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.
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.
Hinged Door Instructions
Hollow Copper Rod
Handy, Metal-Working GrandfatherINSTRUCTIONS
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.
Exacto or Utility KnifeINSTRUCTIONS
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.
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 NetworkI 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 SanctuaryOmg 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!
Other Besta Bunny Hutches
Hutch by Nicole. I love the way she tiled the hole, totally bun proof!
Hutch by Lauren. I love that it’s dual purpose. Bunny hutch and media console!
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!