Bunny Hutch

Bunny Hutch

DC Project
If you’re thinking about getting a bunny, you should check out my House Bunny page for some basic information.

Back in 2009, Steven and I decided that we needed a bunny. We had interacted with a pair of Holland Lops that some friends had, and were hooked. Before we could adopt our rabbit though, we had to make him a suitable home. We wanted something simple and inexpensive so we decided that modifying a piece of IKEA furniture would be the easiest way to go about it.

Instructions

Design Curiosities

You can find my instructions on how to DIY this project, at Design Sponge.
One minor correction: the legs of the hutch are Capita, not Besta.
Progress Photos

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Hinged Door Instructions

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SUPPLIES
Hollow Copper Rod
Aluminum Rod

TOOLS
Saw
Drill
Handy, Metal-Working Grandfather

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Clamp the door to the bunny hutch, and drill four holes through the door and the bunny hutch. The holes should be small enough for the copper rod to fit in tightly.
2. Cut the copper rod to the appropriate length. The upper copper rods will serve as hinges, and should go through both the door and the hutch.
3. The copper rods for the bottom should only be long enough to go through the hutch, not the door. These will serve to hold the pins and to not damage the wood pulling the pins in and out.
4. Hammer the copper rods into place.
5. have your handy metalworking grandfather make you metal pins out of the aluminum rod. If you don’t have a handy metalworking grandfather, you could probably use a small cylindrical wooden dowel rod as a pin.
Modifications

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SUPPLIES
Aluminum Sheeting
Liquid Nail

TOOLS
Clamps
Exacto or Utility Knife

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Cut aluminum sheet to appropriate width and length. This should be same as dowel rods used for the door.
2. Glue to the back of the door using liquid nail, and clamp down (2 or 3 clamps)
3. make sure to do one at a time because the liquid nail takes a while to dry. Unless you have many spare clamps around.
4. Clean residual liquid nail.
5. Place door back onto the hutch.
6. Repeat for the circular portion of the hutch.
FAQ

Before I jump into the q&a, I wanted to mention this wonderful resource for potential and new bunny owners. The House Rabbit Society is a nonprofit organization that rescues rabbits, and educates the public on rabbit care and behavior. It is important to understand the responsibility of owning a bunny before jumping on the cute bandwagon!

Hi Nicole – great work on taking something that’s usually an eyesore and making it a gorgeous addition to a home! I can’t tell you how many people call me about their outside bunnies wanting to get rid of them. But they don’t want them in the house because “it’s embarrassing.” Ridiculous! But with something so beautiful there is really no excuse! And thanks for spreading the word about house rabbits! -Erin, President of the Arkansas Pet Rabbit Network

I wanted to tell you how wonderful the hutch you made is.  I work at The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary in Michigan.  We are always looking for ways to get people to treat their bunnies well.  I have shared your post to many a new bunny parent.  if you are ever in Michigan Iwould love to give you a tour of our facility.  Don’t worry, no adoption necessary. -Suzanne,
The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary

Omg d*s meets cuteoverload, this is the best day ever. -Angie

Questions & Answers

Q1. Very cute, but having rabbits and having made a cage like this myself, your rabbit is totally going to eat that cute circle divider.

A1. This is the main reason we decided to do a modification on the hutch! Honestly, (being first time bunny owners) we were hopeful that he wouldn’t chew on the centerpiece (wishful thinking). Others voiced concerns about MDF, which is another reason we decided we had to do something, if not just for aesthetic. You can see the modifications in the photos.

Q2. Brilliant, absolutely, Just one very major question. Maybe I missed something, but how do you clean it?

A2. I sweep up his poop with a hand broom and dustpan, and use a pan scraper for any occasional stuck on stuff. I also make wipes out of paper towels and a mixture of white vinegar and water to deeply clean the hutch every now and then.

Q3. It’s actually not a good idea to use a litter box with a metal grate on top – bunnies can get “sore hocks” from the wire.

A3. Sore hocks can be caused by a number of things, wire grate included. Specifically it is an issue when rabbits have no support and are forced to be on the wire all the time. You can read more about sore hocks, here. Having a litter box with a wire grate is not an issue, and personally I prefer this kind of potty. I think Eames does too, he doesn’t like sitting in his own urine/feces. My favorite litter box can be found in stores at Petsmart, or online here.

Q4. Why are people so concerned about what a pet’s home looks like?

A4. A pet home should primarily be practical and fit the pet’s needs, but by no means does it have to be ugly! It’s personal preference.

Q5. I love it! However, I think tile might not have been the best for the floor. It’s not that comfy for a bun.

A5. Yes, tile can be hard on a bun’s bum! Eames has a never ending supply of blankets, grassy mats, bedding, etcetera. All the necessities for a comfy place for his bum. When I have his cage open, I often find him stretched out on the tile in his hutch because it’s nice and cool for him.

Q6. Rabbit’s feet CANNOT GET WET (and stay wet or even damp). They are acutely prone to infections of the feet and they need to be able to get up and off the bottom of whatever they live in.

A6. What happens to all the wild bunnies when it rains? In all seriousness though, wet bedding does soften and crack bunny feet which can allow infection. So, it is important to change bedding often, and keep blankets, grassy mats, etcetera. A wet floor isn’t really an issue with Eames though, he has a littler box and always urinates in it.

Q7.
Its to small for a rabbit, also for a small rabbit. why did you invest money and a lot of time but didnt think about the size??? thats cruelty to animals! do you want to life in two single rooms for your entire lifetime?

A7. I agree with you, completely! It would be cruel if we kept him in the hutch all the time! It is a night time place primarily, and a nice place I can keep him if the need arises. We purchased a Midwest, Exercise Pen at Petsmart which is a great investment! The door allows us to put it right up to his hutch (the door will open to the inside of the pen) and let him go in and out as he pleases. It is very versatile, it can be used as a room divider, make any sort of shape, and conveniently folds up when guests are around.

Q8. Sorry, but I think water bottles with the metal spouts sold by pet stores for bunnies are downright CRUEL. I also think it’s cruel to deprive a bunny of a litter box.

A8. Personally, I don’t see water bottles as cruel, but we have actually switched to using just a water bowl. Eames does have a litter box (see Q/A#3)! Of course it would be horrible not to have one!

Q9. I offer this link solely as a suggestion to those who may be looking for a well-designed pre-made enclosure for their rabbit. Click here.

A9. Awesome! I wanted to share this great alternative if you didn’t catch it when she posted it on design sponge. (Thanks, Anna!)

Q10. Come on guys, cut her some slack! This bunny house is a serious labor of love. We all make “mistakes” the first time on something new – that’s how we learn. We can’t know all the regulations for bunny safety our first time. I think the project is fantastic – beautiful really. I bet my cats would love hanging out in it. On the subject of cats – who’s going to take on the project of hiding my cat’s little box?

A10. Thank you, thank you! It’s so true, but I do want to thank everyone for the constructive criticism. Priority number one is to keep Eamsey safe, so adjustments were made. Oh, and on the subject of hiding cat litter boxes, Ikea Hacker has some awesome posts on that matter! Check them out, here.

Q11. How is the cage set up now? have you found that it works well? (New Question)

A11. The cage is still set up the same. It is a little ragged after two years, but it has held up nicely. When we first moved to Boston we had Eames in the extra bedroom, but found that we weren’t giving him enough attention. For a few months we kicked him out of his hutch completely, and set up his exercise pen in the living room. We might have used his hutch for storage for a while, too. He eventually got pretty angry, and started urinating off the side of his litter box (on purpose, the little stinker). He is back in his hutch now, but we moved it into our bedroom (temporarily).

Q12. Ugggh! The designers should have done some rabbit research before they went to all this trouble. This cage looks okay, but I wouldn’t put my rabbit in it…painted wire mesh and particle board, which rabbits like to chew on. also sounds as if there’s quite a bit of hardware going on inside (hinges and such) that they can get cut on or try to chew. Sorry, you should scrap this cabinet and go buy a safe cage. (New Question)

A12. Eames is neither injured nor dead, so don’t worry! There is no place he can chew anymore after we completed the modifications, maybe you hadn’t seen them before you posted this comment? The hinges in the left door are concealed, so no danger there! I’m also not exactly sure how he would hurt himself on a door hinge. Rabbits are neither stupid nor terribly fragile.

Q13. Ya, cute idea, and stylish as hell, but the little bunrab is gonna hafta potty sometime and with the glass tile base poor bunny is going to be covered in its own waste since there’s nowhere for it to go or be absorbed (actually, MDF soaks up all kinds of spills, then bubbles and peels) plus, while it may not get a grip on the majority of the cage, the pass-thru is certain to be a toothsome target.

too bad, this is a case of beautiful impracticality that could actually kill poor eames. not a wasted effort, it’s still artsy and perhaps can be used as a giant look but don’t touch shadow box. (via Apartment Therapy)

A13. Eames doesn’t urinate on the floor of the hutch, he has a litter box. In regards to the hole, see the modifications.

Q15.  If I had known then what I know now, I don’t think I’d have house rabbits. We have 2 mini-lops. (Like Eames will probably grow up into.) (If he’s a baby, that cabinet WILL NOT be large enough when he’s grown to regulation 6 pounds or so.) (via Apartment Therapy)

A15. Eames is a holland lop, not a mini. Hollands only weigh 2-4 lbs.

Q16. See real bun people telling their stories I though this might be too good to be true. Nice to look at if on display but displaying an animal is wrong. Maybe just a good place for time out when guest come over? UM -B77

A16. I’m sorry, what?

Q17. I’d like to echo medenver’s post… yes, bunnies can be difficult, but only if they don’t receive proper training and attention. My first bunny was incredibly aggressive when I first adopted him and required hours of training, love, and attention to calm down.

My second, and current, is very codependent and affectionate, but when I first got him he was sick and depressed… it’s all about learning what sort of personality the little guy has and working with him. Same as with any animal. Or person for that matter.

Once they’re trained, though, I’ve found them to be relatively low maintenance on cleaning… just demanding when it comes to rubbing their heads and playing. (via Apartment Therapy)

A17. Ditto on that last bit.

Q18. As much as I would love my rabbit to be loose at all time, its a little irresponsible for when I go to work. There’s too much a mischievous bunny can hurt himself on while I’m out. Wires etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a comfortable rabbit friendly environment. I love it because its stylish too unlike the ugly wire ones that tend to be too small and I think cruel. If you click on the link I think it seems to be pretty resilient. If not you can always fix it as problems arise.(via Apartment Therapy)

A18. Ditto that first bit, and thanks for the second bit!

Eames Photos

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Featured Elsewhere

Design Sponge
Apartment Therapy
Design Milk
IKEA Hacker
Pet Projects

I love including blogs, both big in small, where our projects are featured. If you’ve stumbled across a feature not listed here or if you have featured one of our projects yourself, send me an e-mail!
Other Besta Bunny Hutches

Besta Bunny Hutch
Hutch by Nicole. I love the way she tiled the hole, totally bun proof!

Besta Bunny Hutch
Hutch by Lauren. I love that it’s dual purpose. Bunny hutch and media console!

Besta Bunny Hutch
Hutch by Lindsay. I love all the extra storage space and the ramp.


Hutch by Michele. I love that its double wide. This hutch is actually for her guinea pigs!

12 Comments

  • Piper on Mar 19, 2014 Reply

    Hi Nicole! Great bunny hutch! I’m curious if Eames like the tile flooring. My boyfriend and I are half way done with our bunny hutch inspired by yours and a breeder told us wire mesh is the only way to go when building bunny hutches because hard surfaces are tough on their paws. During the day our bunny will be allowed to run around the house, but during the night we would like for him to sleep in the hutch. What is your experience with the tile floor and Eames?

    Thanks!

    ~ Piper

    • Nicole on Mar 22, 2014 Reply

      I’m not sure why the breeder told you this. I think the reason people have wire mesh on hutches is because it “makes it easy for clean up” since the mess just falls through. In actuality wire mesh on the bottom is very bad for bunnies. Standing on the wire is really really harsh on feet, and can actually cause a condition known as sore hocks . They’re feet become raw and red (possibly infected) because of the pressure the wire puts on their feet. Wood, and tile can cause problems too, because of their lack of traction. It’s important if you use tile, to cover it with mats or carpets. If they get soiled or chewed you can always replace them. FLOR makes these really great carpet squares (my suggestion would be a low pile carpet), that you can cut and put in. We are actually building Eames a new hutch with a tiled bottom, but we are going to use some of those carpets on top for a cushy place for him to hang out on.

      Eames has the run of the house during the day too, and he is often sprawled out on his tile or our wood floors. It’s a nice cool surface I suppose.

  • meghan on Jan 23, 2014 Reply

    This does not seem like not enough room. Rabbits need room to run, jump, and stretch.

    • Nicole on Jan 23, 2014 Reply

      Hey Meghan, I appreciate your concern. The only time the door is closed on his hutch is when we aren’t able to keep an eye on him. Like at night and when we are not home. Otherwise he is pretty much a free range bunny.

  • Haley on Nov 15, 2013 Reply

    Hi Nicole!

    I am so deeply in love with your rabbit hutch and my architect student friend and I have decided to build one for my Holland Lop, Snuggles :) That being said, I have about a million questions.

    1. Is Eames able to get in and out by himself?
    2. It looks like you did wire on one side of each section, was that a good choice?
    3. Does it even make you nervous when he’s in the section with the solid door?

    I’ll probably think of more and be back :)

    • Nicole on Nov 21, 2013 Reply

      Hi Haley!
      I’m so glad you like the hutch! 1 Eames was able to get in and out of the hutch with no problem (even when he was a baby). If you’re worried about Snuggles slipping, you could get a FLOR carpet tile to put down in front. 2 The wire is good for ventilation, but his poop did slip out the backside occasionally. The hutch is really light though, so it’s really easy to move and clean. 3 He actually likes a little privacy so I never worried about him when he was behind the door.

  • Kat on Sep 05, 2013 Reply

    Hi Nicole! I’m in the middle of making my own BESTA bunny hutch (inspired by yourself) and I was just wondering what you would recommend to hold the hay? Although I hoover daily I do worry about getting hay all over the floor if I was to put a hay rack on the door. Thank you :)

  • Margaret Burton on Jun 10, 2013 Reply

    Hi I was wondering instead of tiling the bottom, could you use a carpet and glue it down or staple it? Or can you use those stick on floor tiles?

    • Nicole on Jun 13, 2013 Reply

      Stick on tiles would work for sure! You could probably put in carpet, just don’t get anything too plushy (the rabbit might eat it). We actually picked up a Flor tile to put on our ramp (http://www.flor.com). We are planning on gluing it down, I think. Are you building a hutch? I’d love to see it when it’s done!

  • Sarah on Mar 25, 2013 Reply

    This hutch is so chic and adorable. I have been looking at diy cages and I find yours the best. I would totally pay you and your husband to make me own as I am not the best handyman lol. The cages looks great and I hope your bunny is still in create health.

    • Nicole on Apr 04, 2013 Reply

      Thanks Sarah! My husband and are aren’t really handy either, we are just learning as we go! Eames is doing wonderful! He has really flourished, and has been so affectionate with me lately! I’m loving it!

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