A Couple Questions About Rabbits


7 Years
Aug 7, 2012
Hi! I just need to know a few things before I start raising rabbits. I have been reading up intensley, but I just want some clarification.

1.) Can I use chicken wire for my hutches if a I provide resting mats? ( Don't want their feet to fall through or hutch burn!)

2,) Is 4 sq.ft. (2x2) enough for each rabbit? I am making a 4x8 hutch divided by 8.

3.) Is a trio of Newzealands a good start of a herd?

4.) Newzealand Whites have more meat, but Newzealand Reds are much cuter and, I think personaly, more showable; but less meat.

Thank You in Advance!
That sounds about right. Sounds like you did great on your research! I personally am building a hutch with plastic or wood flooring and just adding a litter pan. They liter train easily! :)
I'm sorry, but I must disagree with the previous poster.

Chicken wire will not work for rabbits, at least, not for long. The wire is too delicate, and they can chew it apart or pull it apart (the wire is just twisted together, not welded). It is an extremely bad choice for flooring, because even with a mat it will sag under the weight of the rabbits, which will most likely lead to sores on the rabbits' feet due to the uneven pressure. You need fairly substantial wire on the floor so that it stays level - most people use 1" x 1/2" welded wire, with the 1/2" spaced wires uppermost to provide the maximum amount of surface to stand on.

24" x 24" is not a big enough cage for something as large as a New Zealand. I wouldn't put anything bigger than about a 5 or 6 pound rabbit in a cage that small, and NZ's weigh at least 9 lbs at maturity. 24" x 30" is considered the minimum size for rabbits that big; does with litters may need even more space (I use 30" x 36" cages for my Harlequin does with litters).

But yes, a trio is a good place to start. You can get an idea whether rabbit breeding is really for you without a huge investment, and they don't wind up eating you out of house and home while you figure it all out (I don't care how much research you do, they will surprise you!)

Which breed you chose is entirely up to you, of course. The NZW's will probably be easier to find, but if you can find NZR's, they are more likely to be from a show herd and will be more likely to produce competitive offspring.

Good luck!
Another thing to take into consideration is whether you'll keep your rabbits indoors our out. Ours will be housed outside and we'll be using 24" x 30" cages made of GAW (galvanized after welding). It's much stronger, won't rust, they can't chew through it and it's easier on their feet. We've decided to go with all wire because it's so much easier to keep clean. Rabbits spray and eventually the urine will soak into wood and it'd be all but impossible to get the smell out, plus it makes a great medium for bacteria.

A great resource is rabbittalk.com It's all about rabbits and is (imo) as good about rabbits as this site is about chickens :)
Oh I do agree about the chicken wire didn't notice it said chicken. So I agree in that aspect. You want to use 14 gauge wire, anything else will hurt your rabbits feet.

Your rabbit will spend most of its time in its hutch and will need space to move around, as well as space for feeding equipment, and a doe needs room for her nest. A hutch 30 × 36 × 18 inches high (76 × 91 × 45 cm) is suitable for most meat breeds, although a 24-by-36-by-18-inch (61 × 91 × 45 cm) hutch is adequate for the smaller Florida White.But if you want to make your own cages, allow 0.75 square feet of space for each pound of adult weight
There is a post in another thread where the owner stuck a floor tile in the pen for the rabbit to sit on. Provides a smooth, solid spot to sit, cool in the summer and easy to clean.
Do you think I could have the chicken wire as the walls and the hardware cloth as the bottom?(found out that what the small square wire is called) I'm sorry Mickey238, but I can't afford to go ALL wire. Especially with the rising costs of building materials. Nonetheless, I see your point.
Hardware cloth is woven, not welded. 1/2" hardware cloth might work as far as letting the droppings fall through, but once again, it isn't very large diameter wire, and will probably sag when something as heavy as a New Zealand sits in a cage for any length of time. Chicken wire walls won't protect the rabbits from anything that tries to get at them, and most likely won't keep the rabbits away from each other for more than a few months before it will need to be replaced.
PC, I understand about the cost, believe me! If you go for the "good" (ie expensive) stuff for the floors, you can do with hardware cloth for the sides and tops...that'll cut down the cost.a lot. You could use wood for the corners and frames on the top...the corners would have to be replaced periodically when they get all urine soaked and stinky. The main thing is the floor...it needs to be large enough for the waste to fall through and small enough to keep kits from falling through, and smooth enough that it won't hurt the rabbits' feet. It also needs to be quite sturdy so it won't rust through or sag with their weight. Unless you want "unauthorized breeding activity" you need to make a space between the cages...an inch or two, because determined, hormonally charged rabbits will accomplish the deed through the wire! ;)

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