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HOUSING YOUR RABBITS


HOUSING YOUR RABBITS
Your rabbits’ housing is really important to their wellbeing. Your rabbits should have lots of room to hop, stretch, lie down and binky!

Housing your rabbits

Whether your rabbits live outdoors or indoors, it is essential they have enough space. A hutch is not enough. The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund asserts that rabbits should always live with another rabbit and they should be able to lie stretched right out and hop at least three times.

Their hutch should be permanently attached to a larger space within which they can exercise freely. This could be a safe bunny-proofed room indoors, or a large run outdoors. The housing itself should be big enough to allow your rabbits to make at least 3 hops. It’s recommended it is at least 2m long x 60cm wide x 60 cm tall to house 2 bonded rabbits. They should have an exercise run of at least 2.5m long x 2m wide x 1m tall, that your rabbits have full access to at all times so they can run around as they would in the wild.

 

In the wild rabbits are prey animals so it is important that they feel safe. Your rabbits’ housing should have safe hiding places so that they can escape if they feel scared. Make sure you have a secure shelter with plenty of soft, safe bedding, either dust-free straw/hay or special bedding designed specifically for rabbits.

Your rabbits will also need access to an area where they can go to the toilet. This should be separate to the sleeping areas and you can use newspaper, hay/straw and/or a paper based non-expanding litter. It is important to provide enrichment tools for your rabbits. Tunnels, platforms, as well as at least one hiding place per rabbit with two entrances/exits work well.

Your rabbits should have a constant fresh supply of good-quality feeding hay, such as Excel Feeding Hay with Hedgerow Herbs, placed in hay racks and areas that are separate to the bedding area. There should also be fresh, clean water constantly available.

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Foraging and chewing will keep your rabbit physically and emotionally stimulated.

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The hutch should be high enough for your rabbits to stand on their back legs, stretch out fully and with enough floor space to allow a minimum of three to four hops in any direction. The more rabbits you have the bigger their hutch should be and there should also be space for them to be alone from each other.

Housing checklist

Rabbits can be kept indoors, but it is important that you gradually get your rabbits used to common household sights, sounds and noises. All areas that the rabbits move around in should be fully rabbit-proofed to ensure that they are safe and protected from hazards. For example, all electric cables should be covered to stop your rabbits chewing on them and any house plants should either be safe for rabbits or kept out of the way. You should also make sure the flooring is non-slip as slippy floors can cause rabbits injury and stress. Your rabbits should also be kept away from radiators and their space should be kept well ventilated as overheating can be fatal to rabbits.

It’s also important that you provide plenty of enrichment and ideally, give your rabbits access to a secure area outside so that they can dig and graze on grass. If this isn’t possible the next best thing is to provide ‘dig-boxes’ filled with earth of child-safe sand and pots with growing grass in.

The essentials you will need to make the perfect set up for you rabbits:

Rabbit-proofed space Non-slip flooring Food bowl Water bowl Hay Rack Litter Tray & Filling Hidey Holes/Tunnels Boredom Breakers Bedding Hay Lots of tasty Excel hay! Excel Nuggets Excel Treats Rabbit-safe cleaning products

Rabbits can be housed outdoors. For a perfect home, they need a hutch with a run permanently attached to the side. The hutch will only be your rabbits’ bedroom. They need access to a run at all times so they can choose to be inside or outside.

Your rabbits’ housing must be secure. Outside hutches and runs need to be able to keep predators, such as foxes, out. Therefore, you need good quality mesh and a good quality bolt. When thinking about which mesh to choose, the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund recommends thick wire with 13mm holes. The rule is the more secure, the better. Smaller holes will keep out smaller predators such as weasels and stoats.

Heat can be fatal to rabbits. Therefore, the hutch should always be dry, well-ventilated and kept cool. Outside, avoid south-facing walls and direct sunlight. In the colder winter months, add extra bedding to an outdoor hutch and move it into a garage.

Cleaning rabbit housing

DAILY:
You should give your rabbits’ housing a quick clean daily, throwing out wet/dirty bedding, uneaten food and cleaning and refilling food and drink containers.

WEEKLY:
A more thorough clean should be completed weekly. You should remove and replace all your rabbits’ bedding.

MONTHLY:
Every month you should give your rabbits’ housing a ‘deep clean’ where you take everything out, scrub the housing with a animal-safe cleaner then replace bedding the with fresh hay or straw.

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DO YOU NEED MORE ADVICE?

To help you find the right food for your rabbits have a look at our product range.

Alternatively you can call our free consumer care line on +44 1405 862241 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our dedicated team of experts will help you make the right choice.

If you should have any concerns about the health of your rabbits, always consult a vet.