When we bought our house, one of the things that we loved was the beautiful antique New England barn. The 13 modular stalls over the years have housed a large variety of animals from horses to pigs to chickens to llamas and goats. But you don’t need a massive barn to build your own bunny barn! These ideas could be used to convert a shed, barn, horse stall, an unused garage, or even a spare bedroom in your house.
For my bunny barn I chose one of the corner stalls to take advantage of the extra natural light & ventilation. There is a nice large window that has a wooden door I can shut from the outside, and the windows in the front are closed off when I close the main doors to the barn making it secure at night. Here is the stall when we moved in:
and this is where we ended up after we were done:
Safety & Basic Prep
First and foremost, you need to make the area safe. We have concrete floors, so predators digging in wasn’t a concern. I thoroughly checked the corners and walls for evidence of rotten wood where an animal could gain access or the rabbits could escape the stall. I decided to cover the lower half of the modular wall (to the right in the picture above) with plywood just in case a rabbit decided to try and squeeze between the boards into the next stall.
The window was another concern. There was some old chicken wire across it. Many predators can rip or chew through chicken wire. I replaced the chicken wire with sturdy hardware cloth. There is an wooden exterior door that I can use to close up the window, but I knew in the summer I would want to leave the window open even at night so a secure screen was important.
Then I gave the stall a good cleaning & pulled out the chicken coop that someone installed the corner. I left the “floor” of the coop in place as a corner shelf for the bunnies.
I wanted to brighten up the stall so I painted the top a nice clean white. The outside of the barn is red with green trim. I used the green trim color for the lower half of the walls.
For the summertime we got a mountable barn fan that we hung opposite the hutch. During the warm summer days we often find the bunnies lounging in the breeze on the cool tiles of the hutch.
Even though the rabbits have the run of this 120 square foot stall all the time, I wanted them to still have a “home base”. The hutch came with us from the old house and I had painted it a fun turquoise color. Click here to read more about how I originally decorated the hutch. I wanted to update it to match our new color scheme so I painted it green & white.
The hutch houses all the rabbit essentials. Their food, water, hay, & litter box are all in there. The hutch used to be outdoors so we had built the raised base (click here to see how) to keep them out of snow drifts & safer from predators. Even though we don’t have to worry about weather & predators inside the barn, I still love having the hutch raised up. I’m not getting any younger and having the water, food, & litter up high makes it easier to do rabbit chores.
The hutch also has an upper area that is mostly enclosed that they can use for a sleeping area. Rabbits don’t like sleeping out in the open, so having a small, dark, cozy “bedroom” is important when planning your rabbit enclosure.
Underneath the hutch we store extra hay, litter, and misc rabbit things in a large plastic storage bin. Their extra feed is stored in a metal trash bin. Open bags of feed can attract rodents, so it’s always a good idea to keep extra feed in metal bins they can’t chew through.
I found this great paper towel holder on Amazon that I mounted on the stall door. I use this to keep all my cleaning supplies handy – paper towels, a scraper, spray bottle, hand broom, & dustpan.
My rabbits are “mostly” litter trained (click here to read more about this). I would say they get about 90% of their poops in the box. Most of the rest is scattered around the lower level of the hutch while they are eating & drinking. Every morning I take the small hand broom & dustpan and sweep up the stray poop.
Once a week I use the spray bottle (filled with diluted vinegar or my special coop cleaner, click here to make it) and paper towels to clean up the tiles on the floor of the hutch. If there is any stuck on poop, I use the scraper to get it off.
On the stall floor we have scattered straw. Twice a year we will totally empty the straw & replace it. As I mentioned, they are mostly litter box trained, but there are definitely a few poops here and there on the floor. The straw helps absorb any stray accidents, but also gives them fun digging & burrowing materials. I see them moving it around and piling it in corners. It also covers up & softens the cold concrete floor.
Rabbits are curious and love exploring, so I have built some levels for them to explore with the corner shelf & shelf to lounge in front of the window. To help them access the levels we have ramps with outdoor rugs for traction.
Most rabbits love tunnels, in the wild they would dig tunnels & burrows to live in. Pet rabbits enjoy having tunnels too! You can find pet tunnels at pet stores or online.
Our Bunny Barn wouldn’t be complete without a place for the humans to come & sit to spend time with the rabbits! We have a bench in the corner for bunny visiting.
Now for the cute stuff
I got lucky that we moved in spring, so about the time I was decorating our Bunny Barn, HomeGoods had their Easter decor on clearance. I was able to score some adorable bunny themed decorations for very cheap!
One of my favorite scores was a cute fabric Easter tablecloth for $5. The tablecloth material was used to make the valance for the window. I also wanted to cover the prison like bars over the hutch that separates this stall from the next stall. Whenever possible, I used the factory hemmed edges of the tablecloth so there was minimal sewing. Sew some twine loops to the valances & hang them on nails over the windows. This makes the curtains easy to take down for washing occasionally.
I searched Etsy for rabbits prints I could print myself. For just a couple dollars, you can purchase a downloadable drawing and print it yourself in whatever size works for you. Pop them in a frame and you have very affordable artwork!
My rabbits moved here with us and were used to having outside access. They love lounging in the sun, digging, and jumping around. So I definitely want to build them an outdoor run in the near future that they can access with a cat door from their stall. Our hutch is also nearing 7 years old and after 7 New England winters outdoors it is starting to show it’s age. I’ve drawn up some plans to build a new one, hopefully another project to tackle soon.
Updates after 1 year
The bunny barn is still working out well but we have made some changes. I hope these help you in setting up your own rabbit area! First we ended up removing the hutch. One of our rabbits is a senior and was starting to have a hard time navigating the ramp to get to the food & water. We removed the hutch and instead mounted the feed, water, and hay on the wall. It’s easier for the bunnies to get to, easier for the humans to get to for cleaning & filling, and moving the hutch out gave them a lot more floor space. Win for everyone! I was a little concerned they wouldn’t have their “home base” to retreat too, but I noticed they had really taken to just sleeping under the ramp. It provided enough shelter that they felt safe & protected.
Second change was we emptied out all the straw. It was a good idea in theory. They did love digging in the straw and piling it up, and making little nests. Unfortunately having a “litter” all over the floor made them lazy about using the litterbox. Where they were previously using it 90-95% of the time, it went down to maybe 50%. Completely emptying 120 square feet of straw was VERY time consuming so it wasn’t practical for cleaning regularly.
We didn’t want them to be on the uncomfortable cement floor, so we purchased 3/4 inch thick rubber floor mats – the kind you would put under gym equipment. It’s awesome for cleaning. They are back to using the litter box most of the time, and for the rest I can just quickly sweep up the floor everyday. We have given them a little straw for nesting under the ramp, but it’s only a small amount so easy to switch it out. It’s been about a month and it’s going well, I was concerned they might try to eat the flooring. So far they haven’t, I’ll update if that changes!