What size is suitable?
Whether your rabbits live indoors or out the rule on size is the same. As much as possible and never less than an absolute minimum of a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch with a permanently attached 8ft x 6ft x 2ft. run for outdoor rabbits and the equivalent space if your rabbits live indoors, but instead of using a hutch indoors you can provide quiet areas for your rabbits to retreat to. If you are closing your rabbits in for any length of time you need to adhere to the minimum hutch sizes.
Its worth noting here that there are not currently ANY indoor cages on the market that meet these specifications. Many people use XL dog crates or create set ups using Nic cubes.
Don’t be confused by a rabbits size, many small rabbits can be more active than larger ones. One thing to always keep in mind is that bigger is better!
Why is accommodation size so misunderstood?
Sadly education about rabbit welfare has not grown as fast as their popularity as pets. Rabbits are the 3rd most popular pet in the UK and the most abused. The RSPCA will be bringing out minimum legal housing requirements during 2013. Dont wait for legislation, do it today for your rabbits.
Why is size such an issue?
Rabbits are highly active, playful, social, inquisitive, intelligent creatures. Their natural behaviour involves, running, periscoping, digging and foraging. Rabbits have powerful back legs - designed to run and jump! They need a suitable environment in which to do this, and the first priority is space.
Imagine being locked in a room where you cant stand up fully, only just have enough room to stretch out and walking let alone running is impossible…. Thats how a rabbit feels in a small hutch.
To give you an idea…. This rabbit hutch above measures 8ft x 3ft. The owner has placed a ‘standard shop bought’ hutch inside to give an idea of the difference. One is a home and one is a prison. See below, indoor rabbits need space too.
“The RSPCA believes the traditional husbandry method of keeping rabbits permanently confined in small hutches is totally inappropriate for the long-term housing of rabbits kept as pets.”