I have been crazy busy with the whirl wind of trying to complete some more projects on the house and tidy up the construction zone that has surrounded me. I have been very worn out lately but continue to love spending time on my land with my animals. This last weekend I welcomed my newest addition to the homestead, Aphrodite the Angora rabbit!
I brush her daily in the evenings after work, it is so relaxing having her in my lap just hanging out. I plan to process the wool that is brushed out and sell the raw material until I can afford my own spinning wheel. I hope to one day be able to knit this beautiful and soft wool into my own garments. This would truly be self sustainable in my eyes. I know my rabbit is well cared for and eats only the best foods possible. Who wouldn’t want to wear a garment humanely made and luxurious?!
Luke and I built her a beautiful rabbit hutch and she gets to free graze mornings and evenings in a portable run during the work week and has access to free graze all day on the weekends. She appreciates it when I move the portable kennel around to new locations every couple of days as she is a very curious little girl. I would say for anyone who wants a sweet, pet with moderate maintenance to definitely consider a rabbit. Angora’s are known as a dual purpose breed because of their size and their ability to make luxurious wool. I think she is a great addition to my homestead and I hope to add more in the future.
How to build your rabbit hutch:
Step one- Find the materials you wish to use for the foundation, fencing and roof. We used materials I already had on the farm. The only thing I had to purchase was a few extra hinges and the 3 rolls of hardware cloth. The over all cost for this project was $30, and our time. We completed this project in one day.
Step two- Build a base
For the base we used pressure treated wood that would last through the elements. We made the length of the hutch 8′ and the width 2′ so that the hardware cloth would fit in a single piece along the bottom. The legs of the hutch were slightly longer than 2′ as I wanted to protect my precious little bunny from predators and my curious dogs.
Step three- Apply hardware cloth
Luke rolled the hardware cloth out for me and held it still as I hammered in U nails to keep the cloth in place. To make this easier you could use a staple gun but personally I don’t think it would last as long as the U nails. I plan to keep this hutch around for a long time so I am glad we went a little more sturdy.
Step Four- Build the wall dividers and end pieces
For the dividers we used untreated wood as bunnies have a tendency to want to chew on things and I did not want her to ingest any chemicals. For the outside walls we did use pressure treated wood but we placed the hardware cloth on the inside so the bunnies would have a hard time chewing on it. We gave the roof a 12 degree grade to allow for snow sliding off in the winter time. One thing I learned from this is that I should have added the end walls hardware cloth prior to installing the dividers and roof.
Step Five- Build and apply doors
We measured the opening and created a simple 4 piece door. This was wood from a previous project and it was already stained on the outside leaving me with a beautiful teal hutch at the end!
Step Six- Apply the roof
The roof was simple sheets of roofing metal that we placed on top and left a little lip on each side so that weather would not drip down into the hutch. We added latches last and made sure they worked easily. Then Luke build me a nice nesting box for Aphrodite to rest in and feel safe and secure. I placed an additional board inside the space because I wanted her to be able to rest off of the hardware cloth when she needed to. She seems to enjoy the cloth during hot times of the day and the nest box at night. One thing I would like to add to this hutch is a tray below each section so I can begin to collect the manure for the garden. I am so glad I decided to add rabbits to my homestead. I hope to welcome another furry babe soon!