Rabbit Hutches and Cages
Rabbit Hutch or Cage
Every rabbit owner should know that the safest place to keep a rabbit is indoors in a cage. Domestic rabbits are different from their wild relatives. Domestic rabbits do not tolerate extreme temperatures well, especially in the hot summer months. Even in a safe enclosure, rabbits are at risk from predators such as coyotes, foxes and birds of prey. Merely the sight or sound of a nearby wild animal can cause rabbits so much stress that they can suffer a heart attack and literally die of fear.
If kept in a cage, rabbits need a lot of room to easily move around. A rabbit’s cage or hutch should be a minimum of five times the size of the rabbit. Your rabbit should be able to completely stretch out in his cage and stand up on his hind legs without bumping his head on the top of the rabbit cage. Additionally, rabbit cages with wire flooring are hard on rabbits’ feet, which do not have protective pads like those of dogs and cats. If you place your rabbit in a wire cage, be sure to line the floor with cardboard or other material. Place a cardboard box or “rabbit condo” in the cage so the bunny has a comfortable place to hide, and respect your animal’s need for quiet time. Rabbits usually sleep during the day and night and become playful at dawn and dusk.
When rabbits are kept in a cage or a hutch, they need to be let out for several hours each day to exercise. Aside from free-range running and jumping, rabbits also enjoy exploring their surroundings. This is an ideal time to play and interact with your rabbit. Make sure that he has a safe area to play and explore.
How to Set Up Your Rabbit Hutch or Cage
Follow these basic guidelines when constructing or designating a home for your rabbits:
- Rabbits should be housed in a clean, open environment that is free from drafts but provides air circulation such as a large rabbit hutch or cage.
- Make sure rabbits have enough space: 4-5 times the body size of the rabbit you are housing should be the minimum amount of space given to each animal.
- Always provide rabbits with 1-3 inches of proper bedding (no pine or cedar shavings).
- If you have your rabbit in a cage or hutch with a wire bottom, provide a resting board so your animal may move off from the wire if desired.
- Hutches and cages should be kept 1-3 feet off of the ground.
- Soiled bedding should be removed daily, and all bedding should be removed and the cage or hutch thoroughly cleaned once per week.