Build a secure home for your pet
Have you ever thought about keeping a pet. With the proper care and attention, a pet will soon become housetrained and tame. Keeping pets starts with a secure animal hutch.
Your materials checklist
- Pine framing 1 2400 x 90 x 35mm 20 lineal metres 70 x 35mm
- Hardiplank 5 lineal metres 230mm
- Chicken wire 4 metres 1200 x 25 x 1.4mm
- Galvanised Staples 1 packet 25 x 2.8mm
- Butt hinges 4 75mm
- Phillips head wood screws 1 packet 75mm x 8g
- Slide bolt 2 Small
- Flat sheet nails 1 packet 50 x 1.8mm
- Aluminium flyscreen 4 metres 1200mm wide
- Cement sheeting 1 1500 x 1200 Mitre 10 Gap Sealant
Tools for the job
- Mitre drop saw, or panel saw and mitre box
- Cement sheet cutters, or score and snap knife
- Wire cutters
- Cordless drill and drill bits Phillips head screw bit
- Caulking gun
- Bevel gauge
- Carpenters square
- Roofing square
- Straight edge
- Tape measure
- Safety goggles
Step 1: Construction
Using the back of the cement sheeting, draw a 900mm baseline, and square a line up from the centre point. Draw two 900mm lines from the ends of the baseline to meet at the centreline, these are the side frames. Draw in the frame timber profiles and joint details from fig 1. Allowing for a 5mm gap inside the frame, draw in the full size door plan complete with joint details. During the construction process, refer to this plan to mark all angles, sizes and joints directly to the timber.
Step 2: Base frame construction
All framing is from 70 x 35mm pine, all joints are screwed.
Cut 3 cross members by taking the angle and length directly from the full size set out.
Mark the position of the three cross members on both 1800mm side rails and the ridge, remembering that the two end cross members are set back 35mm from the end of each rail. Fig 2.
Fix side rails as fig 2.
Cut 8 side frame pieces to the size and shape as indicated on the full size set out.
Attach the 4 end side frame pieces in position and fit the 90 x 35mm ridge, ensuring the frame is square. Fix the remaining 4 sidepieces checking that everything is square and symmetrical. Build 2 doors from set out, with joint detail from fig 3.
Step 3: Using cement sheet
- Cut and fit the nesting box floor panel
- Cover the rear door frame
- Cut and fit the front dividing panel to the nesting box. To cut out the entranceway, score the cement sheet and nibble the waste with wire cutters or pliers.
If your animal hutch is to be kept in the weather then it is advisable to paint all external timber with an oil-based undercoat and topcoat. First, fill all screw holes and gaps with gap sealant.
Fix flyscreen if appropriate, with tacks or staple tacker.
To fix the chicken wire, start at the base and staple the wire around the frame in one piece.
Cut and staple chicken wire to the front door frame.
Now fix the Hardiplank cladding to the sides of the nesting box starting 20mm from the bottom of the base frame. Allow about 45mm cover on each sheet. This should bring the top sheet flush with the top of the frame. Cut a strip of Hardiplank to cover the gap between the two top sheets, fix and seal with Mitre 10 Gap Sealant. Available from your local Mitre 10 store.
Paint the Hardiplank cladding.
Hinge the two doors to the base frame rail and fit the slide bolts. To prepare the nesting box, cover the entire floor with enough thicknesses of newspaper to provide an absorbent moisture barrier. Line with fresh straw or shredded paper, and place a cat litter tray in the corner.
Ask your local pet shop for advice on the best type of water dispenser for your hutch, and fix it according to instructions.