Sadly, many hutches are much too small for rabbits and don't give these pets the active life they should. Here's our vets' advice on making sure your rabbits have the room they need:
The right hutch
Your rabbit should have a safe and secure hutch. This will give them a place to shelter and sleep.
Sadly, a lot of rabbits live in hutches that are too small for them and this can lead them putting on weight and developing health problems.
A good rabbit hutch will be:
- A place to shelter, not their only living space. Your rabbit should also have access to the great outdoors in a secure run.
- As big as possible. As a minimum, it should be at least 2 feet high, 2 feet wide and 6 feet long. In rabbit measurements, that’s big enough for them to lie down and stretch out in all directions, tall enough so they can stand up on their back legs without their ears touching the top, and long enough to allow at least three full hops.
- Big enough for the food, toilet and sleeping areas to be kept apart.
- Weatherproof and raised off the ground.
- Lined with newspaper or clean woodshavings, with bedding hay on top. The sleeping area should be lined with clean, dry hay or straw.
An exercise run for happy rabbits
In the wild, rabbits have a home territory the size of 30 tennis courts! We might not be able to give our pet rabbits that much space to roam around in but they should have access to a large run. This will give them the space they need to stretch, hop, and play. We recommend placing their run on a large, grassy area to make sure they get enough exercise.
Your rabbit’s run should be:
- Escape-proof and safe from predators.
- Out of direct sunlight and strong winds. Make sure your rabbits have a shady area.
- Attached to their hutch so that the rabbits can exercise whenever they want.
- Tall enough that your rabbits can stretch up to their full height and spacious enough that they can run, rather than just hop. We recommend that your rabbits run should be 3 feet high, 6 feet wide and 8 feet long.
Keeping your rabbit’s clean
Everyone likes a nice, clean home and rabbits are no exception. Keep everything in tip top condition by giving it a quick tidy every day and a deep clean every month or two.
Give your rabbit’s hutch a quick tidy each day to:
- Clean away any wet or dirty shavings or bedding.
- Throw out any fruit or veg that hasn’t been eaten.
- Give food and water containers a good scrub before refilling them.
Clean the hutch more thoroughly once a week to keep it clean and hygienic. Remove and replace all bedding and hay.
You should give your rabbits’ hutch a deep clean every month or two:
- Strip everything out.
- Scrub it thoroughly inside and out with a pet-safe cleaner.
- Replace all their bedding and line the hutch with fresh hay or straw.
- Only let your rabbits back in when it is completely dry.