Want a Wooden Rabbit Cage?


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.

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Let me tell you about my first
wooden rabbit cages up front... 

Young chinchilla rex kits

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. 

  • Wood = Ammonia! Rabbits pee, and soon the wooden hutches began to smell of ammonia. 

  • Wood = Edible! Bunnies think wood is delicious, even if it is peed on. So they chewed on the wood they could reach until the wood rabbit cage needed repairs.

  • Cheap Mesh = Holes! Thin wire mesh began pulling away easily from any areas that were not very securely anchored. 

  • Wood edges in the floor = Smelly waste build-up! Since each wooden rabbit cage had a wooden lip around the bottom to which I attached the floor wire, the manure immediately began to pile in the back corners of the cage. I was no slouch when it came to cleaning, but as hard as one tries, there’s no eliminating all the poo in those corners, especially when it gets dampened by pee and then stomped into the wood and wire.

  • Continual exposure to droppings = Development of Disease!  When the rabbit droppings fall through the wire floor to the ground, this breaks the lifecycle of the coccidiosis parasite. This helps to keep a rabbit's immune system strong, so that it can handle a little bit of coccidia in the intestines on a normal basis without its health buckling under an overload of infestation. 

    In most wooden rabbit cages, however, the rabbit may remain exposed at least somewhat to its droppings at all times. This makes it possible for the rabbit to continually reinfect itself with coccidia parasites. With a growing coccidia load, the rabbit's health is likely to weaken due to either intestinal disease or white liver pustules, or both. 

    If you are housing rabbits in wooden rabbit cages, or on the ground in colonies, the threat of coccidiosis will always be present. Do your research, and keep a supply of Albon or other coccidiostat on hand. (See pages 244-249 in Rabbit Raising Problem Solver which covers coccidiosis and treatments at length.)

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.


All-Wire Cages and
Wooden Hutch Frames

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.

Goodness!

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 thorough cleaning.

Our international visitors might wonder why breeders in the United States frequently choose all-wire cages over solid floors. The folks at Shiny Satins Rabbitry explain the benefits of all-wire floors very well.


Single Tier PVC Hutch Frame

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.

  • No more odors.
  • No more ammonia build-up.
  • Reduced tendency toward coccidiosis
  • No more rotting.
  • Oh-so-easy to dismantle, clean, and reassemble.


Here is our top pick for a
sturdy, wire, indoor rabbit cage with your choice of one- to two-stories
that might be just perfect for your furry friend!

Some People Just Prefer Wooden Rabbit Cages

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. 

Wooden Rabbit Cage Plans
from the LSU AG Center

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:

A 2-cage single, or 4-cage double tiered and covered rabbit hutch


LSU Single-Tiered Hutch design

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.


A simple 2-cage covered rabbit hutch

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.


3 week old chinchilla rex litter of bunnies

More Wooden Rabbit Cages and Hutches

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:

  • Distract the rabbit from chewing by providing chew-toys
  • Designs that protect the wood from urine is a plus
  • Use of strong wire mesh is another plus.
  • A design that funnels the droppings away from any wood parts is a third plus.
    wood

Check out these hutches available through Amazon.com:*


Click here for more wooden rabbit cages like these


Here's a couple more links you may like:




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