Owning a rabbit as a pet can be a fun and rewarding experience. One of the most important aspects of owning a rabbit is getting the right kind of housing. After you decide whether you want your rabbit to live inside or outside, you can compare different housing options and choose the one that best fits your situation. With the right planning and care, you can create a comfortable and healthy environment for your bunny.
EditCreating an Indoor Enclosure
- Purchase an indoor bunny hutch. The average size for a bunny hutch is x x . The hutch should be large enough for the bunny to stretch out and hop around freely. Purchase a hutch from a pet store or build one yourself.
- Look for a bunny hutch that matches your decor.
- Buy a rabbit cage for temporary housing. If you get a rabbit cage, get the largest one you can possibly find. The rabbit should still be able to stretch out and move while in the cage. If you do house your bunny in a smaller enclosure, it's important that you let it out of the cage for a couple of hours a day so that it gets adequate exercise.
- If the cage has a wire floor, make sure to lay down some hay or newspaper because the wire can hurt your bunny's paws.
- Keep your rabbit in a puppy pen instead of a hutch or cage. A puppy pen is large enough to act as an affordable alternative to a bunny hutch. If you don’t want to ruin the floor under the pen, you can lay down a plastic mat to make cleaning easier.
- The puppy pen should be large enough for the bunny to stretch out and hop around and tall enough so it cannot hop out. You should also make sure the pen is secured so that your bunny cannot lift it up with its nose to escape.
- Provide a bed or nest box for your rabbit. A bed or nest box filled with straw or hay will give a place for your bunny to curl up and keep warm. Place the bed in the enclosure that you chose for your rabbit. Plush beds or nest boxes can be purchased at a pet store or online. As an alternative, you can also use towels, baskets, or a grass mat for your rabbit’s bed.
- Make sure that whatever kind of bedding you choose is not toxic to rabbits and isn't something like sawdust or wood shavings which could be inhaled.
EditLetting a Rabbit Roam Free Indoors
- Let the rabbit roam free only if your house is bunny proofed. If you’ve protected your house and furniture from chewing and created a safe environment for your bunny, it can be left to roam around in a single room or the entire house. You should only let your bunny free while you're at home, and keep it in an appropriate enclosure when you're away.
- If you let the bunny roam around the house while you’re gone, it may burrow, hide, or injure itself.
- Cover exposed wires with plastic or flex tubing. Bunnies are prone to chewing on exposed wiring. This could damage electrical equipment and hurt your rabbit. To avoid this, wrap the wires in plastic or flex tubing to deter it from chewing on them. You can purchase plastic or flex tubing from a hardware store or online.
- If you have a rabbit who chews through plastic or flex tubing, insulate your wires with hard PVC pipe to keep them away from the wires.
- Keep indoor houseplants away from the rabbits. Many indoor houseplants are poisonous to rabbits. Search online for any houseplants you have and make sure they aren’t poisonous. If they are, consider moving them outside or hanging them from the ceiling, where the rabbits can’t reach them.
- Amaryllis, daffodils, and certain lilies are poisonous to rabbits.
- You can find a list of toxic plants for rabbits at http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Food/Toxic_plants_en.pdf.
- Install corner protectors to prevent damage from chewing. If your rabbits are prone to chewing on the bottoms of door frames or molding, you can purchase plastic or wood corner protectors from a hardware store to keep them from damaging your home. Watch the rabbit and place the protectors in areas where it is prone to chewing.
- Wrap cardboard around furniture legs to protect them. Wrap cardboard around your furniture legs, then secure it with masking or duct tape. Your rabbits may also try to burrow into the bottoms of sofas or chairs. You can deter rabbits from burrowing by taping a piece of cardboard over the soft cloth underside of your furniture.
EditHousing Rabbits Outside
- Consider getting a second rabbit to keep your other rabbit company. Rabbits are social and need to interact with either a human or another rabbit regularly. Outdoor rabbits usually get less human interaction, so getting another bunny will keep your rabbit happy. Multiple rabbits can also keep each other warm during cold temperatures.
- Make sure that both your bunnies are spayed or neutered.
- It's best to pair a male and female together.
- Keep your rabbits in an outdoor bunny hutch. Outdoor bunny hutches should be comprised of 2 parts: one side to protect your rabbits from the elements, and another section made of wire mesh that lets air and light through. When looking for a hutch, make sure that you get one that’s big enough for the rabbits that you have. The hutch should be large enough for the bunnies to walk and move around.
- The average size for a bunny hutch is x x .
- If you keep your rabbits in an enclosed space, you must let them out a few hours every day so that they can run around and get exercise.
- Metal hutches can get too hot in the summer. Get a hutch made of wood.
- House your rabbits in a wooden shed. A x or larger garden shed is big enough for your rabbits to hop around and also provides additional protection from predators and the weather. Make sure that the shed has the proper ventilation in the form of screened windows or doors. If there are no windows or doors, you can drill holes into the shed to provide adequate airflow.
- Installing wire mesh over an existing doorway or window is a great way to create constant airflow.
- Place a nest box inside of your rabbits' house. A nest box is a wooden box that will keep your bunnies warm during cooler temperatures. Place the nest box inside of the rabbits' housing and fill it with hay or straw so that your rabbits have something to burrow in.
- Bring your rabbits inside during extreme temperatures. Rabbits are greatly affected by the elements and do best in - weather. If the weather dips below or rises above those temperatures, you should move your bunnies inside. You can purchase a rabbit hutch at a pet store or build one yourself.
- Keep your rabbit housing in the shade during the summer to prevent your rabbits from overheating.
EditProviding Essential Rabbit Care
- Buy a hay feeder for your rabbit. Grass hay is the main food source for most rabbits, so it’s important that you get a bunny hay feeder that will provide a constant stream of hay to your bunny throughout the day. You can purchase a rabbit hay feeder from a pet store or online.
- Adult rabbits prefer timothy, grass, and oat hays, while younger rabbits should be fed alfalfa grass because of its high protein content.
- Supplement your rabbit’s diet with vegetables. Vegetables will give the rabbit the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. You can feed it vegetables like basil, lettuce, and bok choy. Introduce the fresh vegetables slowly over time to see how your rabbit reacts to them.
- A rabbit should be fed of greens each day.
- Avoid feeding your rabbit too many carrots because they are high in sugar, which can lead to diarrhea.
- Get a water bottle or water bowl for your rabbit. A medium sized bunny should have at least - of water per day. A water bottle can attach to the inside of your bunny hutch or cage and is common for indoor enclosures. Water bowls can also provide water for your rabbit, but should be washed once a week.
- Purchase a litter box for your rabbit. Rabbits will use a litter box to go to the bathroom. The litter box should be shallow enough for the rabbit to go in and out of it easily. You can set the litter box near the hay feeder since rabbits prefer to eat hay while they go to the bathroom or you can place it near a corner that the rabbit has already been using.
- When filling the litter box, make sure that you use paper-based litters, because clumping and scented litters can be toxic to rabbits, who do tend to nibble on litter from time to time.
- Train your rabbit to use the litter box. Some rabbits will naturally use the litter box due to its smell or because it has been placed near where they have used the bathroom before, while others will need to be given a treat as positive reinforcement after they use it. Rabbits tend to go in the bathroom the same place every time, so if your rabbit isn’t using its litter box, move the box to the area where the rabbit usually goes and see if it uses it then.
- Never use negative reinforcement to train a rabbit. It can become scared of you.
- Take your rabbit for regular veterinarian checkups. If you notice that your rabbit’s behavior changes or it appears sick or weak, take it to the veterinarian immediately.
- While the US doesn't recommend any vaccinations for rabbits, in the UK vaccinations for myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease are strongly recommended.
- Let your rabbit run around for a few hours each day. Make sure that you’ve set up enough space for your rabbit to exercise. You can give the rabbit cardboard or chew toys to play with so that they can spend some of their pent-up energy. This is especially important if you've kept it in a cage or hutch for an extended period of time.
- If you are letting your rabbit exercise outside, make sure it’s inside an enclosure or it could run away.
EditThings You’ll Need
EditLetting a Rabbit Roam Free Indoors
- Plastic or flex tubing
- Corner protectors
- Duct tape
EditProviding Essential Rabbit Care
- Hay feeder
- Grass hay
- Litter box
EditSources and Citations
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