If you’re looking for a sustainable and delicious way to raise your own meat, let me show you how to build a meat rabbit hutch—Teal Stone Homestead Style.
Building your own meat rabbit hutch isn’t difficult at all, and I’ll show you everything you need to know here.
Benefits of Having Your Own Meat Rabbit Hutch
Rabbits are Nutritious
Rabbits are often overlooked as a food source, in large part because our culture values them as pets and thinks they’re cute. And they are cute, but they’re also tasty. Rabbit meat also happens to have one of the lowest fat to protein ratios among other popular meats, meaning that it is extremely low in fat but high in protein.
The reason for this is that rabbits are a relatively active animal that rely on burrowing, their own fur, and their litter mates to keep them warm rather than large fat deposits. We recommend reading our article on the ten best breeds of rabbit for raising meat.
Rabbits Don’t Take Up Much Space
A rabbit hutch like the one I’m building will take up 13’x3’ and will house several rabbits. When you compare this to the average space a cow needs to grow and reproduce, the benefits speak for themselves. Not only do rabbits use less in terms of natural resources to mature but they physically take up less space.
Rabbits Create Fertilizer
In addition to the space and nutrition benefits of keeping rabbits, their droppings can also be turned in with your compost. If you’re like me and you have chickens too, the chickens can forage below the hutch and clean out the fly larva that might begin to hatch beneath the hutch in the nutrient rich droppings.
Benefits of This Style of Hutch
I modeled this rabbit hutch after the YouTube channel “Teal Stone Homestead,” but also combined some style elements with the hutches I’ve modeled after the “Slightly Rednecked” channel so that they’ll match the other coops and hutches I’ve built for chickens and quail so far.
I have kept rabbits before in a different type of hutch and one thing that I really didn’t like was the closed bottom on the hutch. When rabbits urinate they kind of spray their urine, and in a closed bottom hutch this can soil the hutch quickly.
With the open bottom of this style of hutch, the urine can dry out away from where the rabbits eat and sleep.
Separate Hanging Cages Minimizes Disease Transition
I also like this style of hutch because it allows for multiple separate cages to be kept in one hutch. This way I can easily separate or add rabbits to each cage, and because the cages are separate I’ll be able to create a barrier between cages if one rabbit starts to get sick. Note that mesh floors require some kind of either soft bedding or a resting platform, but I’ll touch more on that later.
Building the Rabbit Hutch
Check out my video to get a visual on what the hutch will look like when it’s finished as well as clarification on any of the steps below.
Assemble the Frame
The hutch will be 13’ long and 3’ wide, with 6 legs total. The three in the front are 72’’ long and the three in the back are 69’’ long so that the roof sits at an angle and will drain water. In previous build videos I used 1×4’s on my hutches, but because this hutch will be longer than the others I’m using 2×4’s for the main frame so it will be sturdier.
- Eight 76 ½’’ long 2×4’s
- Six 36’’ long 2×4’s
- Decking screws
Step 1: Screw the Frame Together
Remember in this step that we want the total width of the hutch to be 36’’ wide, so screw the long frame pieces to the inner edges of the side piece, not the outer edges.
Note: I’m still pre-drilling the holes for the screws even though I didn’t have any problems with boards splitting out.
The frame of the hutch will have a bottom frame and an upper portion. The upper horizontal bars of the frame are where the bulk of the weight of the cages will hang.
Support the Frames
- Six 17’’ long 2×4’s (Two of these will get cut down a little shorter)
- Two 36’’ long 2×4’s
- Two ~6’’ long scrap pieces of 2×4
- Six 15 1/2’’ long 2×4’s
- Six 12 ½’’ long 2×4’s
Step 1: Nail supports to the legs
Between the upper and lower horizontal frame there will be a 17’’ long vertical piece of 2×4 that will sit against each *end leg* and between the upper and lower frame bars.
There are two 36’’ long horizontal cross bars that will span between the two middle legs, from front to back. This will give more support to the frame. Each of these middle legs will also get a vertical support bar like the end legs, but you’ll need to cut them down to make room for the horizonal cross bars you put in.
Underneath the bottom frame on the middle legs I screwed in some scrap pieces of 2×4 to support the middle of the hutch.
Step 2: Support the roof
Finally, to support the roof, you’ll need to attach the 6 15 1/2’’ long 2×4’s every 19 1/8’’ apart on the upper frame in the front, and the six 12 1/2’’ 2×4’s will go along the backside. Again, this is to ensure the roof has a tilt and sheds water off.
Paint the Hutch
- Semi-gloss paint with primer mixed in
I’m painting mine to match the other hutches I have in my yard.
Choose your rabbit cages
Rather than make a hardware cloth enclosure for this hutch I’m using pre-made rabbit cages. I bought my cages from KW Cages. They have a smaller mesh wire around the bottom couple inches that they call “baby saver” mesh—it just keeps the newborn rabbits from wiggling out of the nest box.
The cages I bought also have PVC coated mesh on the bottom, which is nicer on the rabbits’ feet and overall just stand up better. Housing rabbits with a mesh floor can be somewhat controversial because it can cause their feet to develop sores, but worry not. I’ll be putting down straw bedding to prevent their feet from being injured. You can also place little rest pads in the cages to help give their feet a break.
My cages are 36’’x30’’x18’’, which might be a little too big for me to reach all the way into the back, but hopefully they’ll work out ok.
Hang the Rabbit Cages
- Screw-in hooks
- Wire (choose a sturdy, big gauge)
The cages will hang on the hooks on the front of the hutch. I just used two standard metal hooks. On the back of the hutch they’ll be supported by wire that is affixed to an i-hook. The reason I didn’t just use the same hooks on both sides of the hutch was so that I could adjust the height of the cage from the back end.
Build the Roof of the Hutch
Be sure to paint the lumber on the roof portion if you hang the cages before you the cages.
- Nine 4’ long 2×4’s
- Corrugated plastic roofing
- Standard roofing nails
The rafters will overhang the front of the hutch by about 6 inches, and they’ll be sitting at a slight angle, so the total length of the rafters needs to be 4’ long.
Once the rafters are painted and attached, you can simply attach corrugated plastic roofing to the top! Voila!
Insulate the Hutch
- 6mm plastic sheeting (4mm will also work)
- Two 13.5’ PVC pipes
- Brackets to hold the PVC up
- Heavy duty staples
- Two PVC corners
- I bolts
- Gorilla Tape
Step 1: Attach Plastic Sheeting to the Top, Back and Sides
I hung 4mm clear plastic sheeting on the back, side and top of the hutch to give it some insulation. I secured the edges of the plastic sheeting with Gorilla Tape and stapled the edges down. I only used 4mm sheeting rather than 6mm because the 4mm came in a 36’’ wide roll and was more convenient to use.
The bottom of the cage should be left open so that urine and droppings can freely pass through and dry out. I have chickens that run around in my yard and they’ll be able to get under the hutch and will eat the fly larva that will hatch among the droppings.
The front of the hutch will have a roll of the plastic sheeting attached at either end to PVC pipe, which will allow me to roll the sheeting up and access the front of the hutch. I’ll describe that process in the following steps.
Step 2: Attach the i-bolts
There will be two i-bolts and one will sit just under the roof, and the other near the bottom of the leg on either end of the front of the hutch. The purpose of the i-bolts is to string paracord between them, which will hold the plastic sheeting close to the hutch. It won’t hold I down so tight that there isn’t room to breathe, but will keep it from flapping in the wind.
Step 3: Hang a Catch Wire Under the I-Bolts
The little circular catch wire that you can make yourself will just get screwed in near the top I-bolt, and will be what the bottom PVC pipe attaches to when you have it rolled up.
Step 4: Make the PVC Poles
There will be two PVC poles; one at the bottom of the plastic sheeting, and one fixed just beneath the roof. The poles need to be about 13 ½’ long. The bottom pole should have a PVC corner attached to each end with about 4’’ of additional PVC sticking out of the other end of the corner. This will give the bottom pole a way to be hitched to the top on your catch wire.
The top PVC pole will sit in a bracket. The poles are ¾’’ in diameter so I just found a bracket type that held up the pole securely.
Step 5: Cut and Attach the Plastic Sheeting
I cut the 6mm plastic sheeting and attached the sheeting to the PVC pipes with Gorilla Tape, and I used quite a lot of it to get it nice and secured. I cut the length of the plastic sheeting so that it hangs below the rabbit cages.
Now that the plastic sheeting is attached to the poles, I can roll up the bottom pole and hang it on the catch wire in good weather, but lower the sheet during bad weather.
And that’s all you need to build a meat rabbit hutch—Teal Stone Homestead style! Now its time to work out what you are going to feed your rabbits.
I hope this helps give you some tips and ideas when it comes to building your own hutch, and as always feel free to comment below with any ideas that have worked well for you!