A rabbit hutch is, in a sense, the home or room of a rabbit. Since the animals will spend a large part of their lives in the hutch, it should meet certain requirements for workmanship and quality. You can build hutches yourself or buy ready-made, and here you can choose between models made of wood and plastic.
- find the right rabbit hutch for your own animals.
The rabbit hutch is the place where your animals can retreat. It should be built sufficiently large. Despite the hutch, rabbits should get regular exercise so that they can move around a lot. The hutch is filled with bedding, straw and hay, so the floor surface must be easy to clean. So, especially for homemade hutches, you need to think carefully here about what kind of floor tiles you want to use and whether you want to line it with a protective sheet – pond liner is a good choice.
Build rabbit hutch yourself or buy?
You can find a variety of rabbit hutches online and at specialty retailers that will provide reliable service for you and your animals. Classic hutches are plastic trays, which are completely surrounded by a lattice cage. But in the field of wooden cages, you can also buy ready-made models, which you only need to put in the rabbit room. An alternative is to build your own hutch, which is especially useful for larger footprints and for outdoor rabbit hutches. However, for many households it is sufficient to buy a ready-made rabbit hutch, and regularly release the animals in the room or the entire apartment.
- what materials you can choose
Choosing the right wood
The type of wood is not particularly important, as long as the wood is sturdy and thick enough to prevent the rabbits from breaking out. Most prefabricated hutches are worked in sufficient stability, so you do not have to worry about this. If the wood has been processed, the agents used must not endanger the health of the animals. In the case of homemade hutches, you must also pay attention to whether and what glue you use or whether nails or screws protrude from the wood.
Is plastic an alternative?
Some owners also like to use plastic walls to close off their rabbit hutch to one side. In principle, this is not a problem at first, as long as the animals cannot get to the corners and edges. Otherwise, there is a risk that they will gnaw on the plastic.
The hutch should be provided with a proper wire or cage. A hutch that consists only of solid walls is not recommended and is not good for the animals. You should definitely use a proper rabbit wire if you build a hutch yourself. There should be no sharp ends sticking out from the wire into the interior, which you should also check with ready-made hutches before buying.
3) What characteristics must a rabbit hutch have?
A rabbit hutch should definitely include a place to retreat to. This can be, for example, one or more hutches. Short tubes and play tunnels are also a possibility to provide hiding places. A rabbit hutch should have one or two sides that are opaque to make the animals feel more secure. Alternatively, you can place a hutch with one side against a wall or right in the corner of a room.
The hutch should be large enough for the animals to move around in it sufficiently. Of course, this does not replace the regular exercise of the rabbits. If you do not have so much space available, you can choose a hutch with several floors. Through them, the rabbit hutch gets a larger area.
The hutch should not endanger the health of the animal. Cheapest hutches sometimes have unhealthy chemicals or are not well made. Bars must not extend inside and, ideally, outside. It must be easy to get in and out of the hutch without the rabbits getting stuck anywhere.
More important than the material of the hutch is the quality. A high-quality rabbit hutch made of wood is just as easy to find fault with as one made of plastic. Many rabbit owners prefer to choose wooden hutches, which in any case must be processed with compatible means. Whether you should choose a specific model then depends on the individual case and especially the workmanship of the model.
Set up rabbit hutch – Tips & Tricks
Once a quality rabbit hutch has been purchased, it’s time to set it up. How must a rabbit hutch be furnished? What do the animals need in everyday life? Which products are the best?
The basic equipment
The basic equipment of a rabbit hutch consists of houses as a retreat, a drinking trough, a food bowl as well as a hayrack. In addition, rabbits also need a salt lick to provide important minerals and trace elements. To prevent rabbits from sitting on the bare wood, you also need bedding.
There should be one cottage per rabbit in the rabbit hutch. However, if you buy a very large house, two rabbits can share one. Since rabbits like to gnaw everything, the house should be made of wood. Even though wood is not as durable as plastic, it is better for the animals should they gnaw the house. Mostly rabbit houses have a flat roof, which the animals like to use as a lookout or even as a resting area. There are also houses with several floors. For such houses, however, the rabbit hutch must be large enough. Single houses themselves should not be stacked.
They can quickly topple over, injuring the animals. Also, the house should be chosen according to the size of the rabbit. Rabbits like caves and dark hiding places. Therefore, they usually feel safer and more comfortable in small, slightly narrower houses. A larger rabbit house is therefore not always directly better. If you follow these tips, the only thing left to consider when choosing a design is your own taste.
Rabbit watering trough
A rabbit watering trough attached to the outside of the rabbit hutch provides the animals with water. Here there are different sizes and types of drinkers. There are rabbit drinkers made of glass and plastic. So-called nipple drinkers have a metal pin or ball at the end where the water comes out of the drinker. The rabbits have to poke against this metal part with their tongues to get water. Although the animals must first learn to drink at such a watering trough, in the long run a nipple waterer is more practical than an open water bowl that can quickly be tipped over and contaminated by rabbit litter.
However, it is important to clean the nipple drinker thoroughly on a regular basis. No parts should be forgotten in the process! Not only the bottle itself must be cleaned, but also the water pipe from which the animals drink must be cleaned intensively. Otherwise, germs will quickly form here and make the animals sick. Therefore, it is usually practical to have two drinkers. This way, the animals are permanently supplied with fresh water and you have time to clean the second, used drinking trough.
Rabbit food bowl
The feeding bowl in the rabbit hutch should be large enough so that all animals can easily eat together. To prevent the rabbits from knocking over the bowl when playing, it should have a certain dead weight, which gives it stability. Therefore, we recommend clay or ceramic bowls. These are usually glazed to prevent liquids from soaking into the clay or ceramic. Once a day, the food from the previous day should be disposed of and the bowl should be rinsed hot and dried thoroughly.
Cleaning with dishwashing detergent should be avoided, as the animals could ingest residues from the dishwashing detergent when eating. Afterwards new food can be filled in. If there is food envy between the animals, you can also set up several bowls, separately from each other. Some rabbits like to eat on the ground, others rather on a hill. Therefore, you can also put bowls on house roofs or a hill in the rabbit hutch. Thus, for each rabbit preference is certainly quickly found a feeding place.
A hay rack, just like the nipple drinker, is usually attached to the outside of the rabbit hutch. However, there are also models that are placed inside the rabbit hutch. With these standing hayracks, however, care should be taken to ensure that they are heavy enough and have good stability so that they do not topple over when the animals pull the hay out of the slots. Also, a stand hayrack must not fall on the animals!
An attachment with small animal wire to the rabbit hutch grate also secures the standing hay rack. The hay rack can be made of wood or stainless steel. It is always generously filled with feed hay and permanently accessible to the rabbits. Again, the size should be chosen so that all animals can eat at the hayrack. If you have a lot of rabbits, you should set up or hang up several hayracks.
In addition to the basic equipment, a salt lick and bedding are also included when setting up a rabbit hutch. For the bedding, you should use a mixture of pellets and soft chips. Also, the litter should be generously distributed so that the rabbits can dig and scratch in it without hurting their claws on the wood of the rabbit hutch. By the way, there are also toys or activities for rabbits. Here you should also make sure that the things are made of wood if possible, because rabbits like to gnaw everything.
Also, the toys should not have loops, because the risk that an animal gets caught in it and strangled in the worst case is simply too high. Likewise, toys should not have any openings in which the rabbit could stick its head. The animals can panic so quickly and then also hurt themselves quickly in their distress. Therefore, the toy should also always be selected according to the rabbit size.
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