When people think of housing a pet rabbit many think of a hutch similar to the one below.
Not surprising considering that this is what you see in most pet shops. However Rabbits have complex needs that need to be realised in order for them to have the most enriching lifestyle they possibly can. Also, rabbits that are happy in their environment will be happy around you, which in turn means your bunny relationship will thrive!
So, what is the best housing for your rabbits? Well when it comes to this there are many options to consider.
“A traditional small hutch should not be the sole and permanent home of any rabbit as it will not meet the rabbit’s need for exercise and stimulation. The RSPCA recommends that rabbit housing comprises a living enclosure containing a main shelter, with additional hiding places and enrichment.” From ‘Rabbit Housing’ RSPCA COMPANION ANIMALS PET CARE FACTSHEET. To read the full article click here
When housing rabbits outdoors you need to ensure they are protected from harsh winter weather and hot summer days. Rabbits do not cope well with extreme changes in temperature. This is due to the fact that their natural habitat is largely underground in warrens and tunnels. The earth acts as an insulator so temperature changes are less dramatic in the wild.
There are a number of ways we can help to reduce the stress of extreme weather conditions.
Other things to consider:
This hutch is far too small, it has no weatherproofing, no locks, no attached run and is sat on the ground!
Here are some options to think about:
A shed attached to a run can be a brilliant rabbit home. You can add shelves for your bunnies to jump onto and you can sit in their even if its pouring down with rain and spend time with them.
A playhouse and run. This is a smaller perhaps less intrusive way of housing rabbits rather than using a shed. You can still add shelves and toys but its not as bulky. You can see below that a playhouse can make quite a pretty feature in your garden! Also why not use a catflap as entry into the run!
A dog kennel and run or cattery. Similar idea to a shed and run but can be bought as one item so less construction yourself. Great to sit inside with the bunnies -
A hutch and run. Keeping in mind the minimum square footage this can still provide what your rabbits need, as we know not everyone can get a shed or playhouse in the garden. This is a 3ft high hutch, so the buns have loads of space to stretch up as high as they want. Don’t forget to ask for custom made sizes, our recommended suppliers will make to measure.
A garage with cat flap to run. Garages make an excellent starting point to build accommodation that is outdoors but with many benefits of indoors, particularly if your central heating boiler is housed in there as it will keep the temperature above freezing. Just make sure there is a source of natural light such as a door with a large window in, and constant access to an outdoor run.