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Building a Dog House and Rabbit Hutch

By: Missy B

When we sold our last house, the new buyer requested that we leave the dog house and rabbit hutch. We built Clyde’s dog house palace a few weeks ago, since he didn’t have anywhere to cozy up and stay warm. And since then, my bunnies have been housed in a metal dog cage occupying the lean-to covered porch off the side of the house. With the nights getting down into the 20s now it was time to build them a new hutch with an enclosed compartment to stay warm and dry.

We started out looking online to get ideas for the dog house and decided to go with a 2 room layout. We thought this would ensure that Clyde could get away from the wind and cold by going into the back room or he could hang out in the front room if he wants to keep an eye on things. It’s also nice and roomy when Agnes wants to visit. The entire thing is roughly 3′ x 5′ so each room is about 2.5′ x 3′ by about 2′ high to 30″ for the slanting roof. The whole thing is insulated and we reused some metal roofing Everett pulled off the old corn crib. He’s going to use the corn crib siding to make picture frames, but that’s another post…

I also looked online to get some ideas about how I wanted to build the rabbit hutch. I knew I wanted it to be up higher so it would be more on my level, making it easy to see the bunnies and also to clean. I wanted them to have an insulated, enclosed area for chilly nights and also a decent size run. The hutch is 6′ long, stands 5′ high with the enclosed areas 2′ high and about 30″ wide. We started by building the frame with some treated 2x4s (the bunnies are not able to get to and chew on these inside which would probably be harmful to them). Then we put down the 1/2″ wire mesh for the floor. I keep a lot of hay in the box so they are not standing on the wire, which can hurt their feet to stand on all the time. The fact that it is really close-knit wire (rat wire as opposed to chicke-wire) also helps.

I was going to have the floor of the run area be wood, but we decided to put the wire there too, and then lay a piece of wood in there that we can change out if they are peeing in this area. Before I was using a plastic cat litter box filled with bedding and hay, which is where they mostly went to the bathroom, and I would have to change out every week adding it to the compost pile. But now their pee will just drain through the wire floor which will require me to clean it out less often. I will just keep putting fresh hay in there as needed. The sides of the run are wire and that end is on hinges and opens up for easy cleaning, feeding and petting. We used more metal roofing from the old corn crib on this too. I also plan on building a ramp that will allow them to climb down to the ground and into a metal pen that I set up for them to have lots of room to run around in on nice days. I can tell they are loving it already! Happy bunnies = happy Missy. :)

The biggest problem we had with both of these was moving them after they are finished. We tend to (over)build big, heavy pieces since neither of us has a carpentry background. It’s good because I think everything is solid and should last a long time (although they may not be as pretty), but bad when the two of us try to move it since we didn’t build on site. So, when Everett and I were (stupidly) trying to lift this heavy hutch up into the bed of the truck, I was up in the bed of the truck holding up the one end as Everett went to lift up the other…1,2,3 lift, crash, the hutch is laying on it’s side where it stayed for the next week and I am on the ground holding my shoulder wondering if I can move my arm. I’m glad to say I am fine, just a little sore for a few days. The first time an able-bodied guy came to visit we recruited him to help move the hutch to its destination.

Category: Animals, DIY Projects, How-To, The Transplants

Comments (3)

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  1. We inherited a stray cat years ago when we bought a house in Vermont. Though the cat was somewhat shy, it would hang around the porch. Our daughter loved it. I like cats, but I am allergic to them. so, (Please excuse the choice of word) I built a ‘cat house’ for it patterned much like the dog house you built (including the front room with the baffle to keep draft out). I also added a small window in the front! Your post bring back good memories! Thanks.

  2. Tommy says:

    I like how you built the the rabbit hutch off the ground and at your level – genius! And the two room doghouse! Man, won’t be long before you all design and build a nice guest cabin!

  3. mitsy says:

    We have a dog named Clyde, too! We’re moving to Appalachia (NE TN) in two months and are so excited to get out there. Cool beans. Found your site via waldeneffect.org…

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