If you have decided to get a rabbit as pet, then likely one of the first thing you need to get for your rabbits is the housing. There are generally two types of housing for your pet rabbits – a rabbit cage or a rabbit hutch. You will usually need a rabbit cage if you intent to keep your pet rabbits indoor and a rabbit hutch if you intend to keep your rabbits outdoor. Although we would encourage you to keep your pet rabbits indoor, depending on your circumstances, you may decide to keep them outdoor. This article is about both rabbit cage and rabbit hutch.
The rabbit hutch or rabbit cage functions more than just a housing for your pet rabbits. Your pet rabbits should treat the cage or hutch as a “retreat” or “safe haven” for your pet rabbits. This is all the more important if you are keeping your pet rabbits indoor and would want to toilet-train them.
A rabbit cage also acts as an educational tool for your pet rabbits. Cage time is not necessary isolation or imprisonment time. Cage time can be training time for your pet rabbits. You pet rabbits can learn a lot of things in a cage that he likes. He can learn about using litter boxes, what may be chew and have a safe space at times when you can’t bunny-sit him.
Ideally, the size of your rabbit hutch or rabbit cage should be at least 4 times of your rabbit’s stretched out length. You are likely to have adopted a bunny rabbit. Take into consideration that your rabbit will grows larger in size as they become adults. Some rabbit breeds are larger than the others and this should be taken into consideration in designing the size of your rabbit hutch. The hutch should also be high enough to enable your rabbit to stand upright.
At the minimum, smaller breed rabbits that weight less than 8 lbs. should have a rabbit enclosure of 24 inches by 36 inches. Medium and larger breeds should have a minimum enclosure size of 30 inches by 36 inches. The bigger the size of the rabbit hutch or rabbit cage, the better it is for your pet rabbits. This is all the more true if your rabbit spend majority of their time in their enclosure.
Unless your pet rabbits are neutered or spayed, you should not house two rabbits together. A male and female rabbit will pro-create few times in a year with as many as 7 bunnies. Two unaltered rabbits of the same gender will fight.
Super Premium Rabbit Hutch
You may buy or build your own rabbit hutch. Building your own hutch for your pet rabbits are not necessary difficult. You may need some carpentry skills. Start with the rabbit hutch by sketching out your design with proper dimensions.
Your rabbit hutch design need not be complicated. Rabbits are happier with just one large compartment. You would also need to allocate one corner of the hutch for his litter box, one side for his bedding, one side of his food and drink and perhaps sufficient space to put in a cut-out box as his hiding or play place.
There are two types of rabbit hutch that you may choose – the all-wooden enclosure or the all-wire cage enclosure. The all-wooden enclosure is usually the more common rabbit hutch. In building your rabbit hutch, consider using good-quality plywood. You would want your rabbit hutch to last for a long time to come, probably for the entire lifetime of the rabbit.
One section of the rabbit hutch is usually entirely enclosed. This section may have a wooden floor. The other section of the hutch should be twice the size of the first section and should have a wire bottom. The door should be wired as well. This allow sufficient circulation throughout the hutch.
The roof of the rabbit hutch should be built sturdily. This is especially true if where you are staying encounters snowfall. You would also want to ensure that the roof is water proof. This can be achieved by providing sufficient sloping angle for the roof. The rabbit hutch should also be at least 3 feet higher from the ground to prevent predators such as snake to crawl into the hutch and also to allow better air circulation.
The other type of rabbit hutch that you can consider is the all-wire cage with wooden frame. This is actually the easier rabbit hutch to build on your own. For the all-wire cage rabbit hutch, you are actually building a wooden frame to hold a typical rabbit wire cage. The rabbit wire cage may be bought from any pet shops. Ensure that the wooden frame is built with legs which set the rabbit hutch to be 3 feet higher than the ground.
You may also want to build a dropping pan which can slide in and out of the cage. The drop pan should be regularly cleaned. If you do not want to build the drop pan, then just allow the rabbit’s droppings to fall to the ground.
The all-wire rabbit hutch may be the better option than the all-wooden hutch as there are easier to clean and maintain. Your pet rabbits may urinate at the corner of your all-wooden hutch, and the accumulated ammonia can be very unhealthy to both your pet rabbits and you. It is also damaging to the rabbit hutch.
24 Inch Rabbit Cage
Contrary to what many thinks, there are plenty of varieties available for the rabbit cage. You can also build your own rabbit cage. If you intend to build your own rabbit cage, consider using welded wire. Wire cages are more durable than wooden cages and therefore can be more economical in the long run. As wire rabbit cages are easier to clean and disinfect, it also reduces the chances of diseases for your pet rabbits.
Wire floors with narrow spacing can be uncomfortable to your pet rabbits and can cause sores to the rabbit. Hence, it will be comfortable for your pet rabbits if the wire floors are covered with some solid floor. Grass mats (click link to follow) are nice to have. Solid part of the floor should only be limited to one side of the cage to enable easy cleaning for the cage. The solid part of the floor cage should be easily removed. Diseases commonly spread from dirt, urine and droppings remaining on these areas.
The door of the rabbit cage should be about large enough to get a litter pan (and rabbit) through easily. A side door is the best choice to allow your pet rabbits to get in and out of the cage on their own. For many rabbits, allowing your pet rabbits to get in or out of the cage on their own can have tremendous positive effect on their temperament! The openings of the doors should have smooth edges and preferably plastic guard strips over the edges of the wires for protection.
It is for sanitization purpose that wood is not suitable to be made as construction material. Your pet rabbits like to chew on the wood. Wood also absorbs water and urine which affects good sanitation. Wood should only be limited to the framework, while the inner portions of the cage should be made of wire. Wood should be treated if it is in contact with your pet rabbits.
The followings describe how you can build your own rabbit cage. The procedures outline how you can build your own rabbit cage which is big enough to house a medium-sized doe and probably a litter of five to seven bunnies.
These are what you need to build your own rabbit cage:
Floor: 1 piece of 36 x 78 in. wire
Top: 1 piece of 30 x 72 in. wire or 1 piece of 48 x 72 in. wire for quonset design
Sides: 2 pieces of 15 x 72 in. wire
Ends: 2 pieces of 15 x 30 in. wire or 2 pieces of 18 x 30 in. wire for quonset design
Partition: 1 piece of 18 x 30 in. wire or 1 piece of 21 x 30 in. wire for quonset design
Doors: 2 pieces of 16 x 18 in. wire or 2 pieces of 18 x 20 in. wire for quonset design
Miscellaneous: 2 pieces of 72-in. sections of 5/16 in. steel rod for floor and 2 door latches for the conventional design; 3 pieces of No. 12 galvanised wire, 2 pieces of 72-in. sections of 5/16 in. steel rod for floor and 2 door latches for the quonset design.
Fasteners: 100 small hen-cage clips, 25 large hen-cage clips, 30 no. 101 hog rings, 2 pieces of 24-in. length, No. 9 galvanized wire
The rabbit cages are most easily constructed in units of two cages. The followings are step-by-step procedure:
Step 1: Lay out the floor by removing a 3 x 3-inch section from each corner of the flooring. Then, bend up a 3-inch section along each side of the floor to prevent young bunnies from falling off the cage. Use hog rings to attach the steel rods to the front and rear edges of the floor.
Step 2: The partition and ends of the quotient cage are shaped using a pattern. Allow a 5/8 inch section of the wires to extend beyond the pattern. Bend these wires around a No. 12 edging wire. Position the ends and partition on the floor and fasten them with small hen-cage clips.
Step 3: Attach the bent-up floorings to the front and back sides of the conventional cages. Fasten sides of the partition and ends. Do not fasten the partition to flooring at the area where the door will be attached.
Step 4: Lay the top of the Quonset cages over the floor, ends, and partition. Fasten to the front and rear of the flooring, using small hen-cage clips spaced every 5 inches. The enter partition shall then be raised and fasten to the top. Repeat for each end section.
Step 5: Cut the door openings in the front side of each cage. Each opening should be 2 inches smaller than the doors in height and width. File all sharp protruding wires. Attach the doors, using large hen-cage clips as hinges. Attach the No. 9 wire around the door openings, using the large-sized clips. Install the door latch to complete the cage.
The cages can be suspended from an overhead support, using six strands of No. 12 galvanized wire. Attach a wire to each corner of the individual cages for proper support.
If you intend to buy your rabbit cage, in addition to the suggestions give above, you may want to buy those with a pull-out tray at the bottom. The pull-out tray is easier to clean and to maintain. If the rabbit cage is on legs, consider adding a ramp to the entrance to make it easier for your rabbits to get in and out of the cage on their own. Avoid using wire ramp though, as your pet rabbit’s tiny legs may get caught between the wires.
You need not necessary buy a cage that is designated as rabbit’s cage. Dog crates or cages have been successfully used as rabbit cage. There are also some owners who build their own bunny condos by using modular wire grid cubes that can be purchased from some office supply stores.
If there is sufficient height within the rabbit cage, you may add some shelves between the floor of the cage and the top. The shelves may be used for resting, lookout or for exercise for your rabbits.
What to Put in the Rabbit Cage
A litter box serves several purposes in the cage. A cardboard box or a towel draped over one corner of the cage may provide your pet rabbits with the hiding or napping place. You will find it interesting that your pet rabbits may re-arrange the position of the box or litter box.
There is also a common question as to what types of floor is suitable for rabbit hutch or rabbit cage. We find that Grass Mats (click to follow link) make excellent choice.
We shall publish another article on the bedding and litter for your pet rabbits. Cedar and pine shavings should be avoided due to the concern over the aromatic oils released. These oils are known to elevate the level of some liver enzymes, which affect the metabolism of drugs and other compounds of the rabbits. Wood shavings that may be used include hard wood shavings such as aspen. Straw or hay is good bedding material for rabbits, but they can be a little messy. Cat litters should be avoided also.
You may provide your pet rabbits with some bunny toys or chewing block inside the cage. Low cardboard box with shredded paper or soil may satisfy their urge to dig.
You can try to leave a bottle of frozen water in the cage that help to wet down the bunny’s ear during hot weather. Marble tiles may also be used as a cool spot for bunnies to lie in hot weather.
Where to Place the Rabbit Cage
The rabbit cage is best placed at a least humid area of the house away from heat. Rabbits may suffer from heat stroke easily. Although a rabbit cage is a place for security and quiet time for your pet rabbits, rabbits love attention and the cage can be placed at an area of activity.