There’s no doubt that rabbits (and guinea pigs) can make fantastic family pets in most situations. One of the most important things to consider when buying a new rabbit is getting the right hutch, which is why we’ve created this guide on how to choose a rabbit hutch.
In general, pet owners who care about the wellbeing of their pet already know the basics of what makes a good rabbit hutch. It’s the specifics that often cause difficulties. You can find a lot of tutorials on how to build a rabbit hutch online. Most potential pet owners realize that a rabbit needs a reasonable amount of space but working out exactly how much is needed often causes problems.
Indoor Or Outdoor Rabbit Hutches
One of the great things about rabbits is that they can live indoors and outdoors. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so it’s something that needs to be considered carefully.
If you decide to keep your rabbit indoors, then there are a variety of cages available. It’s important that the cage has enough airflow, without being in direct sunlight. If you plan on training your rabbit to roam the house unsupervised then it’s essential to do this slowly and make sure that ALL wires and any other dangerous items are out of reach or protected. In general, it’s best to supervise your rabbit at all times when on the loose in the house. Rabbits are naturally inquisitive – if they can chew it they will.
Outdoor rabbit hutches need to be strong to keep out predators. They also need to provide shelter from the elements and enough space for your rabbit to stay healthy.
Size Of A Rabbit Hutch
The size of a rabbit hutch is probably the most important factor when choosing a new home for your rabbit. All rabbits, regardless of size or breed, need a lot of exercise to stay healthy. The best way for them to get this exercise is to provide a large rabbit hutch in which they can run around when they want. This shouldn’t replace exercise time in a run, however, as that’s also important for health.
The RSPCA provides information on choosing rabbit hutches, and unfortunately it states that many hutches and cages aren’t suitable for rabbits. Originally, rabbit hutches were designed as a cheap way of keeping rabbits that were meant for eating. The goal of these small hutches was to “fatten up” the rabbit by limiting exercise and stretching. For this reason it’s essential to get a hutch that isn’t based on these outdated principles and instead provides enough space for the rabbit to live healthily.
There are no minimum dimensions provided by the RSPCA at the moment, but the more space you can provide your rabbit the better.
The minimum requirements for a living area (i.e. the shelter where room for exercise is provided separately) are that the rabbit can stand up without touching the roof, can lie fully outstretched in all directions, turn around without problems and hop consecutively without reaching the other side of the hutch.