The Rabbit Hutch
The most popular accommodation for a rabbit is a hutch. Traditional style hutches - small plywood boxes - don't provide the best living area for a rabbit. Stronger build hutches in larger sizes and with multiple levels are becoming more easily available. If you can't find a supplier try commissioning one from a local carpenter - or make your own!
If your intending to house your rabbit outside in a hutch, the following are some points you should consider.
Hutches should not be all wire; they must have an enclosed box/bed area for the rabbit hide in when frightened or avoid the elements. It must be large enough for your rabbit to move comfortably (see size guide) and protected from predators and the weather.
Rabbit Hutch Size
With rabbit accommodation, bigger is better - rabbits need plenty of space to move. Minimum hutch sizes are just that - the absolute minimum. The RSPCA and RWA (UK) recommend a minimum hutch size of 6' x 2' x 2' and the ASPCA (US) recommends 4' x 2' x 2'. These are for average size pet rabbits. Larger rabbit breeds will need much larger hutches, a rabbit shed may be more appropriate.
In addition to a hutch, a rabbit needs a minimum of several hours exercise a day in a larger area such as a rabbit run or room indoors. Attaching the hutch to the run is a great solution as it allows the rabbit free access to a large area.
Make Your Hutch Secure
Many rabbit hutches have doors that are secured with a twisting section of wood. Unfortunately, this can easily become loose or a fox (or other predator) scratching at the door can open it.
These hutch door catches should be replaced with proper bolts and in some cases with the addition of a padlock too. These can also be handy for preventing young children opening the hutch unsupervised.
Another potential problem can be the mesh on the living area of the hutch - this should be securely fastened and preferably weld mesh rather than chicken wire. You can attach mesh using U-shaped nails available from DIY stores. Mesh that has small holes (under half an inch) is best - larger diametres can allow cats (or other animals) to put their paws inside and claw at the rabbit.
A Leg to Stand on
Rabbit hutches need to be raised of the ground so the underneath doesn't become damp.
If your rabbit hutch doesn't already have legs then you can make your own or some hutch manufacturers also sell separate legs. Another alternative are castors (wheels) designed for cabinets which should be available from your local DIY store. A lower tech solution is a brick at each corner.
The Hutch Walls
Where possible avoid hutches with thin plywood walls - these might be slightly cheaper but will need replacing much sooner than a strongly built tongue and groove hutch. Check the walls regularly for water stains and wear. The protective stain/varnish will need maintenance approximately every 1-2 years.
The Hutch FloorHutches should have solid floors not mesh which is bad for rabbits feet. To make floors easier to clean you can firmly glue lino/vinyl floor covering to the base. Placing wooden batons around the edges stops rabbits chewing it. You can also put a litter tray in the toilet corner.