Thinking of getting a pet rabbit? Before you bring your new fluffy friend home, however, you will need to get a home for it. Now the first thing that might come to mind is a rabbit hutch, but is that really what's best for your hopper?
We're about to find out, so keep reading.
Honestly, it's up to personal preference. There's no right or wrong as long as you take into account the needs of your pet bunny. There are quite a few opinions on the matter, however, so keep reading and decide for yourself.
A cage is an enclosure made from metal bars or wire mesh meant to hold small animals or birds. A hutch is an enclosure made from wire mesh, wood, and other material meant to keep rabbits in.
If you're wondering if bunny hutches are right for you and your rabbits, keep the following points in mind.
Rabbits are prey animals. As a result, it's very important to keep your fluffy friends safe and secure especially if they'll be living outdoors. There are many predators that would love to make a meal out of your pet rabbit.
Hutches are also great for indoor rabbits. It keeps them out of trouble and away from dangerous objects and plants. Bunnies are known for chewing on everything. Nobody wants to come back to an electrocuted or poisoned pet.
Generally, bunnies are great at litter training themselves. To speed up the process, however, you can limit their movement with an exercise pen, baby gate, or cage.
Cages are excellent storage places for messy items such as food bowls, water bottles, hay feeders, and storing other accessories such as toys. Some rabbits also prefer to use their cages as a place to sleep.
Is it cruel to keep a small animal in a cage? Yes and no, it depends on the hutch. If your bun will stay in the hutch for an extended period of time, make sure it takes care of basic needs and allows for normal behaviors.
A cage should have easy access, a comfortable place to sleep, accommodate hopping antics, and ensure your bun-bun has access to food, water, and other basic needs such as a potty area.
Hutches are only cruel when they are too small and filthy. Keep in mind their main purpose is to keep a small animal safe from predators and other dangers. If done right, I don't think bunny hutches are cruel.
The size of your rabbit hutches will depend on the size of your pets. If you have dwarf hoppers, you can get away with much smaller cages than large bunnies. A small animal needs less space to display normal behaviors like running, jumping, and flopping.
Follow the three-hop rule. This rule states that the cage needs to allow at least three consecutive hops in any direction. The roof should be high enough to prevent the ears from touching when the bunny stands on its hand legs.
No matter if your fluffy friend is an indoor or outdoor bun, the same rules for the cages apply. Many owners opt to dedicate a full room to their bunnies. This way there's more than enough space to create the perfect rabbit habitat.
So do rabbits need a hutch? The answer is no, but hutches are excellent for unsupervised outdoor activities and keeping your bunnies safe indoors. They are also great for creating a safe area for your bun bun to sleep, eat, and potty inside your home. If you want a rabbit hutch indoors, go for it!
Unless you've gone through the trouble to bunny-proof your home, it's wise to keep your buns in a cage or closed-off area. Lots of pet owners opt to have free roam buns when they can supervise and have them closed up in a bun-safe room or enclosure when they can't. There are so many accessories you can buy to create the perfect habitat for your bun, no one will dare demand a change in your bunny cage.
In my opinion I'd say no. These fluffy hoppers do just fine being kept indoors as long as you went though the effort to set up a proper enclosure for your pets. Being indoors keeps them safe from predators, diseases, parasites like ticks and fleas as well as extreme weather conditions.
When setting up an enclosure for an indoor hopper, you don't have to stick with the usual models while shopping. Since your buns are already protected inside your home, you can focus on styles when making a purchase. Choose the brand you like most, buy a complete setup or one you need to assemble yourself, or don't get one at all and go for something less traditional like an exercise pen. Don't limit yourself on account of others.
Before bunnies became house pets, they were only kept outside. Bunnies kept outdoors need to be protected from the elements, have a cozy shelter to hide in for warmth, and have lots of space to run and jump in their outdoor habitat. If you give them that and check on them every day, there shouldn't be any problems. That said, do bring them indoors if it gets really cold out.
This is another yes and no question. If your bunnies can stay outdoors in winter will depend on your climate. In areas where temperatures drop below 21.2°F (-6°C) you don't want to leave them outdoors.
No, as long as you set up the proper habitat for your pets. Keeping bunnies outside is easy since you don't need to protect the floors, deal with soggy newspaper, and chewed through cables. You do, however, need to provide a safe, warm area to rest in, make sure they can't dig out, fill the hide with warm bedding and provide fresh food and water. If it gets very cold, make sure the water doesn't freeze and that the cage is free from drafts.
When shopping for an outdoor enclosure, you'll need to focus more on functionality and safety than styles and brand. Your outdoor enclosure needs to be easy to access for you, but impossible to breach for predators. You'll need to do daily checks for any sign of damage, especially around the door. Many outdoor enclosures are made from wood, allowing some insolation against the elements.
While in the store, ask customer service to select the most sturdy option and inspect it closely for any sign of weak points.
An enclosure for two buns needs to be double the size of one meant for a single hopper. You'll also need to double up on all items. For a single hopper allow for three hops, so in this case, it will be six hops. Before leaving your new fluffy friends alone together, however, make sure they are bonded properly.
Cages with multiple levels work really well for multi rabbit households. A brand like Trixie offers excellent cages with multiple levels.
When shopping for a cage option for more than one bun, you need to take into account the size of your fluffy friends. After you purchase your items, it will be much harder to change. Make sure the cage is easy to access, large enough for two buns, looks nice from the outside, and shows no sign of damage. If possible, find a cage with an enclosed area that opens up into a run.
Now that you know a bit more, it's time to shop for your own rabbit enclosure. Don't be afraid to get one and change it later, just make sure it's big enough to accommodate your fluffy friend. You can try a number of pet store options until you find that one cage that speaks to you.
Yes, the PetSmart brand sells a whole variety of styles and sizes for you to choose from. Find the style you like, evaluate its good points and purchase your new items.
The best setup for a rabbit is one that allows lots of movement. If you have an indoor bun, an exercise pen is a great option. For outside buns, you need to select one with a roof and floor.
That depends. If you have an outside bun, you will want to provide a cozy home to hide in. For indoor buns, a hide isn't strictly required, but they definitely do enjoy one.
Before running off to the shop, check out our guide on setting up a rabbit enclosure. You will need things like water bottles, food bowls, hay feeders, litter boxes, and a whole variety of other items.
For small buns, you will need a smaller setup than for the large sort. Try to allow for at least three hops per bunny.