Housing and companionship

What housing does my rabbit need?

Hutch

  • 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.

Run

  • 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.

House rabbits

  • 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.

Toys

  • Rabbits appreciate cardboard tubes, tunnels, boxes and some dog toys

Companionship

  • 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.

Sexing rabbits

  • 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.