Your Rabbit's Housing
Every King (or Queen!) Needs Their CastleWe HIGHLY recommend that your rabbit be kept indoors so that it will become a part of your family. All of our rabbits are “people-ized.” The best environment for your rabbit is in the room where your family spends the most social time — rabbits love attention and absolutely become lonely if isolated. However, we also feel that your rabbit(s) need outdoor fun and sun. They need the dappled sunlight in order to assimilate their calcium effectively and efficiently. 4-6 hours of outdoor dappled sunlight will assure that it’s bones and teeth will remain strong and sound. Rabbits, however, should never be left in full sun or in temperatures that remain over 80 degrees without shelter. They know when to get in and out of the heat, but you need to provide that area for them. Simple solution? Let them play outside in the early morning and bring back inside before the heat of the day. Or, let them outside in the early evening and bring back inside.
RABBITS THAT ARE HOUSED OUTDOORS IN HUTCHES ABOVE THE GROUND CANNOT GET AWAY FROM THE HEAT. EVEN FROZEN WATER BOTTLES CANNOT TAKE AWAY THE STRESS THAT A RABBIT’S BODY GOES THROUGH DURING HIGH HEAT. PLEASE KEEP YOUR RABBIT SAFE AND OUT OF THE SUN!
There are many suggestions available for building an indoor environment for your rabbit. Keeping it simple will not only keep down expense, but also ensure that it is easy to keep clean and will allow your rabbit to bond and feel that it is a part of your life.
You may also build your own bunny condo out of NIC or Neat Idea Cubes (found at most Target, Office Max’s and Costco’s). Small rabbits can have condos that are 2 panels x 2 panels. For larger bunnies, or more than one, you can expand the condo to whatever size fits their needs. You may see the House Rabbit Network site for more information on Neat Idea Cube condos.
Some things to Keep in MindRabbits do not have padded feet like dogs and cats. If you use a condo with a wire floor, you need to provide a solid surface on which your rabbit can rest, otherwise it can and will wear down the pad on its feet and can develop pressure-point abscesses. This is easily remedied by laying down natural grass tiles (found at World Market for instance). These tiles provide chewing material, are comfy to lie on, and are inexpensive enough to be recycled when it is time to replace them.
Some ready-made condos come with removable and washable plastic floors or you can use a solid floor, such as wood, tile or linoleum. If you can, avoid carpet as rabbits love to pick at the fibers and will ingest them – creating a possible problem for their sensitive GI tract. Make sure that your rabbit has a litter box on at least one of the levels and that the ramp is wide enough for it to safely hop up and down levels. It is a good idea to rinse out the cage or condo and replace bedding at least once a week. This is easily done by taking it outside and hosing off the condo and letting it dry in the sun.
READY OR NOT… HERE I COME! Until your bunny is fully trained, it would probably be a good idea to keep him or her in the habitat (or environment) while you are at work and when you are sleeping. Rabbits are diurnal, which means they generally sleep during the day and start their activity around 4 pm, throughout the night and into the early morning. They are usually most awake and active at dawn and at twilight. Be sure to let them out during the evening to explore the surroundings when you are home, and if possible, in the morning while you get ready for work. It is important to provide your rabbit with many forms of entertainment, such as cardboard boxes, baskets, sticks, magazines and grass mats.
A bunny’s condo should be a haven where it feels relaxed and completely safe. Always keep it accessible when your bunny is out exploring your home. You can help promote this feeling by having a layer of aspen shavings or hay in the litter box(es), toys and things to chew on. Give your rabbit a small veggie or fruit treat when you tuck it in at night. Always make your bunny’s condo accessible should it need to make a quick retreat to safety. A cardboard box set on its side with a “mouse hole” cut out makes a wonderful “cave” or hidey-hole for your rabbit. Try it – I guarantee your rabbit will love it!