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Building Rabbit Hutches

by US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Before you begin:

  • Check local zoning laws, market availability, electricity, water sources and truck access.

  • Pick a site with good drainage, lots of shade, sufficient surrounding space and freedom from excessive wind.

  • The shelter itself must protect against extreme temperatures and predators.

Equipment considerations:

  • Good ventilation can help prevent respiratory and health problems in rabbits. Windows, movable panels, curtains, fans or open-sided buildings will help adjust temperatures. These may be supplemented by hot weather roof sprinklers, reflective aluminum roof shields or cold weather heaters if necessary.

  • Lighting should be maintained at consistent levels for 10 to 14 hours a day, strong enough to keep the animals breeding year round.

  • Wire cages for medium sized breeds are usually 30" deep by 36" wide and 18" high. Cages are hung back-to-back, three to four feet from the ground in single tiers. Floors are made with 1/2" x 1", 14 gauge welded wire. Top and sides are made with 1" x 2", 14 or 16 gauge wire. Especially designed for rabbits, these cages are available commercially or they can be built by the rabbit grower. A few extra cages should be built for growing bunnies, housing bucks and isolation of new stock brought in from outside.

  • Nest boxes provide shelter for the newborn bunnies. They should be shallow enough after bedding is added that the does won't injure their udders climbing in and out, and that bunnies can easily climb out. These best boxes can be slid into place under the cage when a panel is removed. It may be 12" x 18", of plywood, masonite, or wire with liner.

  • Feed is placed in self-feeder bowls, which come in many varieties. They should be 3 to 4 inches tall to allow small bunnies to reach the feed easily. Feeders should be kept clean and free of old or moldy feed.

  • Finally, a scale is a useful tool for objectively measuring rabbits performance. It allows for the measurement of growth as well as feed consumption rates.

Hutchkeeping rules:

  1. Never loan bucks to others.

  2. Isolate new rabbits or those returning from shows for 30 days.

  3. Quickly dispose of dead rabbits. If disease is suspected, disinfect equipment and burn droppings and bedding.

  4. Clean and disinfect cages regularly. Don't allow droppings and moisture to collect on cages.

  5. Clean and disinfect the doe's cage before inserting a new nest box. Clean the cage again before the litter comes out of the nest.

  6. Wash and disinfect nest boxes.

  7. Vacuum or burn fur that accumulates on cages.

  8. Keep water clean. Flush and disinfect water lines weekly.

  9. Control flies with insecticide. If you use sprays, spray the rabbitry, especially the manure area.

  10. Keep the dropping pits under the cages as dry as possible.

  11. Have visitors disinfect their shoes before entering or enforce a "no visitors" rule.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).