To maintain happy pets, keep in mind that rabbits need to be relaxed and surrounded by conditions that keep them bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – i.e., in optimal health. In our guide to buying rabbit cages and hutches, we offer considerations for determining the best home for your rabbits. Size, materials, layout, and other necessities are all things that go into buying a rabbit cage or hutch.
What Size Rabbit Hutch Do I Need?
Prior to buying a new home for your rabbits, the first thing to consider is size. How many rabbits do you plan to raise? And remember, if you’re housing male and female rabbits, they tend to multiply at a steady rate, so plan ahead.
A general rule of thumb for deciding on the size of a hutch or cage is reserving about 1 square foot of cage or hutch space per pound of body weight on each rabbit. A typical rabbit weighs about 6 pounds, so a single rabbit needs about 6 square feet of hutch space, or about 2 feet by 3 feet.
The cage should be tall enough so that your rabbit can stand on its hind legs without having to crouch or bump its ears on the top.
Styles of Rabbit Cages and Hutches
Hutch and Run
The hutch-and-run style is one of the most common and traditional ways to house rabbits. An ideal hutch has a sleeping area and an open exercise space, which provide a rabbit’s essential needs.
Most outdoor rabbit hutches are made with a wood frame and enclosed with wire mesh, so take notice of the finish. A non-toxic weatherproof finish on the wood – as well as an asphalt-shingled roof –will help keep out the elements.
Some hutches remain on the ground, while others are elevated. Keep in mind access to the inside of the hutch for cleaning or retrieving the rabbits. A multi-level hutch is a good choice because the lower space provides rabbits access to grass and a cool shady area in warmer weather.
Metal Wire Cage
Durable metal wire cages are often used when keeping rabbits indoors. They are easy to set up and are convenient to transport. Even if you plan to house-train your rabbit, your furry buddy will still need a cage that he can call his home.
Most rabbit cage bars are either galvanized, powder-coated or plastic-coated, which prevent the wire from becoming rusty. Whichever coating you choose, make sure it is safely treated with a non-toxic coating since rabbits tend to be chewers.
An ideal metal wire cage also has two access doors – one at the front and one on top – that offer easy access to your rabbit and its food and water supplies.
Rabbit Hutch Flooring
Having a mesh or metal grate in a portion of the hutch or cage floor allows your rabbit’s droppings to easily pass through to a collection tray below. A slide-out tray underneath the wire mesh floor helps protect bunnies from getting urinary tract infections as well as making clean-up simple and convenient for you.
If you have a garden, you might want to use the droppings as fertilizer, since rabbits produce manure that is considered to be one of the best sources of nutrients for plants. And it’s easy to use, too – it’s ready for spreading, no composting needed.
Rabbit Cage Accessories
Once you’ve decided on a new home for your rabbit, think about additional items that will be needed. A must-have is a drip-feed water bottle that is attached to the hutch or cage so fresh water is available for your rabbits. As for food bowls, ceramic or stainless steel are always best.
Your rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, so it’s a good idea to provide chew toys that will help stop overgrowth. Balls or chew rings are fun and healthy ways to keep your rabbit entertained and healthy.
For bedding, you can use a layer of untreated, organic litter shavings made for rabbits that you can lay on the bottom of the hutch or cage to provide a soft place to lay. Unbleached shredded paper and paper towels also work well for bedding.
Finally, consider joining a group like the American Rabbit Breeders Association where you can learn more about keeping your rabbits, safe, healthy, and happy.