DIY – Build A Rabbit Hutch – Raising Rabbits For Table Meat

New Zealand
Warm weather is upon us. It’s time to build that Rabbit Hutch that you have been thinking about all winter.

I had no idea how many worthless websites advertise ‘Free’ rabbit hutch and cage plans I would find on a google search. A full 95% are totally useless or bait and switch sites in an attempt to sell you something you can easily build for 1/4 their list price not to mention the cost of shipping.

Below is a list of good sites that I hope you will find useful.

PennState Agricultural and Biological Engineering Rabbit Hutch Plans

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LARGE & INEXPENSIVE BUNNY PEN: Rabbit Hutch Blueprint

Mississippi State Homemade Rabbit Cages

University of Tennessee Rabbit hutch plans

STATE OF GEORGIA. UNIVERSITY Rabbit hutch plans

Woodworkers Workshop Rabbit cage and nest box plans

Bass Equipment Supplier of rabbit cages, feeders and waterer’s Bass Equipment

New Zealand / California cross

New Zealand / California cross

Rabbits your secret survival tool in these uncertain economic times. Low wages, fewer hours on the job, higher food cost, rent and utilities increasing almost every month. How will you survive? The answer is a simple one, add rabbits to your backyard gardening plans.
One healthy breeding doe can produce 18 to 24 rabbits a year weighing 4 to 4 1/2 pounds at butcher time. That’s a nice 75 to 95 pounds of safe healthy fresh meat for you and your family costing you very little to produce.

Rabbits come in all sizes and colors ranging in size from the small dwarf breeds to the giant breeds. Most common breed for meat are the medium size breeds like the New Zealand and California rabbits. They are good breeders, grow fast and produce good size litters. They have a good feed to meat conversion ratio and produce an excellent table meat. They are easy to raise and to handle. By the way, rabbits are much easier to process for table meat than chickens.

Never buy rabbits from pet shops. You can not know where the rabbits came from or if the breeder raises his rabbits from quality, healthy breeding stock. Improperly cared for rabbits can be poor breeders and generally unhealthy. They may be infested with insect pest like ear mites and inbreed causing them to be prone to disease and deformities.
Choose a local breeder, go to his farm, inspect his facilities, condition of his breeding stock. How well he cares for them, are the hutches clean, are the rabbits clean and well watered and feed? Any breeder unwilling to show you his facilities is not to be trusted and should be avoided .

The start up costs for raising meat rabbits is relatively low. This is one of the reasons raising this type of meat is a popular one, for both the urban small farmer and the country farmer. As with any type of small farm project or business, it is important to know what the projected costs are before beginning. Having the proper equipment is one of the first steps towards success.

Basic equipment you will need for raising rabbits. Costs are approximate and can vary greatly from state to state. Start up cost can be very cheap if you do your home work and construct your own Hutch and nest box. Water / feeders can be as simple as a old tuna cans wired to the side of the hutch or you can buy commercial quality equipment. Once again I caution you, do not buy cages water bottles and the like from pet shops. They charge 3 or 4 times as much as the same item can be purchased from rabbit producers and rabbit equipment suppliers.

Remember your initial investment in ‘Quality’ accessories will give you many years of service with minimum maintenance.

* Nesting Box (large) – $10.00
* Rabbit Hutch (large) – $24.00 -$100.00 (factory made-store bought)
* Water Bottle – $4.00
* Bottle Brush – $3.00
* Rabbits (each) – $10.00 -$30.00

Additional costs will include feed, antibiotics, supplements if needed and additional cages to separate does from bucks. Basically, the more high-tech you get with your cages, the more expensive your operation will be. You may also want to contact your local USDA Cooperative Extension Agent for more information. Your paying for their service with taxes you pay, So do use them. They have a huge amount of useful information available and it’s FREE.

** Production coefficients and prices for North Dakota rabbit producers
Mature does in flock ————- 8
Does per buck——————— 8
Litters per doe per year———- 6 – 8
Marketable fryers per litter—— 6
Fryer market weight (lbs)——— 4.5
Fryer market age (weeks ———- 8
Mature doe value —————– $15 – $20
Mature buck value —————- $15 – $20
———— Feed requirements ———————
Buck and Doe(ounces/day)————5.3

Bass Equipment Company Has a very large line of rabbit equipment available including feeders, water systems and cages of all types and sizes. Their out of hutch feeders are well constructed, work well and are not over priced.

Last but not least. Don’t forget that a few rabbits will provide you with manure for your compost pile and a very good organic garden fertilizer.

Not from the USA Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be shy. Leave me your comment(s)

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39 responses to “DIY – Build A Rabbit Hutch – Raising Rabbits For Table Meat

  1. Thanks for the detailed information. I currently live in town, so I can’t have rabbits or chickens, but I dream about being more self-sufficient one day.

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    • Re nthibodeau7 – Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog and for your comment(s).
      Mmmmm - Most Many cities and towns do not have a problem with people keeping a small flock of Rabbits or Chickens (No roosters please).
      Happy gardening

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  2. Hi, I visited your blog to look at hutch plans. Thanks for the info. Re: your profile pic, Do you still look like Superman?

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    • Re Marcia Wilcox Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog and for your comment(s) :-) Big Smile Of course I do. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

      Happy gardening and good luck with your rabbit project

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  3. When I was young I went from the prairies to Toronto. I rented a basement suite from a Portugese couple. We used to hear squeaky sounds in the utility area. One day my 4 year old son snuck out just in time to see them killing a rabbit! There are hutches all over the city.

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    • Re Shamwest Thanks for visiting my little blog and for your comment(s)
      Ti is said that rabbit meat is one if not the healthiest meat you can eat. It is also a renewable resource.
      Easy and cheap to breed and keep. Requiring a small space and a small amount of food daily

      Happy Spring gardening

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  4. I wish they could engineer rabbits to be less cute. A hairless variety for example with a minging rat tail. I just don’t think I could bring myself to top Flopsy and Lopsy with the old axe. Wonder if I could get the dog to do it for me?

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    • Re myselfsufficiantfamily – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
      I have a young neighbor girl that calls me to (in her words) konk her butcher size rabbits. She has no problem butchering them after they are dead As payment for doing the deed, I get a home cooked meal.
      Happy Holiday season.

      Like

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog… it’s nice to meet others with similar interests! You have some very usefully information… thanks for sharing :-)

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  6. We’re carefully navigating the prospect of rabbits as proteins here in SW MT. I look forward to following your posts and learning all that I can! Great Job!

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    • Re Renaissance Ronin – Thanks for finding time to visit my tiny blog.
      Between your harsh cold winters and sometimes desert like hot summer temperatures some kind of winter weather (wind) snow and so on protection will be a must have as well as shade and good ventilation during the heat of summer. Keeping water dishes unfrozen in winter may be a real challenge as well.
      Resources for Montana Rabbit Raisers: Free Rabbits Breeder News Letter

      Goof Luck

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  7. Thanks, this brought back some great memories. I helped dad build our rabbit hutches many years ago. 54 years ago to be exact. Our first litter was 8 bunnies. I couldn’t help dad butcher the first time, even though I had shot, skinned and cleaned many cottontail rabbits as a kid while hunting. The next litter was a joint effort and I got over the attachment feelings. My sisters and brother never did. Mom, dad and I loved rabbit meat but my siblings never would eat our raised rabbits. Thanks again

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  8. We had the best Dutch bunny ever years ago, his name was Jump and my daughter loved that bunny. She got him when she was two and he lived for over ten years. She would sneak him into her room and he would sleep in her doll’s bassinet without moving a muscle. He truly was a cuddly, well behaved bunny and we miss him. We’ll never find another Jump ever, a giant amongs bunnies. You have a lovely site. :)

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    • It seems that even knowing that we should not at sometime get attached to a animal, be it a rabbit, goat, lamb or a 2,000 pound cow.
      Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog

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      • I can see getting attached to a cow, they have such pretty eyes. I think that your blog contributes a great deal, not like mine, which I don’t mind. My blog is serving as my electronic diary for my kids and future grandkids to read if they ever feel the inclination. lol

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  9. attemptinggreen

    Good Post! There is also a wonderful book that can be found at most libraries titled “Rabbit Housing” by Bob Bennet

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  10. We just discovered that lily tubers cook very well with rabbit in the croc pot :D

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  11. thanks for taking a look at my blog, it spurned me on to check yours out and I had never have thought of keeping rabbits for meat before, certainly something to think about.

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  12. Thakyou for visiting my blog. I am going to revisit yours many times. I am sure I will learn heaps.

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  13. I saw you read and enjoyed my piece on trying to recover beginner luck with coriander. I’m glad I looked at your own blog, because it’s full of practical information that greatly interests me. Thanks for your interest.

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  14. Reblogged this on Grannys Pantry & Grandads Garden and commented:
    Very valid and instructive idea here. Rabbits can be reared in small garden spaces with little planning problems in UK if done small scale.

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  15. My family has a pet rabbit that lives in a cage in the house. It makes the house smell like a barnyard if it is not cleaned every 4-5 days. I would love to keep her outside, but I worry that the heat would be too much. I live on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. If the climate is conducive, I would love to raise them for food. Any insight?

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    • Re: Johnny Ojanpera – Thanks for taking time to visit my humble tiny blog.
      In the hottest of weather I use one or more of those cheap $16-$19 dollar box fans from WM or other big box store to keep the air moving over my rabbits. The biggest secret is keeping lots of fresh water for them during hot weather. A few hours without water and they will die.
      This guy at http://www.debmark.com/rabbits/basics.htm has a ton of very easy to read and understand information on raising rabbits. His site main menu is located on the bottom of each page. I hope this has been useful to you.
      Happy gardening and good eating

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  16. In the 1980’s we too kept rabbits for meat (as do many of the local French families). We built our hutch as a “high rise” set of hutches from an old wardrobe we collected from a local auction house for pennies. Took off the door (solid oak from which my husband built my spice rack – still use it today), and replaced it with a door with wire mesh in – created floors for the three hutches, making 4 in all. This survived rabbit urine for over three years. We would leave the brood in the hutch until they started to squabble, then that signaled kill time.

    My husband would kill them by stretching their necks quickly and cleanly, then gut and skin. We then jointed the meat and very often the majority went into the freezer for future use.

    Our best mass use was for his 40th birthday party – a barbeque, I had marinated the rabbit and pre cooked it in the oven, we then flashed it off on the barbeque. Amazing the number of people who complimented us on our great “chicken”, except my brother who realised that we were only serving legs.

    Great for the compost/garden, but the does can be unfriendly!

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    • Re beekeeperwife – Thanks for taking time to visit my Tiny Blob and for your comment(s)
      At present I am out of the rabbit business. Bucks go sterile above about 92% and we often see temps over 105, the cold winds of winter always takes a toll on young kitts. So until I get time to rework my hutch setup I’m out of rabbits.
      Rabbit is a really high quality meat and can save many dollars on your supermarket food bill.
      Good eating

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      • We too no longer keep rabbits, I am really not keen on rabbit meat and I think Tony got tired of killing them, plus we made a decision a few years ago to reduce the amount of daily “must do” jobs, i.e. looking after livestock – fortunately bees are not quite so demanding. We are more fortunate than you though in our climate here – we do not suffer extremes of temperature (maybe the odd day in mid-summer or mid-winter, but they are the ones you remember).
        Good luck with sorting out your rabbit housing.

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  17. Great advice, thanks, we have our 1st litter & are busy building pens for the kits to go into, once weaned. We’re in Bulgaria :) xx

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    • Re: Mel Barber – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
      Good luck with your rabbit rabbit growing and hutch building project(s)
      Happy spring time projects.

      Like

  18. Thank you so much for the information. I am going to add to my rabbit collection this year and want to expand the living conditions myself. I keep my rabbits for their manure. I raise worms, too.

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  19. Reblogged this on Revival and commented:
    We raised bunnies when I was a child and I would like to raise them again. Housing is simple and can be made inexpensively and I like rabbit meat. The manure is great for gardens or wormbeds too.

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  20. Good post that can be of potential benefit to many. On a personal note, it brought smiles from memories from days gone by as a dear cousin raised rabbits.

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  21. In raising rabbits in pens, always take the doe to the buck and not the other way round. A doe will kill the buck if he is put in a pen in which she has raised a litter. Rabbits are rather like pigs, they need a separate and definite dunging place, something that the smallholder often overlooks.

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  22. Years ago my parents added rabbits to our mixed farming. They used a converted chicken barn with all the necessary equipment. I loved the creatures so much but the reality of it all was a business. I remember the big buck rabbits could really scratch with their big hind feet!

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  23. I am going to show my boyfriend this! He breeds reticulated/ burmese pythons, and rabbits are their meal of choice! (rats for the smaller ones)

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  24. Thanks for the post! I am excited to have a rabbit hutch some day.

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  25. Thanks for sharing these resources. I’ve been wanting to build a bunny pen but didn’t really know how to go about it. Do you have any useful resources for raising and butchering rabbits?

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