How to Build a Castle Hutch for Rabbits

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A bunny's hutch is his castle. It's a place where he is safe from weather and predators and with enough room to hop around. Your rabbit's hutch is also where he naps, eats and enjoys life. You'll find a selection of prefabricated rabbit hutches that need partial assembly at pet or feed stores. But if you're going to the trouble of putting it together, you can build a rabbit castle hutch from scratch.

Useful Materials

You'll find just about everything you need to build your rabbit's hutch at the lumber store. Cedar 2-by-2s and 2-by-4s along with a sheet of cedar plywood siding with grooves are useful for making the frame and walls of your bunny's castle. Nails or deck screws will hold it all together. You'll need three or four hook and eye fasteners, depending on how many openings you want the hutch to have. You'll also need two hinges for each opening, a length of chicken wire for at least two of the sides and some 1/2-inch hardware cloth for the castle floor.

The Size of the Castle

Your rabbit's castle can have two, three or more floors -- however many stories you want and have room for. The more areas your bunny has to hop to and explore, the more mental stimulation and physical exercise he'll get. As for actual floor space, the University of California's "Rabbit Housing: Designing a Rabbit Habitat" says that the hutch needs to be large enough to allow your bunny to make three hops in one direction. That means that the size you make your bunny's castle may depend on his breed and size, but it should be at least 3 feet square. Each level of the castle should be 2 to 3 feet tall.

No Moat Necessary

When you hear "castle" you might picture a grand mansion for your bunny, one with turrets and a moat. But it's multiple levels and ample room to move that make it a castle, not those other, aesthetic features. That's not to say that you can't decorate the exterior to make your rabbit's hutch look like a castle. Paint the outside to make it look as if it were made from blocks of stone, or create a false panel complete with towers, parapets and turrets and attach it to the back or one of the solid sides that isn't made of wire.

Furnishing Your Bunny's Castle

A castle isn't much of a castle unless it's furnished elegantly. For rabbits that means giving them a few solid floor areas in addition to the hardware cloth flooring to give their paws a break from the wire mesh. Build in a few shelves to perch on and ramps to scamper up and down. Since bunnies enjoy digging, provide some straw or shredded paper to play in. If you provide wood chips, you should avoid pine and cedar. Cardboard boxes or lengths of large PVC pipe will give your bunny places to hide or nap. Put some toys in his castle, too, objects that encourage foraging or play such as balls, toys that hold hay, sticks to chew on and blocks of wood that he can move around.

Photo Credits

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Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.