Learn about rabbit hutches before you buy your bunny

rabbit shape
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve got a rabbit, or for that matter bought one for the kids, then you’re lucky. Rabbits make some of the best pets you can get.

Rabbits are friendly, furry and cuddly. They won’t bite your finger off, they can be housetrained so they won’t poop on the carpet and they are a delight to cuddle.

But if you’re considering a rabbit as a pet you also need to find out a little bit more about housing your rabbit in what is commonly called a rabbit hutch or a rabbit cage.

There’s plenty to learn about rabbit housing. The first and obvious question to answer is whether you are intending to house your rabbit indoors or outdoors, because both have different concerns.

If you are housing your rabbit outdoors it is very important that you get a hutch for him that is solid, predator proof, protects your rabbit from the elements and is built out of materials that will not degrade in outdoors conditions and in particular from rain or sun.

For an outdoors rabbit you must have a shaded sleeping area for the rabbit during the day and also at night.

None of these apply if you’re housing your rabbit indoors.

Rabbits can be particularly susceptible to climatic conditions. Good rabbit housing should have ample ventilation to allow for the escape of heat in the summer and also to avoid buildup of toxic elements such as mold.

Their sleeping area should be sufficiently large and also be fully enclosed so that a rabbit can escape from the wind and rain.

There should be an exercise area where he can exercise under the sun, and preferably have access to fresh grass. If it’s possible to wheel the rabbit hutch around the garden this is even better as you can move him to fresh grass every few days.

There should be an open area on the floor for part of the hutch so that droppings can fall through, and it helps immensely if the lid of the cage can be easily lifted to allow for simple access to your rabbit and also for easy cleaning.

There are some excellent rabbit hutches available online. We have found the best buying is at eBay, where you can find the same hutches as elsewhere, brand new, at much better prices. At these prices you can afford to buy your rabbit a bigger cage.

Rabbits also need plenty of exercise so if you can incorporate a rabbit run into your garden and allow your rabbit access to the run during the day and this will cater to his need to exercise. Remember however that the run must also be predator proof and also not allow your rabbit to dig and be able to escape.

If your rabbit has a run and it works well then position his hutch within the run and have a side door to the hutch so that your rabbit can enter and leave as he pleases during the day.

Many commercial cages are too small. Avoid small cages. Also avoid rabbit hutches made from treated timber, as treated pine in particular often has cyanide in it, and this is a risk to your rabbit and you.

Rabbits like to chew and you don’t want your rabbit chewing treated pine.

Always be aware, if you keep your rabbit outdoors, of what the weather is going to do. Rabbits do not respond well to extreme cold or heat, and will become distressed. Be aware of this. If you are forced to leave your rabbit outdoors in a hutch on very hot days provide him with a frozen water bottle to help him cool down.

It is much simpler to house your rabbit indoors. You do not need an expensive rabbit hutch, you don’t need protection from the elements, it’s much cheaper and easier to have a large area set aside for your rabbit but the downside is that you need the space, and many people don’t have that.

Whatever you choose do some more research and find out as much about rabbit housing as you can before you buy your first rabbit and rabbit hutch. Jump on to eBay and grab a bargain.

And here’s an interesting video about building a rabbit hutch. Note however that he is building the hutch with treated pine, not something we suggest. It’s always better to use another outdoors timber than treated pine.