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Thread: Outdoor bunny hutch - DIY

  1. #1

    Default Outdoor bunny hutch - DIY

    Hi!

    I know most of the people advocate for pet rabbits to stay indoor, but in my case I absolutely could not convince my parents so I had to figure something out.
    I now house Misha in an outdoor hutch. It is not perfect, but I did my best, and figured I could maybe help some people who also want/need to keep their bunnies outside by showing my setup. It is the third year I am using it, and it did its job pretty well. If anyone has any advice on how to modify things, please share.
    The weather in my country is quite harsh, but all the better for people who read this, I guess, since your temperatures are not likely to be much worse.

    First of all, this is a photo of how the hutch looks:
    (if it doesn't load try here - https://imgur.com/GlhrubB)
    (yes, we also store the wheelbarrow there, but it has become her favourite hiding spot, so win-win I guess).

    Temperature range: (-20 degrees Celsius) in winter to (+40 degrees Celsius) in summer.

    However, these are as worse as it gets, and only for a few days every year. Winter averages (day+night) around -4 degrees and summer is around +25 degrees (again, day+night).

    When it freezes I also add hay in the sleeping box and put a thick blanket over the hutch so that it covers the roof and the second floor floor. My vet also suggested adding an infrared heat lamp (the kind that is used for reptiles). I didn't get the chance to buy it yet, but it is something to keep in mind if the bunny is on the smaller side, if the winters in your area are colder, of if you just want your bun to be cozier. I never used microwaveable pads since the best I found only stayed warm for 6 hours, and I figured it would go cold just as the temperature reached their lowest at night, so it wouldn't do much good. I also never used electric pads because I was worried she would chew through the cables and/or pee on it.

    I never did much for the heat of summer. She goes underneath the hutch where the tiles are cool and spends the hotter hours of the day there. I never saw signs of heatstroke, thank God. I do replace her water with cold one in the middle of the day though.

    Here are some sketches showing the structure. I lost the original one and made these just for posting, so apologies if any important info is missing.

    - Setup of the whole run. We put the hutch against a wall so it would be better protected, and it was also built facing north so that it would be cooler in summer. The entire run has a roof of its own, so in summer the sun only really gets there at late afternoon. The big roof is imho a better idea than only having the hutch roof. It keeps the whole run dry, shaded and it also stops predators. The litterbox is outside now because she never used it when we placed it inside.
    - Front and side views of the hutch. The roof is slanted so it would be easier to open than with a flat roof. If you use the hutch without a big roof overhead, it also helps rain and snow fall down. The hutch is separated in two areas, one closed with wood panels, meant to better protect against the weather, and one with a net front. The sleeping box from the second floor also has a cat door so the wind doesn't get inside. It's her favourite
    - 3D view.
    - Insulation. The pink walls are the ones that are insulated. We sandwiched Styrofoam (I believe it was 4 cm thick) between wood panels for the sleeping boxes. Didn't add insulation for the roof though.


    Here is a pic took while we were building the hutch:
    (if it doesn't load try here - https://imgur.com/AcuQcnW)


    There is currently no step between the first and second floor. I planned to add one but I got excited and let Misha test the hutch when it was not yet finished and she had no issues hopping up and down so I postponed adding it. I have a smaller bun too (dwarf lop) and he could also jump up to the second floor but was scared to jump down. Consider adding a few extra steps depending on your bun's age and size.

    If I were to change something about this setup, I would add a thin something (metal sheet?) underneath the insulation on the ground floor. When we built the hutch we thought the space between the ground and the floor was too small for her to crawl so we didn't bother sealing up the ground floor insulation. She constantly chews on it, to the point where I now wonder if there is any left. I keep finding small bits of Styrofoam all over her run. It is near impossible to replace now that the hutch is completed and will leave the ground floor without insulation.

    Here are some other ideas I had while brainstorming ways to build this hutch. Maybe one of them will help you more.

    If there are any questions I will be more than happy to answer them.


    I hope these sketches will help. Like I said, it is the third year I am using it and had no major problems, even though the temperatures can get pretty wild. Didn't had any issues with any predators either, and Misha seems pretty happy overall.
    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Forum Buddy Pets mum's Avatar
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    Hi, thanks for your post, and sharing your setup, unfortunately I couldn't open the photos, but that's probably just my old iPad Maybe others will be able to open them, and see what you've done. That's some temperature range you have there !
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  3. #3
    Mama Doe mikek's Avatar
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    Looks a great set-up

    but I would be worried about -20degC. Bunnies are too small a bodymass to withstand that. Good news that you use extra insulation in the winter but I would maybe look at what else you can do. Not sure about a heat lamp tho as bunnies love chewing cables and there may be too much heat. difficult.
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  4. #4

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    That was really helpful as I am planning on keeping my bunnies indoors but giving them outdoor time but I didnít have many ideas as of how to layout an area. Really glad a came across this

  5. #5

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    Hi,

    I would like to know how you got the slanted roof so flush with the frame, as from the picture you took when you were building the frame the slanted bit has two flat areas at the front and rear where the slanted bit meets the front and rear of the frame.

    Hope this makes sense

  6. #6

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    Hi!
    I understand what you mean but I am not too sure how to explain. The roof is built a few centimeters over the edge compared to the rest of the hutch so when it is closed it kind of goes over.

    Sorry I'm terrible at explaining, but in a few days I will get home and will take some pictures.

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper
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    This looks good. What kind of wood did you use?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyre View Post
    Hi!
    I understand what you mean but I am not too sure how to explain. The roof is built a few centimeters over the edge compared to the rest of the hutch so when it is closed it kind of goes over.

    Sorry I'm terrible at explaining, but in a few days I will get home and will take some pictures.
    Great Thank You, I think I understand how you did it but hopefully the photos will clear things up!

    Thank you for replying btw!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solverz View Post
    Great Thank You, I think I understand how you did it but hopefully the photos will clear things up!

    Thank you for replying btw!

    Hi!

    So I took some photos, let me know if you need some different angles or anything. And I hope I understood what you asked and this is not completely unrelated lol.

    Here is a big overview : https://imgur.com/a/5eIgCp8 . Basically there is the inside structure that can be seen in the construction phase pic and the roof rests there. And then there is the paneling (I think that's how it's called?) that goes over it and "seals" the closure.

    Here are some close-ups: https://imgur.com/a/zsah3lc

    Front (viewed from underneath): https://imgur.com/a/DG4eQUB

    And here is the back: https://imgur.com/a/9cDgEVH

    If you have any more questions, I am more than happy to help.
    Last edited by Zephyre; 25-08-2020 at 07:58 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    This looks good. What kind of wood did you use?
    Thank you! The inside structure is made from whatever wood we had after we built a shed haha. The outside paneling is either pine or spruce wood, can't really remember. We left it unpainted and untreated to be safe, but she never had any interest in chewing it anyway.

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