I have been breeding rabbits for around about 2 years now. I began doing this after reading Barnyard in your Backyard, that they are a great animal for preppers due to their quick reproduction rate. I felt that with rabbits I could produce meat for the table, pelts for making things as well as manure for the gardens. Rabbits seemed to be a natural addition to our property. My first 4 rabbits died after a few months. I suspect they caught Calicivirus, which is something that exists around here. I spent some time researching this and when I bartered for the next batch I immediately took them to the vet for a Calicivirus vaccination. Since then I have not lost any rabbits to this virus and I have been busy breeding rabbits.
On Sunday I completed my latest Rabbit Hutch. I began building it around a month or so ago and I kept putting off completion due to more important issues. Now that my 6 baby rabbits are getting big I decided it was time to complete the hutch to give them some space as well as separate the genders. I built the hutch for as cheaply as possible, using reclaimed wood for the whole structure which I gathered from old wooden pallets. I bought the hinges for around $2 each from a hardware store, as well as the smaller gage wire used on the top and sides. The heavy gauge wire on the bottom was the last portion that I gained from a trade I did with a friend for some Pork.
I have constructed seven different rabbit hutches over the past few years. Each time I build one I discover a new way to build the structure and modify the last design in an effort to find improvements. My first hutch was an imitation of another that a friend had given to me at the start of my rabbit production. I liked the shape so I copied the design for my first hutch. After this I realised that this design did not really suit my requirements, being much too tall for the rabbits which seemed to be a waste of building material.
My second hutch was an attempt to recreate a design I read about in Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits. The author of that book encourages a stacked system of hutches, reducing the footprint of the structure. I built a three hutch system, to hold three rabbits, so this was my second, third and fourth hutch built. While I thought this was a good use of space, I worried that there was insufficient space for the rabbit to live in (considering that my breed is British Giant, they need extra space). It was time to build another hutch.
My fifth hutch was inspired by the person from whom I bought my breeding male. She had an excellent set up in her shed where she had large cages raised above the ground on long legs. I really liked the extra room her rabbits had to roam, so I built a similar system. When I made this hutch I tried previously untried techniques of building, such as bridle joints. I was fairly happy with this structure and I stopped building for a while. This large structure became by finishing hutch, where I would put the young rabbits to grow to table size.
It was around the time I heard a Survival Podcast on chicken tractors that I decided to build a rabbit hutch with wheels. I built this hutch fairly quickly and put 18 baby rabbits with the large frame, with the intention of selling some to clear space. That was until the bush fire came through the area. I lost some rabbits due to heat, and later I lost another 8 or so due to a flaw in my wire flooring meaning they could escape. I also noticed that even with the wheels, this structure was too large and too heavy to be moved easily. I have now placed baby chickens and ducklings in this hutch. I now needed another rabbit hutch.
The latest hutch was to be similar to the last hutch, a rabbit tractor style hutch, yet smaller. I wanted it small enough to move around and fit between my garden beds so that they could eat the grass, yet large enough to provide them with room to live. I feel I have achieved my goal and I am very happy with the result. There is a small section of wooden floor for them to sit on when it is moved, the floor wire prevents them from digging holes, and the roof section provides them with a dry area to sleep.
I intend to place an Instructionable online with pictures and detailed instructions later this week.