Fred Hutchinson was one of three brothers, all of whom were veterinarians. He qualified as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) at the New Edinburgh Veterinary College, Scotland, in May 1889 and came to South Africa to manage the farm Beginsel in the Standerton district. In October 1898 he joined the Natal Civil Service as district veterinary surgeon at Newcastle. At the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), he was commissioned in the Army Veterinary Department with the rank of captain and placed in charge of remounts at the Point, Durban. In October 1901 he returned to his post in Newcastle, where he remained (except for a short spell at Stanger in 1906) until his headquarters was moved to Dundee in 1908. During these years he published several articles in the Natal Agricultural Journal, including "Parturition of mare and cow" (1905), "Stiffsickness" (1905) and "Haemorrhagic septicaemia or pasteurellosis in cattle" (1908).
Hutchinson held the rank of captain in the Natal Veterinary and Remount Corps (later the South African Veterinary Corps) and was promoted to major in 1911. During World War I (1914-1918) he was on active service. In 1921 he was promoted to senior veterinary officer and transferred to Pretoria. He was a member of the Natal Veterinary Medical Association (1909-1917) and later of the South African Veterinary Medical Association (founded in 1920). He retired in 1925 and settled at Hilton, near Pietermaritzburg. He was survived by his wife, Mary Alice Hutchinson, born Boast.