A wooden rabbit cage is an iconic American symbol. But some wood hutches are better designed and built than others. Find the best ways to keep rabbits, including an all-wire cage with resting mats.
I happen to really like the cleanliness and disease abating qualities of an all-wire cage.
Nevertheless, for various reasons, some rabbits do better on a solid floor that a wooden hutch provides, so we'll review several types of fancy and plain wooden hutches.
You'll learn why I very much prefer all-wire cages hung on a framework of PVC to wooden hutches...
As a teenager with my very first pet rabbits, I built some fine rabbit hutches with the various boards and hardware my parents had on hand and some wire I purchased with my paper route money.
By "fine," I mean, not too shabby for a fairly handy teenager studying auto mechanics but not carpentry... No matter, I was quite proud of what I had built myself.
It wasn’t long before the design flaws became obvious.
It doesn't matter HOW fancy the wooden rabbit cage is. If the hutch design is flawed, at least some of these problems may crop up.
Some years and several kids later, I got back into the rabbit hobby. I still used wood, but this time I made all-wire cages and hung them on very sturdy hutch frames built out of 2x4’s. They were single-tier and held a bank of 3 large cages each.
They were a huge improvement over those first hutches I had made, proud as I was of them at the time.
But the wood was still prone to odor,
especially as the animals ‘water-bombed’ the wooden legs of the hutches with
their urine. Plus the 2x4 feet began to soften from the moisture in the ground. The
other flaw in this new design was that I could not remove the cages for
A few years passed before I discovered the possibilities of PVC.
PVC is strong, durable, light-weight, and nearly ideal for supporting rabbit cages.
The main problem with PVC is that it can become brittle in sunlight. Nevertheless, if the hutch frame is housed out of the sunlight, there is no reason it cannot last for a great many years.
In fact, our hutch frames have been going strong with no signs of weakness or cracks for 12+ years.
All-wire cages hung on PVC rabbit hutch frames, either indoors or outdoors, were a magical combination that solved ALL the issues common to wood.
All that said, I know very well that some rabbit raisers really like their wood hutches, and this is completely fine. Certain rabbit breeds do better with solid wood floors, for example, the very heavy breeds like Flemish Giants or French Lops, or the active rabbits like Belgian Hares or English Spot rabbits.
We all love raising our rabbits, and we work toward taking the best care of them as possible. And now that you know the drawbacks to wooden rabbit cages, you can plan and prepare to prevent the pitfalls ahead of time.
The LSU Ag Center offers several plans for rabbit hutches and cages, from a simple hutch to a building with commercial potential. Go to the LSU AG Center website to check them all out.
We'll review a few of their plans here:
The picture above shows the single-tiered graphic; but the plans include a second tier, should you wish to add it.
This hutch plan includes a feed hopper between two cages, as well as a hay manger. It even includes details for a rabbit nest box drawer! How easy would that be for checking on the bunnies!
The cage sections will have a wire floor, yet not be completely "all-wire." Depending on how tidy your rabbit is, you may need to do frequent cleaning in the areas where rabbit poop will pile up on the wood floor where the wire is stapled.
One more caveat: the plans call for poultry mesh. I would definitely change that out in favor of 14 gauge 1"x2" inch welded wire. It's more expensive, but a whole lot safer against predators.
This is really a wooden stand and roof for twin quonset-style all-wire cages. This solves the cleaning issue, as the wire cages hang from the wooden framework.
This hutch, while covered, is very open to the elements. In blustery climates, it would probably need to be better protected on three sides, not as much from the temperature as from the wind. It probably works great in Louisiana. Yet the plans don't look too difficult to modify for your local conditions.
The LSU Ag Center also offers plans for a shed that could hold up to 12 rabbit cages, a shelter for two rows of meat rabbit cages, and for a large rabbit barn housing several rows of cages. If you're looking for something bigger than a couple hutches, click on the link for more cage and housing options.
If you use a wooden rabbit cage, your rabbit is going to chew the wood. But perhaps there are ways to limit the several wood hutch drawbacks:
Check out these hutches available through Amazon.com:*
Here's a couple more links you may like: