It is important to follow a good maintenance routine to keep your new hutch in tip top condition for its furry tenants, just as you would with your own property. Below are some tips to bear in mind to make sure you get the best from your new setup and to ensure its longevity.
- Choose your set up area carefully.
Your hutch should be positioned in a sheltered area where it is not over exposed to extreme elements. Despite our hutches being sturdy and well built (and in a lot of cases, very heavy), we do experience on occasion, very strong winds in the UK, especially in more remote areas. It is therefore still possible that a hutch set up could be blown over or damaged by such winds if it is not adequately sheltered. More importantly, as your furry friends will be inside, we do not want them coming to any harm due to an exposed or unsheltered set up!
Driving rain is another issue to consider when choosing your set up. Try to ensure that the doors of the hutches are not facing an area that could expose it to driving rain that would cause your pets to be exposed to inclement weather conditions and wet hutch floors.
Please consider conditions that your set up area and pets could be exposed to through changing weather conditions, and be mindful of keeping your pets safe and your hutch setup secure in times of extreme weather conditions.
Although our hutch set ups are very sturdy, and as much as we would like to be able to, we do not claim for them to be fox or other predatory animal proof. We believe that no hutch set up, can be 100% resistant to attack from other animals.
We use high quality mesh and fixings to prevent access as much as possible, alongside further upgrades to bolt locks and thicker mesh.
Please be mindful of the suitability of your set up and take steps to reduce the risk of your pets becoming susceptible to visits from unwanted visitors.
Predatory animal attacks can happen anywhere, not just rural areas. Foxes, badgers, and even other domesticated pets can be a threat.
It is also important to remember at this point, that a predatory animal can cause great harm or even death to small animals without even needing to gain physical entry to the setup.
- Cleaning routine
It is important, not only to maintain your hutch setup, but primarily for the health and welfare of your pets that you maintain a rigorous cleaning routine for your animals. Many of you are very experienced small animal owners who will already be well aware of the requirements of this.
From a hutch maintenance aspect we recommend a thorough clean down of the inside of your hutch once weekly involving a wiping down and disinfecting the inside of your hutch including the walls and the underside of the roof. If your hutch is positioned against a wall or fence it is also important to wipe down the back walls of the hutch due to the reduced airflow. Remember to use pet safe disinfectant.
Remove and replace any soiled or wet bedding and hay daily. Droppings should be removed regularly to avoid a build up.
During colder and damper months, hay should be replaced daily to avoid damp that could cause mould/mildew build up. During these months there is an increased risk of mould/mildew build up becoming apparent on the inside walls of your hutch set up. This maintenance routine is of particular importance to reduce the chance of this happening.
- Hutch covers
Many owners choose to use hutch covers to help protect the hutch from the elements and provide further shelter for their animals. If you use a cover it is important to allow both the cover and hutch to air out regularly to avoid build up of mildew and mould as a result of reduced airflow. This is of particular importance following extended periods of cold wet weather. Mould and mildew build up is exacerbated by poor air circulation.
- Wear and tear
The setup should be inspected regularly to check for any areas of wear and tear or damage caused by the furry inhabitants! No hutch is completely chew proof, and therefore it is important to put in place preventative measures to try and avoid this happening, and to inspect regularly to check for areas of damage.
- Weather resistance
Each hutch is treated with a water based stain as standard (oil based stain is available as an upgrade option). As wood is a natural material, it is important to maintain a weatherproofing routine to prolong the life of your setup. We recommend re-treating your setup once a year with a high quality, pet friendly wood preservative. If you choose not to do this then your hutch will weather much more quickly.
We also recommend spraying the metalwork on your setup (hinges/locks) frequently with a small amount of lubricant such as WD-40 to keep them functioning smoothly and to avoid them seizing and causing damage to the doors.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list and is purely a set of recommendations to ensure your setup is kept in tip top condition as long as possible!
Please view our disclaimer page for further details on hutch maintenance and your responsibilities.