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Choosing a Rabbit Hutch

Before you put too much thought into buying your rabbit its home, have you decided where you’ll put the hutch? Will it live indoors or outdoors? How many rabbits will live there?

Many rabbits live in hutches that are far too small for them – the majority of which were bought in pet shops. Resulting in your pet being in worse condition than a caged test animal. The House Rabbit Society recommends that the hutch should be at least four times the size of your pet. But, like most things in life, bigger is always better.

Buy Big

Don’t go for a “starter” hutch, they’re far too small. Unless your rabbit is able to stand up and lie down at its full length, it will suffer from a range of physical and psychological problems. From loneliness to chronic arthritic pain. Several bad habits can also develop from boredom – hair chewing, head swaying and pawing.

As I previously mentioned, if you have the space: buy bigger. Your hutch should have enough space for the rabbit to be able to take three hops from one side of the hutch to the other and contain a sleeping compartment, hay rack, food bowl, water bowl and a litter tray. If you have a bigger breed, the house and run should mimic that. If you have two rabbits – and you should have at least two (they’re social creatures) – double the required space; if you have three, triple the space; etc.

Your rabbit(s) need somewhere quiet, dark and relaxing to be able to retreat to, either alone or together. For two rabbits, you need three quiet areas. For three rabbits you need four.

Like many things bought from a pet shop, the runs also tend to be too small. AFR recommends that a medium size rabbit should have a run measuring at least 8ft x 4ft x 2ft. Ideally you want to be able to connect the run to your rabbit hutch which has a door that opens outwards from the side, allowing the rabbit to come out when it wants to play – as opposed to having to lift it out of the top. If your rabbit can’t freely enter and exit its run, place it in there for several hours a day, making sure it has a shelter from the elements.

Let’s go Inside

If you want your rabbit to live indoors, he (or she) needs somewhere to retreat to. The den should be able to contain a sleeping compartment, hay rack, etc. It should also be securable so you can lock your rabbit in, for its own safety.

What about the floor?

The perfect bed for an outdoor hutch would be a deep layer of soft barley straw (for warmth), with a layer of hay (prevents sore hocks) on top. Paper bedding makes a great substitute, and is preferred over wood shavings or sawdust. Litter training your rabbit is simple, but if you choose not to: put wood shavings or rabbit litter under the straw around the latrine area. Indoor rabbits need far less straw or hay, some owners do away with it altogether and just use fleece.

Location, Location, Location

Their eyes are adapted to twilight and they have incredibly sensitive hearing. Place the hutch in a dimly lit, quiet area.

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