How Should a Rabbit Hutch Be Set Up?
Rabbits are the third most popular pets in the world. In order for the animals to be as healthy and happy in the home as they are in the wild, their basic needs must be met – and that starts with the right hutch design. In our guide, you will learn what is mandatory for rabbit hutch interior design.
Taking nature as a model
In the wild, rabbits live in groups. These social animals are especially active in the early morning hours and at dusk. In search of food, they hop, climb and run through their territory or dig and excavate widely ramified cave and tunnel systems. At midday, they retreat to their secure burrow and devote themselves to grooming each other or snoozing. A species-appropriate husbandry must allow the rabbits to live out these basic needs in the best possible way.
In addition to regular exercise in the room or garden, a varied and spacious enclosure is especially important for the active animals. The rabbit hutch and outdoor run must be escape-proof and provide protection from unwelcome visitors and enemies such as birds of prey, dogs and cats. The hutch should offer several employment and hiding places as well as provide space for water, food and toilet.
Tip: The interior of the rabbit hutch should be changed and rearranged regularly to keep things interesting for the animals.
Design rabbit landscape: Interior design of the rabbit hutch
The following items belong in the rabbit hutch:
When you set up your new rabbit hutch, you can’t be without a den. A den provides escape animals with a place to hide and sleep. A hutch with a flat roof is ideal because rabbits like to use it as a viewing platform. It is strongly recommended that rabbits be kept in pairs (a female animal with a neutered buck together). To allow an animal to withdraw from its partner when needed, multiple dens or at least hiding places should be available in the hutch.
Houses and hiding places are available in different materials (hay, wood, ceramic, plastic and fabric) and in different designs (multiple entrances, windows, multiple compartments, etc.). When buying an interior for your rabbit hutch and other accessories, you must always think about the size of the animals. If several animals are kept, there should be room for all of them in the hutch if possible. Especially large rabbit breeds need large houses and a solid interior, for example made of wood. Wood has the benefit of allowing the animals to wear down their teeth as they gnaw. Since rabbits’ teeth are constantly growing, this is a great advantage that can prevent vet visits. Therefore, all wooden elements must be untreated.
Rabbits like to burrow in straw and can quickly contaminate an open water bowl with food scraps and feces. A closed water trough or water bottle is ideal because it always provides clean water.
Your rabbit eats its food from the rabbit food bowl. To prevent it from falling over, it should be heavy and have a wide and flat bottom. If it is slightly elevated, it will not be immediately contaminated.
When you set up the rabbit cage, you can’t do without a hayrack. A hay rack (to hang in the grate, as a door closing rack or standing rack) helps to keep feed hay, but also herbs and other green fodder, clean and not spread all over the hutch. For healthy digestion, rabbits need plenty of such raw fiber-rich forage because they originally came from barren areas where energy-rich forage was not available. In addition, a higher hayrack encourages exercise – the animals must stretch to reach the food. Fresh vegetables and fruits should also not be fed only on the ground. Special containers, feed baskets or feed balls can be used for this purpose. In addition to the hay rack, hay can also be distributed in the hutch, as rabbits like to lie softly. However, hay that is left lying around will quickly become soiled.
Employment material: Buddel box, nail wood, toys, etc.
A variety of occupation possibilities such as small animal toys are part of species-appropriate rabbit husbandry. In the hutch, rabbits can be kept well occupied by gnawing wood. Gnawing also serves the important tooth abrasion. Hay bales and other hay toys are also a good option. Many rabbits show increased interest in cat toys. Another important addition is a digging box. It is expressly recommended by the Bundesverband Praktizierender Tierärzte e. V. (Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians), because the crate allows rabbits to let off steam in a manner appropriate to their species. Wooden and plastic crates of different sizes are suitable. In addition to toy or bird sand, crumpled newspaper, kitchen roll or scraps of cloth are suitable as filling material.
For rabbits with a strong urge to move, a running wheel can provide a welcome change. The running wheel must provide enough space for the animal so that the rabbit’s back is not bent downward when running. It is better to use a wheel that is too large than one that is too small.
Tip: Variety is important so that your rabbit does not get bored. Change toys from time to time to keep your pet stimulated. After a few weeks, you can reintroduce the toys you took out and your pet will be happy with the variety.
Floor design: carpet pad and litter
Rabbits like a soft and warm floor covering. If the animal is not housebroken (unneutered rabbits are harder to train), the flooring will also soak up urine. Simple newspaper is a good choice as a base, as it can be replaced quickly and inexpensively. On top of this comes the litter, which should always be untreated, regardless of the species.
To house-train rabbits, a little patience is necessary. But it is worth it! Place a toilet (typical cat litter box or something similar) with some litter in a corner of the hutch for your animals to defecate and urinate. If the animals are housebroken, the litter will stay clean longer.
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