Caring For Your Hutch Or Run
As with most outdoor products the lifespan of your hutch can be dramatically prolonged just by taking a few extra steps.
Below are some recommendations that we suggest you seriously consider taking to ensure the longevity of your hutch or run as well as the safety of your pets.
Recommendation 1 : Treating the wood
Your hutch and or run has been treated with a base coat of wood preservative.
While the wood we use for the majority of our products is highly durable and resistant to decay and rot, we do recommend that you consider treating the outside of your hutch or run with a high-quality varnish or wood preservative.
We also suggest applying a coat to the underside of the roof panel.
We recommend that you consider treating your hutch once a year (preferably before the winter season) to maintain the applied preservative and water repellent properties.
If you choose not to do so then over time the base coat we have applied will fade and your product may not look as good!
So it really is time well spent and worth the effort.
Recommendation 2 : Lubricate metal parts.
It would be beneficial to occasionally spray the locks and stays with products like WD-40 to keep the metal lubricated.
If you choose not to do so then you may find that the stays seize and can result in you damaging the hutch roof when you try to open it.
We recommend once a month applying a small amount on the stays (if your hutch has them), locks and hinges to ensure that these metal on metal parts continue to work smoothly.
Please do take care and ensure your pets are not inside the hutch or run while you do this. Wipe away any excess lubricant if needed.
Recommendation 3 : Positioning your hutch.
We highly recommend that you position your hutch in a protected area which is not overly exposed to the elements and protected at all times from high winds (or gust).
Every year in the UK we have a few strong storms that bring high winds which can result in your hutch being blown over or even the roof being blown off.
Apart from the damage that these high winds can cause to your hutch don't forget that your pet may be inside at the time!
During stormy weather make sure your hutch is well protected from the elements and bring your rabbit or guinea pig inside until it passes.
Remember, you are responsible for the welfare of your pets and we urge you to make sure that your pets are safe and the hutch is secure at all times.
When setting up your hutch, try and position it so the doors are not facing into driving rain as it is possible with the 'right conditions' that rainwater is blow in under the doors.
You may also wish to consider using the cover that comes with the hutch. You can find out more about our range of heavy-duty here: Hutch Covers
Recommendation 4 : A regular cleaning regime
We recommend that you clean your hutch out regularly (once a week) making sure to thoroughly wipe down and disinfect the insides of it. This includes the undersides of the roof and the back of the hutch if it's close to a fence.
Always use a good disinfectant when cleaning your hutch or run. Some natural cleaning products may be worth considering too.
Make sure that there is adequate air circulation at all times around the entire hutch otherwise, there will be an increase in the likelihood of mould build-up.
Water bottles and toys and replace any wet or soiled bedding and hay. In addition, you should aim to remove droppings every day if there is a build-up.
Over the colder, damper months, mould can form on the insides of your hutch if there is not adequate ventilation. (This can be exacerbated by keeping the hutch covered or preventing good air circulation.)
Mould can spread quickly if it's not treated immediately.
By regularly cleaning and disinfecting your hutch or run as well as making sure there is adequate ventilation inside and out you greatly reduce any chance of the naturally occurring air bourne mould spores from taking hold and growing.
If you have a cover for your hutch then you must allow both your cover and hutch to air out regularly, especially after long periods of wet or damp weather.
Failure to do so will result in a build-up of mould on the cover and on the hutch!
Recommendation 5 : Stop capillary action
During periods of prolonged wet weather, rainwater can be drawn in and around the decorative edges of the roof panels by capillary action.
This can cause damp patches to appear near the edges on the underside of the roof which can lead to a build-up of mould and reduce the lifespan of the roof panel.
To greatly reduce this natural phenomenon we recommend running a thin bead of sealant between the top of the roof panels and the decorative edging.
If done correctly, this creates a barrier that stops the rainwater from being drawn in under the edging and so stops capillary action. We also recommend that you run a bead of sealant on the underside of the roof panel too.
Taking these simple extra steps will prolong the lifespan of the roof panels which tend to be the part of the hutch that will experience the full force of nature throughout the years.
Many people have told us that they have used this brand of sealant which great success.
Recommendation 6 : Stop your rabbits chewing.
There is always the possibility that some rabbits and other rodents may chew parts of their hutch and prolonged chewing can weaken your hutch and decrease the protection they offer against foxes.
We recommend that if your rabbit starts to chew that you immediately take the necessary precautions to prevent or lessen the chance of them damaging your hutch. Rabbits have sharp teeth and can cause serious damage to your hutch and run in a very short period of time.
Here are some helpful tips and products that we recommend.
We suggest you don't wait until your rabbit starts to chew before taking precautions. Rather invest in some of our new anti-chew strips straight away.
Recommendation 7 : A WARNING ABOUT FOXES!
If you are going to keep your rabbit or guinea pig outside then we highly recommend that you read our recommendations on how to safeguard their welfare against foxes and other animals (dogs, badgers, cats).
Full details can be found here: Fox proofing a rabbit hutch.
We would like to think that our products are made to a higher standard than most other suppliers in our price range.
While we have purposely used thicker, sturdier wood, wire and locks with the aim to make it as safe and secure as possible for your pets we cannot guarantee that foxes, badgers, dogs and even cats won't try and forcefully gain access.
We do not pretend that our products are 100% predator proof and we don't make false claims (like some of our competitors) that they are.
Preditors like foxes/dogs/badgers are by far the biggest threat that your pet will face so if you are going to keep your rabbits or guinea pigs outside then we also urge you to take these added precautions.
Please don't be complacent! Foxes are powerful and persistant preditors.