Housing Your Furry Friend, Selecting the Best Rabbit Hutch
There are a tonne of considerations when it comes to rabbit hutch selection. Not only do you have to consider space and dimensions, there is a tonne of other factors to consider. These factors include material, ease of cleaning, escape proofing, running space, feeder and water bottle choice, straw and bedding..the list goes on. We’ve compiled a complete guide to help you select the best rabbit hutch for you and your bunnies needs!
By nature, rabbits are free-moving animals. They like to roam around freely in open spaces. They like grazing on grass for food, at the same time love to have something to chew on. They need ready access to water and an enclosed space for some privacy and darkness and correct feeding dishes. Not to mention you need to understand their nutritional requirements.
It’s imperative to make sure you select an appropriately sized hutch and run. for your intentions as well. You could just be keeping your rabbits as pets, but you could so be a breeder, fancier, have a wool or meat herd..so it’s really important you get the hutches to suit this need.
Another thing to consider is entertainment. Rabbits, much like people get bored, so providing toys is important so your bunny doesn’t get too bored.
If you just have one rabbit, its key to place the hutch in a place you and your others in your house frequent. This way your rabbit won’t feel too alone.
According to CollinsDictionary, by definition, a rabbit hutch is “a cage, usually of wood and wire mesh, for keeping pet domestic rabbits in”. It’s important to realize that this is a cage and we need to remember to make it as hospitable and home-like for a rabbit as we can.
The key difference to look for in rabbit hutches is their height. Rabbits like to stand on their hindquarters a lot more than other small creatures. Therefore it’s key to look at the height of the space rabbits has to run around in. 24″ is recommended for most rabbits, though larger rabbits need more space, which you may struggle to find in the pre-built hutches.
2-Story Hutch Recommendation (clickable)Tangkula 52” Rabbit Hutch
Sizing your hutch is super-duper important, if not the most important step. An undersized hutch will lead to rabbit depression and multiple health issues. Fortunately, calculating rabbit hitch size is simple.
Remember that if you’re replacing a hutch, your rabbit may have grown since you purchased your old hutch so it pays to reweigh and measure them.
The hutch needs to be 24 inches in height unless you have a giant rabbit. If you do have a giant rabbit breed, case you’ll need to make something custom that is at least their upright standing height, feet to ears.
Formula: (weight in lbs)/8*5.
Make sure you have a minimum of 5 square feet for any rabbit, regardless of size.
One way of saving on footprint size is to use a two-story hutch. These hutches feature a ramp that let your bun go ‘upstairs’. It’s important both floors are 24″ tall at a minimum. This is often overlooking in a lot of 2 level rabbit hutch designs.
I’d recommend the 2-story hutch from Tangkula. It’s really solid and looks great. The roof is steeped and pointed in the right direction, you wouldn’t believe how many hutches pour water straight on your rabbits. The ramp has a lining making it anti-slip so your rabbit won’t slip and hurt itself. Magnetic clip doors for easy closing and latches to prevent unwanted visitors.
A rabbit cage, or a rabbit hutch, should be constructed according to some basic standards. They should be of solid construction and shouldn’t wobble around when moved or bumped. It should be made durable, long lasting, and easy to clean.
The wire used to contain them shouldn’t fall apart when touched, and doors should solidly latch and twist shut to prevent rodents accessing the hutch. Any ramps should be solid and have a way for rabbits to get traction. There should be a steeped roof to prevent ingress of water and most importantly it should be the right size.
If placed outside, your rabbit hutch needs to be weather-proof and provide adequate ventilation. It should also have a bedding to keep your pet warm and comfortable. If it freezes over in your area you need a heated water bottle, most rabbits appreciate a heating pad too.
If indoors, a litter training box should also be placed to contain (if possible, by training) all the rabbit body excretions for easy disposal. Barring this, a poop tray that easily slides out goes a long way in aiding to help keep the hutch clean. These typically just slide out and you can put the droppings straight in the garden.
Other essential accessories should also be inside like feeder, water dispenser, and nesting materials and should be cleaned regularly.
Affordable Hutch Recommendation (clickable)Trixie Small Rabbit Hutch
Rabbit Hutches need to be constructed from appropriate, nontoxic wood. The wood should be untreated and unpainted(on the inside). Your bunny is going to be chewing on their cage, even if only a little bit and nasty treatment chemicals like arsenic or copper sulfate are going to lead to a short life for your bunny. Safe woods for construction are:
- apricot (only once it’s been dried over a month minimum)
- bamboo cane
- peach (only once it’s been dried over a month minimum)
Any hutch made from anything but the above timbers should be avoided at all costs.
Rabbit Run Recommendation (clickable)BestPet 72″ x 48″Pet Playpen Rabbit Run
Rabbits need ample exercise in order to maintain good health(just like us humans). Often times the hutch we’re able to provide isn’t large enough for rabbits to get enough space to exercise properly.
Rabbit runs provide an enclosed space for rabbits to hope around and blow off some steam. They’re usually made of coated iron or steel and make a pen for a rabbit to hop and play in. They should be sturdy and able to stand on their own as well as clip shut to stop any unwanted escapes.
So What Do You Do?
In order to compensate for this, you have a couple of options. One is to supervise your rabbit for some outdoor time in a fully enclosed yard. Unless you have trained your rabbit to come on command, having a closed yard is the only way to handle outside time. Rabbits are fast, and you’ll never catch them if they get a bit of wanderlust and decide it’s time to pack their bags and leave.
Rabbits also like to dig burrows, which can mean they can disappear underground making them hard to retrieve, not to mention making themselves vulnerable to predators.
Avoid These Issues By…
To avoid these hangups, the best option is to purchase a rabbit run. Rabbit runs provide a safe, secure place you can let your bun hop around into their heart’s content. You can even align the run to the hutch door or place it surrounding the hutch to give them an indoor-outdoor flow. If you do this though, make sure you live in an area without foxes, stoats, hawks or other predators around. If you do have these predators, you’ll still need to supervise or have a well-trained dog to defend them.
If you’re leaving them in an outdoor pen for an extended period, make sure they have a shelter if they want to escape from the sun, and you’re providing them with food and water not to mention a toy or two to play with.
The run I’d recommend is the 72″ by 48″ from Best Pet. It has a massive 30 square feet run area, meaning there’s plenty of space for your bun to hop around. It also has a totally enclosed top, which prevents predators from entering and hawks/eagles form swooping in and stealing your rabbit. It has a door you can open to let your rabbit in and out, or you could butt it up to your hutch and have a mega rabbit play-land. It also disassembles and packs down flat, so when not in use, it barely takes up any space.
Multiple cases can be made for the flooring of your rabbit hutch. Some people prefer a solid floor for their rabbit hutch, while others prefer a solid all wire rabbit hutch floor. Arguments can be made for either side and it really depends on your personal beliefs.
The argument for wire floors is that they’re hygienic, you don’t have to disturb the rabbit when cleaning, require far less maintenance and you have easier access. The downsides are that they can provide a fair amount of discomfort for rabbits. People often argue that the thick pads on rabbit feet compensate for this discomfort and that it really doesn’t bother them at all. The people who tend to be most in favor of wire floors are meat rabbit breeders as it provides less downside for the final product. If you do go for a wire-floor, you can provide resting board made of an untreated plywood so your rabbit can rest their feet. Wire floors can also prevent escape when used on outdoor hutches on the floor
If going for a solid floor, it pays for it to be a removable plastic or metal tray. This way you can slide it out and clean it with relative ease. It means you don’t have to worry about your rabbits doing any harm to their feet. It can also mean they hop right into their own poo and pee which can lead to foot infections and expensive pet bills. So to avoid this you’ll need to do more regular cleaning as well as check up on and groom you bunny a lot more often.
Wood Shaving Recommendation (clickable)Kaytee Aspen Bedding Bag
Not everybody uses wood shavings, but everyone using solid floors really should. They provide some absorption for any nasties, but also let your rabbits organize their bedding for themselves. Rabbits love to make little beds for themselves, and a combination of straw and approved wood shavings. Pine or aspen shavings work great. Make sure any shavings you get your hands on are safe for pets. Buying in bulk helps too – especially if you’ve got other small critters like chickens, ducks or other small mammals.
Place a layer around one inch thick in the privacy retreat and on the floor of a hutch run if it isn’t placed on grass. Your rabbit will take it from there.
You can usually get wood shavings for free from furniture makers, sawmills and other places that work with a lot of timber. Just make sure you triple check that the shavings are untreated and unpainted. if even a little bit is, then your bunny could get very sick.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to go to a place like that, or don’t have one in your area or don’t want to risk it, you can buy shavings. Usually coming in bulk bags, you can buy shavings from your local pet store or even have them delivered to your door if you purchase from Amazon.
The first factor to consider is size. This is obviously based on your rabbit, and you won’t be able to even compare any hutches without knowing how large of a hutch you need. You can use the formula above to work out the square footage you need. Once you know this, the only other size factor you need to consider is height. It’s safe to go off of 24″ unless you have a large rabbit, in which case, measure their standing height and going off that will be vital. Other times, you’ll need to add a run to give larger rabbits enough room to be happy.
Observe the construction and make sure it’s solid and unpainted(at least on the inside). It needs to be made out of a safe wood (list of safe woods here). All hutches we choose are made out of 100% safe-for-rabbits wood. When you pick up the hutch, open a door or lean on it, it shouldn’t feel as though it’s about to crumble and turn to dust. If it has a second story, make sure there’s a slide-out poop tray for easy cleaning, and the floor doesn’t feel like it’s going to buckle under the weight of your rabbit.
If it’s going to be an indoor hutch, make sure the poop catchment tray has a decent lip – your bunny will be peeing in this too and you don’t want any spillage. It should slide out easily to prevent any sudden jerking motions leading to 3-stooges style slapstick.
If your hutch is going outdoors, the roof is a really important consideration. It should provide great rain coverage and be covered with something like an asphalt wrap or tin – for the fancier among us. The roof shouldn’t be dumping water straight into the hutch either, something that’s surprisingly common.
If you have an un-neutered male rabbit, you’re definitely going to want to keep him outdoors so be sure to pick the best hutch suitable for him and his size. Keep in mind that intact male rabbits spray urine on everything to mark their territory. They’ve got a fair bit of range on them too, so either keep them isolated or keep some sort of barrier between them and other rabbits so they can’t see each other. a sheet of ply typically works best f you have it laying around. That or a sheet of plastic like a fish-bin lid or similar is easier to keep clean though.
We purchased most of our hutches from Amazon. They have a wide selection and ship them straight to you. We were purchasing several at a time when we were building up our rabbit business so the savings we got on Amazon were a great help, especially when buying the rest of the equipment.
I have a fair few of recommendations we can make, but to keep it short we’ve picked out top 3 suitable for most people’s situations.
2 Level Outdoor Hutch
The 62″ Confidence Rabbit hutch is a 2 level hutch suited to both the indoors and out. It has a very spacious 10 square feet of space meaning it can be suitable for up to two, 8 pound or smaller rabbits. The wire mesh walls for the lower level prevent any rodents or predators from entering. It has a lined ramp to access the higher level, the enclosed sleeping area.
The enclosed upper level provides privacy and a good sleeping space. It’s of all wood construction and uses a non-toxic antifungal treatment. It also has a great slide-out tray to make for easy cleaning. The latches featured on the door and double hinged roof work to keep rodents out and your rabbits in. Made of brass so they won’t rust if left outside. High off the ground, it allows rabbits to move underneath, so you’re actually getting more space than the footprint of the hutch.
All of this is under an asphalt roof to keep your rabbits dry. One flaw we do find in the hutch is that the roof overhangs the run underneath, so water winds up pouring down through the mesh and onto the rabbits. But our rabbits tend to hang out under the top floor or in the top floor on rainy days, so it’s not a huge problem. There’s no mesh floor on the bottom of the rabbit run, so if you have a digger this may not be the best, but you can always lay down a feet feet of chicken wire to prevent this is it’s a problem.
Don’t try and paint this hutch unless you sand it right down as the antifungal coat also acts as waterproofing. Paint just bubbles unless you do the sanding.
Premium Compact Footprint Hutch
This hutch from Kaytee is a high end, premium design. Made from quality stained wood, this hutch lasts indoors as well as out. The 2 levels mean that the 4 by 2 feet footprint give you a massive 16 feet of rabbit living space. This is plenty of room for up to 3 bunnies, but I’d really recommend only having 2 rabbits max in this hutch.
The solid construction is built to last through the years, though some assembly is required. You’ll need a few basic tools to help you put this together easily. The only thing we’d recommend is using some wire cutters to open up a slot for a galvanized rabbit feeder so you can conveniently keep your bunny well stocked.
If you keep this hutch indoors on the carpet, the included rubber feet prevent any of the stain leeching into the carpet. It also has a slide out try on the bottom level meaning no droppings will make their way onto the floor.
It does have a wire-floor so it can be a little polarizing for those who don’t like them. Personally, we didn’t have a problem and just left a bit of timber in there as a resting board. We use this hutch as an indoor getaway for our breeding does so we can keep a close eye on them if there are any complications.
If you leave this hutch outdoors, you’ll want to have it in a semi-sheltered place as the open side is not protected by a roof so if the wind blows the rain it, it can be quite unpleasant for your rabbits.
The nest box up top provides a great hideout for your rabbits but we felt it was just a little on the small side for 3 bunnies, hence why we say this is better suited to 2, well-bonded rabbits.
If all this is a little too large for you, you can select one of 3 sizes. The two smaller sizes are best suited to just one rabbit, though the smallest rabbit hutch may be best suited to dwarf breeds only.
Affordable XL Hutch
If providing plenty of room is your concern, this XL 70″ Long Hutch from Merax is the perfect solution.
Provides a fully covered 11 an a half square feet of space, not including the upper level(approx 14 square feet with the top room). You can rest assured your rabbit will have plenty of room to run around all the while staying dry under the full run asphalt roof.
Made from quality fir, this rabbit hutch is naturally water resistant, though an additional non toxic anti-fungal stain is applied to the outside to give it extra durability. The asphalt roof could use a little bit of work, but its still great value for the price. We actually ran a bit of sealant around the joins to help give it a bit more lifespan.
The upper level of course has a slide-out tray to make for easy cleaning, its also pretty large so your rabbit can really make themselves at home and stretch out if they need to. It also has two access ramps, which can cause a little bit of draft, but also prevents the air from becoming stagnant so a bit of a double edged sword.
The open bottom lets rabbits nibble on any fresh grass it is placed on. Moving it around was a little bit of a pain and will require two people. It was a little rickety when lifting it, but if you’re careful and lift from the bottom, it isn’t a problem. You could put some bracing across the bottom if you’re so inclined and that will fix this issue right up.
>> View Amazon by Clicking Here < <
To maximize space and efficiency, you need to consider what kind of layout you’re going to give your bunnies. For example, mounting your feeder in a spot where water gets into it will lead to soggy and spoiled food which will result in a sick bunny.
Your feeder should be a through hutch galvanized feeder. These should have a cover on the external hopper and be mounted in a covered spot in your hutch. Doing this will obviously ensure it stays dry and fresh.
A Screen bottom is also helpful to filter out unhealthy dust that can lead to respiratory and digestive problems. Having a means of catching this would also be helpful to prevent dust dropping onto the floor.
Waters already wet, so mounting it in a wet area isn’t a problem, but keeping it in a spot clear of the sun can keep it fresher as it will prevent algae growth. It also should be kept relatively close to food as dry hay and pellets can and will make your rabbits thirsty.
Having a large, self-stopping Water Bottle is key too. If you are leaving them a lot of the day you want to make sure they don’t run out of the water, and the water isn’t dripping into the bottom of the hutch, leading to rancid droppings.
A hay manger is another consideration. You should place this as close to the privacy/nesting box as possible. Often times rabbits like to pull hay to nibble on or take them to make a little bed out of. If hay gets wet at all, its time to change it…and replace where it is as it should be in a covered spot.
You can also keep the hay manger a good distance from the pellets to both encourage a more interesting environment and to promote a variety in their diet. If hay and pellets are close to each other, rabbits will tend to eat one over the other, which isn’t so great for their digestive health.
Fruit and veggies should be placed near the hay, the fiber form the hay will help them digest fruit and vegetables. These should be placed on the ground of the hutch near the hay manger. You could also move the hay manger and veggie placement around every few days. This will encourage them to eat the vegetables and explore a bit more, keeping this a bit more interesting for them.
Hiding Treats around the hutch is also a good idea, it encourages your rabbit to hunt around, which is a great way to satiate their curiosity. We only opt for pre-approved rabbit treats or ones we bake ourselves.
Having a variety of toys around the hutch is also important, we like to provide a ball for our rabbits to play with, as well as a couple of chew toys. Swapping these out keeps things interesting for our rabbit so they don’t always have the same things to do all the time.
If picking a chew toy, avoid nut-based nibblers, these are actually really unhealthy for rabbits. It’s best to stick to twigs and branches of approved wood. This ensures natural behavior, it’s cheap and lets you mix it up relatively easily.
It sounds a little over the top but the placement of all the above can really lead to a healthier rabbit and more interesting environment. You’ve to remember that they’re in a relatively small space so changing it up and having proper placement can make it a heck of a lot more interesting.
A rabbit hutch should always be placed on level ground. Imagine living your entire life on a hill! Not only is this best for the rabbits’ health, joints and peace of mind, it also means that the hutch isn’t going to tip and roll over. An Event like this could endanger your rabbits’ life.
Rabbits are also active and social creatures. They’ll need a way to interact with you if they’re on their own, or obviously, a buddy to hang out with if they aren’t. One common misconception is that rabbits can live with guinea pigs, chinchillas or other small creatures. They can not, we call it a rabbit hutch for a reason. All small furry creatures have different social structures and thus must live with their own kind.
When choosing a location indoors, it’s important to consider what surface it will be placed on, if on carpet or linoleum/vinyl, you need a way to divide your bunny from the flooring material. They can and will chow on this and most, if not all floorings are going to make your bunny very, very sick. This also goes for floorboards, rabbits love to nibble on wood and you’re going to have a hole in your floor in no time if no covering is provided. There are a couple of solutions. Placing down some kind of sheet or board will help with open bottom hutches. untreated ply is recommended, and several sheets will make them easy to replace if you need to.
The second option to buy a hutch with leg stands. If doing this make sure you use furniture cups to prevent any stain from the hutch leeching down onto your flooring – which would otherwise leave permanent marks. Leg stands mean the floor is separated from the surface the hutch is placed on. Which is really far more optimal than placing covering down on your indoor floor
The other consideration is placement, rabbit hutches probably shouldn’t really be in your living room, both for health and noise reasons. Rabbits like quiet environments so having them in a hallway or a frequented by quiet room is ideal. You want to make sure your rabbits get to see you fairly often as this will help them familiarize themselves with you and also remind you to check on and play with your rabbit frequently. If you’re house-training your bun, having an open door policy on a rabbit hutch is a great arrangement. They’ll make their way around the house and be where they want to be comfortable – probably around you! House training is a big undertaking though, so make sure it’s right for you.
Rabbits naturally prefer to be outside, fresh air, sunshine a cool breeze – sounds great. Until it isn’t. Freezing temperatures, hail, rain, snow, blasting winds and sun exposure are all factors to consider. When your rabbit hutch is outdoors, your bunny can’t escape if it needs to get out of the weather(Except for its private retreat box), so it’s important to remember that things left in the sun get hot, and uninsulated boxes get cold.
If you have a barn or shed that doesn’t get too hot in the sun, your rabbit hutch could be placed in there. Rabbits do need sun daily too, so you can’t just leave them in there and forget about them though. You’ll need to take them out to play in the sun daily so they can get their dose of Vitamin D.
A well-sheltered place in your yard is an ideal spot for a rabbit hutch. Best placed against a building or your house, with ample grass underneath for them to nibble on. They should be near a path you frequent as well, that way you get to interact with them as much as possible. You’ll need to keep your rabbit protected from pests, predators, and rodents as well. Rabbit Hutch door latches will usually do a good job of this, but if you have some particular crafty rodents, then it pays to put a padlock on the hutch doors – some opossums and raccoons are able to open latches up remember.
Whatever your Situation…
Wherever you choose to put your rabbit hutch, you need to exercise common sense. Putting your rabbit in the middle of a sandbox would obviously be silly, as would putting it on a steep hill. Choose your location carefully and consider the well being of you bunny before making any decisions.
Apart from a good, quality Rabbit hutch, bunnies also need the proper equipment to eat and drink from as well as play with. You need to consider a feeder, water bottle, hay manger, and toys, as well as a nesting box if you’re planning on breeding your bun.
Selection of quality accessories will ensure the health and well being of your rabbit as well as save on costs in the long run in the way of vet bills and replacement of vital accessories.
Feeder Recommendation (clickable)Little Giant Galvanized Rabbit Feeder
One of the most important decisions, a feeder is a key component to any rabbit hutch. You should be opting for a through-wall hopper galvanized rabbit feeder. One mistake people often make is putting a bowl of food in for their rabbits. Bowls get tipped, spilled pooped in and more. Instead, having a robust feeder mounted through the wall of your hutch is going to save you a lot of hassle and heartache.
Being able to fill these form the outside is another plus. A lidded hopper makes for easy filling while keeping the feed secure and dry. If you have multiple rabbits a wide feeder will let rabbits eat from them at the same time, preventing arguments.
Being made of Galvanized Sheet Metal is a must as it will stop your rabbits from excessively chewing, meaning one feeder will last you a lifetime. No chewing also means that only feed is going through their system, instead of plastic which is all-too-often used in lesser feeders and in bowls.
The Little Giant 7″ Rabbit Feeder mounts through the wall of your hutch and securely clips on, meaning it won’t fall off and leave an escape hole for your rabbit.
Water Bottle Recommendation (clickable)Lixit All-Weather Water Bottle
All life on our beautiful plant needs water to survive, form the cacti in the desert, to the deer that live in our forests. Rabbits are no exception, unlike their wild counterparts, domestic rabbits have the luxury of our protection and care. Using specifically designed water bottles, we’re able to provide fresh water straight from the tap for our furry friends.
Rabbits obviously can’t turn the tap on an fill up a glass, so instead, we provide them with water bottles. With specially designed nozzles, rabbit water bottles are capable of storing a relatively large amount of water for rabbits to drink form at will. These are optimal when compared to water bowls, which get peed and pooped in, and are bound to tip over at any given moment with one poorly placed hop.
We prefer to use a larger bottle just in case we get busy and cant get to our rabbits to refill their water. A metal stem is key as rabbits love to nibble on plastics, which will easily ruin any good water bottle, not to mention be a detriment to your rabbits’ health and digestion. We opt to change our rabbits’ water every second or third day, which is OK, but ideally, every day would be best.
While we aren’t a fan of plastic on the homestead, if we ever have to use it(like with water bottles) we opt for BPA free plastic. We also like UV stable – all-weather plastic where it’s inside or out, as this tends to be the safest and most durable.
Be sure to place the water bottle in a spot out of the sun as this can encourage algae growth in some water sources, particularly in you’re on tank water.
Hay Manger Recommendation (clickable)WARE Hay Feeder with Free Salt Lick
Hay mangers are a bit of an optional accessory, but we like to include them in any hutch, They serve the purpose of keeping hay up on the ground and providing one other place for your rabbit to frequent and nibble of some alfalfa or timothy hay.
When choosing a hay manger, it’s vital you grab a metal one. Plastic hay mangers get chewed up and eaten, leading to sick bunnies. Place hay mangers close to the privacy box so rabbits can pull a little extra out if they want to add to their bedding and also on the sheltered side so the hay doesn’t get exposed to weather and rain.
Be sure to replace the hay on a regular basis to ensure good health and nutrition in your rabbit.
Rabbit Toy Recommendation (clickable)SunGrow Coconut Fiber Ball for Rabbits
Toys are an often overlooked necessity. All creatures get bored and rabbits are no exception. We like to provide some twigs for our rabbits to nibble on, as well as a ball to play with, we have a couple of different balls per rabbits, so we swap them around to keep things interesting.
The twigs and branches provide new things to sniff and explore and well as varying tastes. We’ve see nut nibblers on the market but these should be avoided. They’re actually really bad for your rabbits’ health, especially the coloring. Rabbits don’t really eat nuts so having these as ‘toys’ seems pretty silly.
We prefer balls make of safe to eat materials like “Peters Woven Grass Ball”, which is a little tough to get at the time of writing (click here to check availability). Another one that we’re tried in the SunGrow coconut fiber ball. Just as good and the rabbits don’t chew it as much, but the fronds tend to stick out after a while. Also, you can see the glue in some parts on some balls, which we refuse to use. Most of the time, these balls work great.
Another added benefit is they aid in dental health, so that’s another upside to these toys. Our buns love rolling balls around their pens by putting their front paws on the balls and push themselves along with their back legs.
Wood Shaving Recommendation (clickable)Kaytee Aspen Bedding Bag
Often under-used, these vital shavings let your rabbit make a bed for themselves. Make sure you use shavings approved for animal use. We use pine or aspen shavings, whatever we can get from our local sources.
If you’re picking wood shavings up from a local source like a sawmill or furniture maker, make sure they’re from untreated, unpainted wood. Failure to do this will lead to rabbit illness.
You can buy large bales of these from pet suppliers too – so you know they’re a perfect fit. Not only are they great for rabbits, but work well for a plethora of other small critters, like chicken nesting boxes, guinea pig houses, and duck pens.
A layer of 1 Inch is typically enough. you rabbits are going to rake it up to make little beds for themselves anyway.
Nesting Box Recommendation (clickable)WARE Wooden Nesting Box
These are really only necessary to put in your rabbit hutch if you’ll be breeding your rabbit, or have an accidental pregnancy and want to ensure a safe delivery of your bunnys’ kits.
You’ll need a box with all wood or wire construction, big enough for your rabbit to sit in with a bit to spare. Sit the nesting box in the privacy box of your rabbit hutch and place a layer of approved wood shavings in the base. Litter some straw around the nesting box and your future mom bun will do the rest. She’ll pick up the straw from around the rabbit hutch(hay manger too!) and add it to the box, pull hair from her crop and combine all these to make a cost, well-insulated bed to rear her young in.
We opted for the WARE Wooden Nesting Box. They’re made of all safe wood, are sturdy and will fit more rabbits(unless you have a giant breed). The walls are high enough to prevent kits jumping out to young thereby minimizing deaths.
Most hutches available will be made out of non-toxic wood with an anti-fungal waterproof coating that’s safe for small rabbits. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to add your own flare to the hutch. If you’re going to paint, you should use a safe, nontoxic water-based paint, and ONLY paint the outside. The inside should be left in its normal state.
Rabbits love to chew and like to add a few touches of their own. These will come in the form of bite marks nearly everywhere. The last thing you’ll want is for your rabbit to be nibbling down on paint.
Paint Recommendation (clickable)Mythic Non-Toxic Paint
Before painting, ensure you sand the timber right down Start with a rough grit, such as #80 Aluminium Oxide sandpaper, then with a finer grit, such as #320 silicon dioxide. This will create a smooth and fine finish that will stand the test of time while removing the stain that’s already soaked in. Failing to remove the stain will cause the paint to bubble.
When starting painting, apply a water-based primer first. Once cured(1-2 days), sand again lightly with #300 sandpaper, before applying 2 top coats of your color of choice, again, waterbased. Allow 1-2 days between coats and sand in-between each one.
Never paint when your rabbit is living in the hutch, the fumes from the paint curing can be very, very harmful.
All in all, it isn’t necessary to paint most purchased rabbit hutches, but it definitely adds to the aesthetic and life of the hutch.
Rabbit hutches are a key part of keeping rabbits. No matter what your intention is with rabbit keeping, a hutch plays a vital role in rabbit ownership and well being. There are a few pitfalls to avoid such as toxic wood, incorrect placement, choosing the right accessories and sizing.
Rabbits are living creatures and require their needs to be satisfied by us providing them. Choosing all the right equipment and making sure you learn as much as you possibly can will lead to a healthy and happy bunny. Now that you know all you need to know to select and set up a hutch it’s time to get out there and apply that knowledge.
The best place to get hutches at the best price is Amazon. You can also check out any of our recommendations above. Remember that choosing a rabbit hutch is only one of the first steps in rabbit ownership – but an all-important one. After choosing your hutch you still need to make sure you have a firm understanding of your rabbits’ needs, be sure to check out my mini-book length article on rabbit food and nutrition here.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know (about your rabbit hutch or rabbits in general), please as in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you. If you just wanted to say hi, be sure to do so in the comments as well. Thanks for reading!
Tags: Best Rabbit Hutch, Bun, Bunny, Hutch, Pet, Rabbit, Rabbit House, Small Animal Hutch