (Jill) can easily take care of them. They are 8' x 2' x 2', with a divider wall to split the space in half, so we keep two rabbits per hutch. Angora's aren't small, so they need a good amount of space to live comfortably.
Not all rabbit breeds are the same, so before anyone makes a comment about us using hardware cloth on the floors of our hutches; Angoras have a nice layer of wool on the bottoms of their paws, so no, their feet aren't hurting walking on the hardware cloth, and we keep enough hay down for them to add extra comfort. We raise Angoras for their wool, so we want all of the poop and pee to just fall through the bottom of their hutch. This helps keep their environment clean.
When we had dwarf rabbits in Utah, we used hardware cloth in their hutches too, but we included a solid space for them to lay. To be honest, I hated that solid space because it was always soaked with pee, stinky, attracted bugs, and a pain to keep clean. I suggest laying down hay over the hardware cloth; it's easier to keep hutches clean.
To make sure the hardware cloth is secure we put it in between a wooden frame that is screwed together. This keeps the raw edges hidden, and keeps annoying predators from just ripping out the hardware cloth. Then we assemble the frames by screwing them together, and that is the basic structure of the hutch.
(Raz doesn't like hanging outside for too long without his comfy pillows; we're those kinds of pet owners, we brought the pillow outside so our dog would be comfortable. Spoiled!)
We assemble the hinged roof on the hutch and it's finished! We like to give the outside of the hutch a coat of stain (not pictured here) to help protect the wood from weather.
We built our nesting boxes out of wood and hay, because we don't like the simple metal nesting boxes sold in stores. The metal nesting boxes look too industrial, and we like our rabbits to feel at home in their hutches.
We designed our nesting boxes to tie down to the hardware cloth with wire; which is why the boxes are only three walled. They are 15" x 10", the floor inside is covered with hay, (the rabbits take care of making their bed in the nesting box themselves mostly), and we weaved hay through the wooden strips of the roof. This allows us to only put a thin layer of hay over the boxes during the hot summer months, and insulate the roof more fully during the cold winter months.
Heat is a bigger danger to rabbits than cold, (naturally rabbits burrow underground, it's nice and cold under there), and our rabbits are covered with warm wool fur (7 to 8 times warmer than sheep wool), and we live in Texas so keeping our rabbits warm isn't going to be a problem. Our nesting boxes are to provide a safe place for them to hide. A well hidden rabbit is a happy rabbit!
Hutches and nesting boxes are rabbit approved!