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Thread: Outdoor hutch weather-proofing

  1. #1

    Default Outdoor hutch weather-proofing


    Unfortunately, because of our child's allergy, I had to move our bunny outside (after 6 years inside our house) :-(

    I'd like to discuss few details about the hutch I've constructed, especially the insulation, since outside temperature can drop to like -15C (5F) during the night.


    - Sides are insulated with 40mm EPS.
    - Floor is insulated with 50mm EPS with 20mm MDF board over it with top layer of a vinyl flooring.
    - Rear side is made of 10mm hollow polycarbonate sheet.

    - Roof is made of 15mm OSB board - should i insulate it with EPS as well ?
    - Should I put some cover over the doors / or some kind of divider inside of the hutch to create some sort of an "entry hall" ? He's actually living all arround the hutch at the moment. In his former indoor dweling, he got one corner designated as a toilet, not so much here.

    He's been moved outside at the begining of September, therefore, I hope that he will be able to adapt for the winter.

    Hutch is outside, but under the roof, so its not exposed to rain.

    Any ideas what to improve or change before cold winter ?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Forum Buddy mini lop1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Is there any run or aviary type thing attached to the hutch as sadly a bit h on its own this size is way to small and not under guideline standard set out by rabbit welfare groups
    You can use tarpaulin or similar to cover any mesh areas from the worst of areas just make sure enough ventilation


  3. #3
    Warren Veteran
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    The hutch would only be suitable as a nest box within a much bigger area. Rabbits need space to run around in at all times (they are more active at dusk & dawn), and in winter it helps to keep them fit and warm. In the UK, the MINIMUM space recommended is 3m x 2m x 1m high.

    The nest box needs to be dry and out of draughts - preferably stuffed with hay or straw (not just a thin layer on the floor) - straw has better thermal insulation. It will need checking daily and any damp bedding removed. If you regularly get temperatures below about -2'C, I would look at additional sources of heat, especially for a single rabbit, eg Snugglesafe micrwaveable heatpads.

    The roof needs weatherproofing - eg roofing felt or coroline corrugated sheet. Insulating it would be a good idea.
    The rear wall won't provide any insulation in winter temperatures, especially down to -15'C. I'm not sure it is predator proof, either.
    MDF isn't suitable for a hutch - it doesn't cope with damp at all (weather or urine), and damp is really bad for rabbits. Ply or exterior grade OSB is much better. I've yet to find a way to stop some seepage under vinyl, although it does make it generally much easier to clean.

    All the wood could be painted with a suitable outdoor product - it will make the exterior more weatherproof and the interior easier to clean and easier to keep dry.
    I would also look at additional eg shutters and tarpaulin for the wire front. Ensure there is some ventilation, but you need to keep the heat in the nest area. There's not much point in insulating the sides and floor if the front and back provide no insulation at all, or in having unprotected wood which will absorb wet, and therefore be cold and damp.

    I rarely have winter temperatures down to -5'C and would seriously upgrade the covering of any outside hutch at that point. If the water bowl freezes up inside the hutch, then it's probably too cold. Water bottles don't do well in freezing conditions as the spout freezes up very quickly and the rabbit has no access to water at that point.

    Sorry if it all sounds negative, but it is important to provide suitable living accommodation for your rabbit if you expect him to survive in extreme winter temperatures. In the wild, they would live in underground burrows which would be warm and dry, and with other rabbits for additional warmth.



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