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Megan's Dutch Hutch

By Dennis, Barb, & Megan Kline

Click here for pictures of the barn.

Hi everyone! Our name is Dennis, Barb, and Megan Kline and we are Megan's Dutch Hutch. We were asked to write an article about our rabbitry by Rick Billups. Rick, Julie, and Rachael came to visit several months ago and were impressed with how our barn looks and how it was constructed.
We started in rabbits in 1997 with one rabbit in the garage as a 4-H project for Megan. We then grew a little larger and built our first barn, an 8x10 building which still stands and is now used to store our equipment and supplies. Several years later, we built an additional 10x14 barn to handle our growth. We had both buildings air conditioned for the hot summer months. Then the unthinkable happened. The air conditioning went out on the 10x14 building which housed our does due to kindle and does with litters. We lost about two thirds of our herd. We were lucky enough to save our head bucks and several does which were in the other building. The grief was brief because we had to get back on track with our program. Now looking back, we feel this made us stronger and more determined to succeed in breeding quality animals.
This tragedy caused us to design and build a barn that the rabbits could feel comfortable in the summer and winter. It took us a few months to design and build the 20x42 barn that we have today. As you can see from the pictures, the barn matches our other buildings and home.
We built it with wood siding so the bottom 2 feet could be hinged for cross ventilation during the spring, summer, and fall and locked down in the winter. The walls and ceiling are insulated with 1" blue board to keep it comfortable in both the summer and winter. A 4" gap all the way around the outside of the ceiling provides air flow in the winter. This gap goes up to the attic where a thermostatically controlled exhaust fan pulls air out of the attic up through the gap. Fans are mounted from the ceiling which blow across the top of the hanging pens and floor fans blow down the aisle ways for air movement.
To heat the barn in the winter, we have a 45,000 BTU LP gas furnace mounted from the ceiling which blows down the center aisle to keep the barn at 40-45 degrees on the coldest of winter days. The best features are the manure pits under the 2 rows of hanging cages. We only need to clean the pits three times a year and it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to clean them out. The only trays we use are on the 16 doe and litter pens. Tile runs under the pits to take all the moisture out and the downspouts of the barn are tied into these tiles which flush them out whenever it rains. The aisle ways are stone instead of concrete. Concrete tends to get damp on humid days whereas the stones get damp but dry out much faster. Also, if we happen to spill any water it just drains through the stones.
There are a lot of other little details we are sure we are missing, but you are welcome to stop in sometime to get ideas and see what the love of raising Dutch rabbits can do to a family. Raising Dutch rabbits has definitely brought us closer together as a family and we have made many friendships from this great hobby.

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