Pet rabbits need to be able to run around to keep fit and healthy just like wild rabbits do, so creating an environment that allows them to this is vitally important.
Traditional small hutches are effectively only a sleeping space for your rabbit; a larger run is required so that your rabbit can choose when they want to go and stretch their legs. Hutches should be weather-proof, predator-proof and draught-free with lots of bedding to keep them warm in colder temperatures. In extremely cold temperatures it is worth considering moving your hutch into a shed or garage if possible, but also allowing space for them to exercise as well. In the warmer times of the year ensure that the hutch and/or run is in a shady area to avoid your rabbit getting too hot.
A rabbit’s sleeping area should be:
- tall enough for them to stand on their back legs and stretch
- long enough for them to use three hops to get from end to the other
- wide enough so that they can lie down and stretch fully in each direction
If you have more than one rabbit then these tips apply to all the rabbits that are going to be in that sleeping area.
Despite being social creatures, rabbits sometimes need their own space too; so ensure that there are separate sleeping chambers if possible if you have more than one rabbit. These might not be used for sleeping, they might just provide a little respite from their housemates when required.
Rabbits are very clean pets and spend a lot of time grooming themselves and their housemates; this means that their hutch should be cleaned regularly and well-ventilated to avoid a build-up of flies. Leaving some of the bedding behind after each clean can be useful as it will smell familiar and provide reassurance to your rabbits. Cleaning the toilet area every day is really important.
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