This rabbit hutch was built from four free pallets, a roll of rabbit floor wire, wood screws, scrap plywood, a tarp, hinges, and a latch. Nothing more, nothing less. Using pallets for lumber was certainly a new experience and should I decide to build another hutch, I don’t think we will be using pallets again. Although you save close to $60 in lumber, it is a pain in the bootycakes to pull those things apart. If you can spring for some 2×4′s and plywood –go for it! If not, this tutorial is for you.
You will need:
Skill saw/radial saw
Cordless drill driver
(4) wooden pallets in decent shape –ours were 48″x38″ with a few boards on the back
30″ wide x 10′ roll of 14 or 16 gauge rabbit wire in 1″x1/2″ (friendly size mesh for bunny feet)
(1 box) 2 1/2″ wood screws
(1 box) 1 1/2 – 2″ wood screws
(1 box) horseshoe nails
(1) latch –do not use a hook and eye; raccoons are smarter than you think
First off, disassemble all of your pallets trying to keep all of your pieces intact. We ran the saw down the insides of the first crossbar to ease the bigger boards off. Give yourself a good, full day to disassemble all four pallets… maybe more. Most pallets are put together with corkscrew nails, not screws. These corkscrew nails look like normal nails, but have grooves in the sides to prevent them from being pulled out easily. These corkscrew nails are what you can attribute the cause of that headache you have later on to.
Use this diagram as a guide in constructing the frame of your hutch. The 38″ walls shown changed a bit in our actual construction so please take your own materials and their size into account when building your hutch. The pallets you find may be smaller or larger. Adjust accordingly. Our 38″ height walls ened up being 14″ legs and 24″ walls from floor to ceiling; all as one piece.
We built the frame for the floor using the diagram above. The wood used was from the 2×4 crossbars of the pallets and not the wide, thin boards. The two long sides are 44″ inches and the two short sides and center crossbeam are 27″ inches (the thickness of my boards ended up being 1.5″ inches and not .75″ inches). Attach the short sides to the long sides using two screws through the long side and into the end of the short side as shown.
Your finished bottom frame should be 44″ x 30″. Next, roll out your wire and adjust so that the 30″ width is flush with your short sides. Use the horseshoe nails to tack the flush sides down well. Then use a piece of thinner board to create a trim piece to fit on top of the cut ends of your wire. The wire should overlap your frame and then be covered by the trim pieces. Screw the trim piece onto the frame being sure to catch the screws in between the wire squares. this will ensure that the wire stays taut.
Now build the same frame as you did for the floor to support the roof. Obviously the roof frame does not need wire.
Set your frames up and see how tall or short you would like your finished hutch. We wanted our hutch with tall enough legs for a dropping pan to slide underneath and still have ample height inside for a comfortable living space.
The sturdy boards we chose for our hutch legs were 38″ inches tall. 14″ inches were used for the leg (measured from the ground to the floor wire) and that left a generous 24″ inches for the inside height (measured from the floor wire to the bottom of the roof frame. Measure twice and mark your leg boards before screwing them to your frames!
Ta da! If you’re with me so far, you should have a complete hutch frame ready for a roof, walls, and door. This is a winter hutch so all three sides will be solid wood. If you are building a summer hutch or live in a mild climate (we expect snow for the next three to four months) you can wire the whole outside and just skip to the door. Add a roof from scrap plywood pieces or even pallet boards if you think you have enough.
Screw on the walls using the thin, wide boards from your pallets. If there are any obvious gaps, just screw another board over it. This is a hutch made from pallets people… it ain’t gunna be too pretty. The hutch looks wet because we just moved it to its permanent spot during a rain storm.
Door: Measure the hole you need to cover. We used a few boards for the front to make a more sheltered hutch, so yours will have a different sized hole than ours. Measure and create a frame using sturdy pallet boards. Nail together at the seams with horseshoe nails on both front and back. Then use horseshoe nails to nail the wire to your door frame. Mount the wired door to the hutch with hinges and figure out where to put your latch.
All done! You may find a few tweaks are needed depending on the size and type of pallets you acquire, but this is really just a rough guide. Bigger hutches can be made if you have larger pallets. Sorry about the sad looking pictures, but it is raining something fierce outside for the foreseeable future and everything got wet as we moved the hutch under the deck. But no worries! With a thick tarp and some hay on the ground, this hutch looks cozy enough for a full grown rabbit to call home in the worst of winters here.