Rabbit Accommodation Ideas
The traditional solution for rabbit accommodation is of course, a hutch. However, as rabbits require a good deal of space in order to have a fulfilling life, even a large hutch may not be enough. This page is designed to give you ideas if you do want to ‘think outside the box’ in order to give you and your rabbit the best pet experience possible.
‘The RWAF recommends a minimum space of 10′ x 6′ x 3′, which allows rabbits room to move, stand on their hind legs and enough space for the food, toilet and sleeping areas to be kept apart. It is commonly accepted that a rabbit should have space for 3 hops, but it is commonly underestimated just how far 3 hops is – our tests show that 3 hops from an average sized rabbit covers 6-7 feet!
A hutch should only be used as a shelter and not the only living space. It should be attached to a secure run of at least 8′ x 6′.’
Before purchasing your rabbit’s accommodation, take a look at RWAF’s ‘A Hutch Is Not Enough’ campaign.
Think outside the box!
Why not try a converted shed or child’s playhouse
This provides a great option for rabbits, with plenty of space for them and a great opportunity for you to fully enjoy their antics where they have such room and stimulation. Believe it or not, many sheds/playhouses can be purchased for a similar price to a traditional hutch, although may well take up more room in your garden. The building can have a permanent run attachment to allow for further space and access to grass, fresh air and sunlight. Alternatively, you could just put your rabbit/s out in an independent run which could be moved around the garden as you liked.
The advantages of this option include:
- the ability to have shelves for all your rabbit bits and pieces such as food, sawdust, hay etc, keeping them from taking up any space in your home.
- the floor can be covered in lino for ease of cleaning so it can easily be swept out or even a garden sucker used (obviously when the rabbit is not present!).
- the inside of the shed can be kitted out with as many tubes, outlook points and chew toys as your imagination can provide, as long as they are clean and suitable for pet use.
- some owners have even installed cameras so they can enjoy watching their rabbit’s behaviour when they think they are alone!
If you decide to use a playhouse it is important to ensure there is plenty of ventilation, so stable doors can be handy, as can windows that open. These features are also important to provide plenty of sunlight as it can be a dark place with the door shut as it may have to be in poor weather. Fox proof wire can be placed across internal door or window openings to prevent access by predators.
Or House Bunnies
House rabbits can bring much joy and as long as you are prepared to bunny proof your home (wiring usually presents the biggest chewing hazard) and don’t mind the odd dropping, it can be a wonderful experience.
Most neutered rabbits can learn to use a litter tray and make interesting and entertaining house pets. However, it is important to remember that they are not a cat or dog and will still have rabbit behaviours, so they can be demanding and destructive. Chewing is often a problem and is natural behaviour no matter how many distractions you provide. Also even litter trained rabbits can sometimes drop occasional droppings around the house. These are the negative aspects and it does not mean you shouldn’t try having house rabbits, but it is essential to go into it with your eyes open and fully informed.
House rabbits can be lots of fun but are often messy, even if litter trained, with hay often the worst offender, but your bun does need constant access to it.
Despite having such space and access to human company, it is important to remember that the rabbit will still need to have its other needs met. Namely, it will still require a companion (with neutered male/female pairing being best) and will also need access to the outside in order to remain healthy. More information on keeping house rabbits can be found on the Rabbit Welfare Association.