In days gone by, people kept rabbits in a small hutch in the garden and only allowed them out to exercise during the day when it suited the owner.
However, we now realize, that keeping rabbits locked in a small environment can be detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.
A rabbit cage should be large enough that the rabbit can lay flat and stretched out as well as being high enough for him to stand on his hing legs. According to the Rabbit Welfare Association, a cage should be 6ft x 2ft x 2ft to comfortably allow the rabbit to move around. However, if you are keeping more than one rabbit in the same enclosure, the size should be increased.
Choosing the correct home for your rabbit will ensure that he remains in excellent health and does not suffer from boredom, anxiety or depression.
As well as finding a cage that is large enough, you must also provide a comfortable and safe environment as well as plenty of exercise like an Outdoor Rabbit run
How Much Space Does A Rabbit Need?
Rabbits are very active animals and need a lot of room to move around. While they do require a cozy and comfortable place to sleep, hide, and relax, it is vital that they are allowed out of their enclosure for at least two hours each day to stretch their legs.
The rabbit cage can be kept indoors or outdoors depending on what space you have and whether you would like your rabbit to be a house bunny or an outdoor pet.
Either will work well. The Rabbit Welfare Association recommends that rabbit hutches or cages are no smaller than 6 feet in length, 2 feet in width, and 2 feet in height.
This large size means that the rabbit can complete as many as three hops in any direction, giving him plenty of room ro move around.
In the wild, rabbits may have as much as 20 acres of uninterrupted space to freely roam and play. Of course, many pet owners do not have this kind of available space but allowing the rabbit to run around the home or garden can be just as sufficient.
If you have an enclosed garden that the rabbit cannot escape from, it is possible for you to allow him to roam free. However, owners should beware that rabbits have a natural tendency to dig and if left unsupervised may attempt to dig under fences, walls, and bushes.
In any event, an Outdoor Rabbit run will keep your bunnies safe while allowing them the exercise that they need. It is recommended that a rabbit run be at least 8ft x 4ft.
These are incredibly active animals that will quickly become bored without the right mental and physical stimulation.
When living in the home, rabbits can have free access to all areas provided that they have first been bunny-proofed. If you have space, you can dedicate an entire room to your rabbits, giving them all the space they need to move around freely. Of course, a cage will still be necessary for sleeping and feeling safe.
Cage vs Hutch
Rabbits can be kept in either a metal barred cage with a plastic base or a wooden rabbit hutch, which is the more traditional option.
Both types of enclosures are perfectly suitable for your furry friends, however, a hutch is typically better for outdoor rabbits whereas a cage works well for bunnies kept in the home.
A cage should not be used outside as it will not provide your rabbit with enough protection from the elements. Rabbits do quite well in cooler conditions and will happily remain in an outdoor hutch down to freezing.
However, in the heat of summer, these animals are exceptionally prone to heatstroke and dehydration, which can lead to death.
That said, even when using a hutch, owners should make sure that the enclosure is placed correctly. While it is OK to have part of the hutch in sunlight, particularly if there is an attached run, there should be a good portion that remains in a shaded area all day. If you can place the entire enclosure in the shade, this is the best option.
Moreover, the hutch should be protected from draughts. If the weather become very bad, you may wish to move the hutch into an outbuilding such as a shed or garage which will give that additional layer of protection to your pet.
Other Cage Considerations
As we have mentioned, your rabbit’s cage should be large enough for him to stand up without touching his head on the roof. It should also be long enough for him to stretch out and move around.
But since rabbits are naturally underground animals, there is also the issue of giving them somewhere to hide.
For the most part, a separate room or compartment is ideal. But if this is not possible, you can install a small rabbit house which can be filled with bedding and your bun will feel safe inside.
Owners should also make sure that their rabbit has everything they need inside the cage including an area for feeding, a litter tray and lots of toys to keep them entertained.
You will likely find that the cages and hutches found in pet stores are relatively small but there is nothing stopping you from creating your own enclosure.
This can be done using wood or square made from metal bars which can be joined together to create a bespoke cage.
Whatever type of enclosure you choose, it is important to make sure that the base is smooth. Rabbits have delicate feet that can be affected by a condition known as pododermatitis, which causes sores on the feet as a result of walking on uneven or hard floors.
Rabbits may be relatively small animals but they need a lot of room to move around. For this reason, it is important to buy a cage or hutch that is large enough to keep your rabbit comfortable.
In addition to this, you will need to provide your pet with a rabbit run or free roam of an area for daily exercise.