Housing and companionship
What housing does my rabbit need?
- Minimum 6ft by 2ft by 2ft for average rabbit.
- Enough space to stand up on hindlegs and at least three hops long.
- Deep enough for rabbit to lie outstretched.
- Separate open and enclosed areas.
- Open area for feeding, enclosed area for sleeping.
- Rabbits will use litter trays if provided in preferred toileting area.
- Rabbit hutch can be outside almost all year round if sheltered.
- Sheds or garages may not be a suitable place for hutches.
Sheds or garages may have poor ventilation or be damp, causing respiratory problems.
Being inside in the dark stops access to sunlight, reducing vitamin D production, needed for teeth and bone health.
- Best to site a hutch against a sheltered wall, or in an open fronted shed.
- Rabbits do need to be inside during freezing weather.
- Minimum 8ft by 4ft by 2ft for average rabbit, giving access to:
- Grazing-important for teeth and digestion.
- Sunlight-important for vitamin D (teeth and bones).
- Exercise-important for muscle and bone health, and mental health.
- Need shade in case of heatstroke.
- May also provide frozen bottle in towel.
- Must be escape and predator proof.
- With access to shelter and bedding can go out almost all year round.
- Cover all electric wires.
- Remove poisonous plants
- Be careful what you leave out- rabbits can be very destructive.
- Rabbits are escape artists and can get into small gaps
- House rabbits should have constant access to their hutch so they can go to it if frightened.
- Rabbits appreciate cardboard tubes, tunnels, boxes and some dog toys
- Rabbits live in social groups by nature, so living alone is stressful for them.
- Best option = pair of neutered rabbits of opposite genders.
- Littermates of same sex may get along, but likely to fight at puberty.
- Guinea pigs and rabbits should not be kept together for three reasons:
- Rabbit may injure guinea pig.
- Rabbit may carry bordetella (whooping cough), which could kill the guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs require a high vitamin c diet, which the rabbit does not, so they should be on different food.
- Very easy to get wrong – similar appearance and males may retract testicles into abdomen.
- Female vulva is a slit whereas male penis is round, but they can be so small it can be hard to tell.