Do Rabbits Need Bedding? Which Is Best And Why

While bedding, for rabbits is not a strict necessity, it has a lot to offer as far as comfort and hygiene. This means that, when it comes to the question, ‘do rabbits need bedding?’ the answer is basically ‘yes’. 

Do rabbits need bedding? In the wild, rabbits live in dens, also known as warrens. This is where they keep their young, hibernate, sleep at night, and so on. The space is very important for them when it comes to security. Without proper bedding, a rabbit simply may not feel cozy. 

There are several materials people have used as bedding mistakenly (one of the worst being cat litter). ‘Do rabbits need bedding?’ yes, and the bedding should be made out of straw, ideally. 

Do Rabbits Need Bedding? Straw Instead Of Hay Or The Like 

Straw bedding has a lot to offer: it is affordable, provides comfort for rabbits, and it can help keep messes and odor in the cage in check. Rabbits will root around in the straw. They may sometimes give the bedding a nibble. This is one reason non-toxic bedding, such as straw, is so important. A bunny should not eat too much of their bedding, but a piece here and there is inevitable, really. 

Some opt to use hay as bedding for their bunny. However, one of the primary staples of their diet is hay. This will encourage your rabbit to eat their bedding to excess. Even if the straw is non-toxic, it will doubtlessly absorb urine and the like. Your rabbit ingesting this is clearly not healthy. 

Straw is dust-free. Make sure that it is fresh, free of mold and of good quality. 

Litter-Train Your Rabbit To Make Cleaning The Cage Easy

If your rabbits are properly litter-trained, you will not have to replace the straw too frequently. It must still be replaced regularly, perhaps one to two times weekly, depending on the individual bunny. 

You can clean moderately dirty straw out of a rabbit cage pretty easily, with the use of a brush or similar. Dirtier straw may take a little more work. Litter-training your rabbit with a litter-pan will go a long way to keeping the cage tidy. 

This can be accomplished by starting your rabbit out in a small space. They will have to confront the pan and will be encouraged in its use. As they develop the habit of using the litter pan, you may expand their area accordingly. Repeat as necessary. 

Some Litter Alternatives To Straw To The Keep Cage Tidy

Do rabbits need bedding?’ is a good question. What should also be considered is litter for your bunny. This is key to maintaining clean bedding for your bunny. Following are a few litter options, all alternatives to straw. Never use the same material for bedding and litter; this will only confuse your bunny.  Strictly speaking, straw is for bedding and rabbits won’t eat straw.

White Computer Paper and Brown Paper Bag Litter for Your Bunny

You can use white computer or printer paper and brown paper bags from around the home to make a decent litter for your bunny. Do not substitute anything with ink, such as printed white paper, or newspapers especially. 

shreaded paper
Old Ink Free computer paper makes an affordable bedding material

These kinds of paper can be turned into litter with a paper shredder, or by hand, fairly simply. Paper litter like this is springy, and absorbent of both liquids and odors alike. Paper litter is also different enough than staw, so your rabbit will not get their paper litter and straw bedding mixed up, ideally. 

Wood Pellets and Shavings Can be a Good Rabbit Litter Choice 

As rabbit litter, wood shavings can be a sound choice. However, some woods are toxic when they come in contact with urine. They may also be dusty. As attributes for a litter, these are not ideal, clearly. 

Some of the worst woods to use for bedding or litter are cedar and pine. They will release harmful fumes for your bunny. 

Instead, aspen wood shavings are ideal. They are toxin-free, relatively free of dust, and affordable. They are also effective at eliminating odors and smells. Unlike some other wood varieties, aspen wood is also free of splinters and other risks. 

Of course, the aspen shavings must be obtained from a reliable source. A lumber yard may have aspen wood of okay quality, but it will not be sanitized for mites, bugs, etc. These are not things you will want to introduce to your bunny. Moderately-priced aspen shavings from your local pet store will do nicely. 

Paper Pellets Make a Fine Litter for a Bunny

These are natural, non-toxic and highly absorbent as a litter for a bunny. They are affordable and reasonably comfortable. The only downside is they do not control odor as well as some other options. It is all a matter of personal preference, so feel free to let your rabbits give a couple of litter types a try, separately. You can see what works best odor and cleanliness-wise for you and your bunny. 

Do Rabbits Need Bedding? Keep Bedding Litter and Food Separately

Once your rabbit is all set up with bedding made from straw, you will need to place the litter and food separately. A raised food trough will help keep your bunny from mixing the straw bedding up with the hay. The hay should be kept in its own space where your bunny can eat at their leisure. 

Conveniently, a cat litter pan can be used for a bunny. Place this in the corner of the cage, far from the food and without too much surrounding straw. You will not need to fill this too deeply, as rabbits do not bury their droppings as cats do. The entire contents will be discarded each time you empty the box. Corner litter boxes are popular but actually too small for even a single bunny. Avoid these. 

As mentioned above, to help keep the cage sanitary, the litter should be changed out once to twice weekly. 

It is true that litter and food should be separate. This in mind, rabbits should still have access to their food before and after using the litter box. Rabbits have the habit of eating before or after using their litter box. This is considered healthy. Hay can be nearby if it is raised up properly. This will allow your bunny access, while still marking the boundary. 

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Last updated on November 12, 2019 18:21

Conclusion: Do Rabbits Need Bedding?

So, when it comes to the question, ‘do rabbits need bedding?’ the answer is straw. It is a superior choice. Other ‘bedding’ materials, such as paper, paper mulch, pellets, etc. for other rodents, work far better as litter for a bunny. 

The combination of quality straw bedding and an appropriate litter material are a powerful duo for keeping the cage cozy, fresh and tidy for you and your bunny.