Kids’ small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs are quite sensitive to wind and cold. Once they have caught a cold, this often means they really suffer badly. A rabbit cage or run should therefore never be placed in the draught; shelter and insulation are vital for these small rodents. With the help of an acrylic windshield, you can prevent a lot of suffering for these animals. In this blog, we provide text and explanation for making a windshield/winter screen for a rabbit hutch or run.
Solid acrylic for durability and years of use
As the basic material for the windshield, we choose sheet material made of cast acrylic. These panels are sturdier than extruded acrylic and are also much easier to process. We recommend a minimum sheet thickness of 4 millimetres, this sheet thickness has sufficient “body” and is also impact-resistant and resistant to regular cleaning. Cast acrylic is 30 times stronger than glass. Is the rabbit cage in the garden and is football played regularly? Then choose a sheet thickness greater than 6 millimetres because of the extra strength it offers.
As a rule of thumb when calculating the sheet dimensions, we use the three-centimetre rule: the panel must be around 3 centimetres larger than the wire mesh. For example, if the mesh window is 40 by 60 centimetres, you can order a 46 by 66 centimetre panel. Therefore, the panel has a large overlap. In our webshop, you will find a wide range of crystal clear acrylic sheet and we saw this for you for free. Make sure you choose the cast version, not the budget version.
Fixing the windshield: make it removable
We recommend that you fix the windshield in such a way that it can be easily dismantled again. In the summer months, a windshield can cause rising temperatures in the rabbit hutch, something that we naturally want to prevent. To make assembly / dismantling easy, you can use wood screws with a double thread. These have both wood thread and metric thread. You screw one part into the wood, and on the other part, you screw a wingnut.
Drill fixing holes in the acrylic sheet
The holes for fixing are drilled 15 millimetres from the edge of the acrylic. The holes are on the corners and in the middle of the long side. That means a total of 6 holes. Acrylic is easy to drill, provided that you are well prepared for drilling. The acrylic sheet is supplied with protective film on both sides. Stick a strip of masking tape on one side, mark the positions of the holes on it. You then place the sheet on a surface in which the drill can “run out”, for example, a wooden board. Carefully drill the holes with a 6-millimetre HSS drill (metal drill) and a hand drill. Do not apply too much pressure and let the drill do the work. Once the drill has gone through the acrylic sheet, continue to run the drill while removing it.
Fully windproof and waterproof installation
A good tip is to apply foam tape between the hutch or run and the acrylic sheet. This seals the edges and makes them completely windproof and watertight. Stick the tape along the edges of the acrylic sheet (do not forget to remove the protective film from it). Next, hold the acrylic panel in front of the rabbit cage so that it falls nicely evenly over the mesh. Now mark the holes on the rabbit cage. Screw the double threaded screws into the wood at the marked points.
Then place the acrylic sheet against the rabbit cage. Secure it with the help of wing nuts and wide washers (also known as body rings). Do not over tighten the nuts, otherwise the acrylic may break. For the maintenance of the windshields, please refer to our blogs about the maintenance of acrylic and polishing acrylic. Have fun with the project!