Rabbits are unique creatures that require extensive care, love, and dedication. While cuddly and adorable, adopting a rabbit and giving them an enriching and healthy life can be a lot of work! This is nothing anyone can't handle, as long as you are properly educated and motivated to give the very best life to your furry friend:)
It is recommended that the minimum sized indoor habitat for one rabbit is 16 square feet, with three feet of vertical length to allow your rabbit to stand on their hind legs and be able to stretch towards the ceiling or top of an enclosure. Housing rabbits indoors (with exceptions for supervised outside playtime) is very important. Statistically, rabbits who live outdoors live shorter lives, and are at risk for many more viruses, parasites, and bacterial infections in comparison to their indoor-living friends. Rabbits are also extremely sensitive to temperature, with the lowest tolerable temperature of about 40 degrees F, and the highest temperature of around 80 degrees F. It is incredibly important when adopting bunnies to consider your methods of cooling and heating your home. Do you have air conditioning, fans, heaters available? Etc.
Check out these wonderful examples of enriching rabbit enclosures down below!
Note that in each of the selected pictures (courtesy of multiple unnamed posters) that each bunny pen is tall enough to prevent them from hopping over, meets the square footage requirements (or better, exceeds them!), has multiple forms of enrichment, clean water, hay, and a litter box. There are infinite ways you can create a wonderful bun-home! Or maybe a whole bun room, which is featured above :)
All commercially available "rabbit cages" or hutches sold online or in pet stores are extremely small and confining for rabbits. Our rule of thumb is to use those small plastic cages and deconstruct them into litter boxes! It's a creative way to repurpose old rabbit cages that are way too tiny!
Litters and Litter Box Training
Did you know that rabbits can be litter box trained just like dogs and cats? These intelligent creatures can use their own personal potty box with absolutely no issue at all, and learn incredibly fast. That being said, there are certain things you can do for your rabbit during potty training to set them up for success. The size of the litter box and the type of shavings used is important!
We like to provide our bunnies with a plastic litter box (we find trays at local supermarkets and repurpose them) that they can easily hop in and turn around in every direction. Rabbits like to poop and pee while they are eating, so to promote the use of a litter box, we clip their hay up in baskets hanging above the box, or form a convenient and large pile of hay in the edge of the box.
Certain types of litters and shavings for potty boxes can be harmful to rabbits such as
dyed and scented papers
unbleached and unscented recycled paper bedding
timothy hay (although this doesn't absorb very well)
We have found the most success with lining boxes with at least an inch of bedding after they are cleaned and disinfected every morning. Natural bedding can be dumped in the yard debris, saving you space in the trash can. It's important to clean and refill litter boxes on a consistent and timely basis to avoid buildup of ammonia, or bacteria that would otherwise cause infections.
Some bunnies love to chill in their litter boxes too! Make sure to keep an eye on them and make sure they aren't snacking on the hay that they poop and pee on if you choose to line your boxes with hay.
Browsing crowded pet-store aisles for appropriate rabbit toys can be a daunting task. With little to no regulation for the safety of the animal, pet stores can be chalked full of toys that can actually be a danger to your rabbit.
What we avoid:
Toys that are dyed
Toys made from unnatural fabrics or materials that a bunny could ingest
Toys with fine fabrics or threads that can pose a choking or blockage hazard
Toys we use:
Organic apple branch chews (great for the teeth!)
Un-dyed wood chews
Natural pinecones chews
Any kind of hay toy you could think of
Toilet paper roll hay stuffs
Baby play stacking cups (for pellets)
We hope this can help make shopping for the new addition to your family a little bit easier for you.
Exercise pens (at least 36" tall)
example- Order on Chewy
Litter box (may need multiple)
Generally, larger litter boxes are better, even for smaller bunnies!
example- Order on Amazon
For multiple bunnies, it is best to buy hay in larger quantities. Fresh timothy hay is usually recommended as the best kind of hay for bunnies, but orchard hay, and oat hay can also be used. Do not buy alfalfa hay for any bunny under 6 months old, it is too high calorie and too calcium rich.
example- Order on Chewy
We always purchase oxbow rabbit pellets for our bunnies, but Sherwood Pet Health also carries a good veterinary recommended rabbit pellet. Avoid pellets labelled "fiesta mix" or ones that contain dyed particles, wheat, corn, fats and oils, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Order Oxbow Adult Rabbit pellets
5. Water bowls
Rabbits hydrate themselves best with water bowls. A sturdy ceramic or glass bowl is best to prevent them from tipping over if the bunny puts their front paws on the bowl.
6. Blankets, toys, and places to hide!
Every bunny deserves a comfortable place to hide in their setup if they want some privacy. Un-laminated and plain cardboard boxes works great for this. They can also safely chew on cardboard homes! Stick to shorter fiber blankets for them or even quilts in case they decide to nibble. This is safest for preventing gastrointestinal blockages. Natural chews, such as hay balls, are favorites for most bunnies in regards to toys.
7. Underneath/ flooring for your exercise pen.
We like to buy and cut linoleum to use for underneath our exercise pens. This makes any potential spills of accidents easy to clean. Hay is very easy to sweep off of linoleum. Baby play mats (foam) are also a great choice as long as your bunny isn't a chewer. Make sure that if your flooring is carpeted that it is regularly vaccumed to avoid excessive hair and dust accumulation.