Housing can be a complex area to discuss as there can be many contributing factors, plus many have strong views as to what is most appropriate.
One thing, however, is very clear. Rabbits need a lot of space; they may appear quite sedentary whilst we’re up and about, but rabbits are active little creatures and love nothing more than sprinting, jumping and bounding around.
For rabbits, space is almost as important to them as air! They must be given the space to allow them to express their normal behaviour for mental well being, and space will also allow them to develop normal, strong bones and healthy muscle.
So whether your rabbits will take pride of place in the garden, have a bespoke shed or garage arrangement or take over your lounge and house ( they will..!) there are a number of simple things you must provide them. We've summarised some of the key factors:
Rabbits need a lot of space; they may appear quite sedentary whilst we’re up and about, but rabbits are active little creatures and love nothing more than sprinting, jumping and bounding around.
So whether your rabbits will take pride of place in the garden, have a bespoke shed or garage arrangement or take over your lounge and house ( they will..!) there are a number of simple things you must provide them:
A safe and secure area to live in, free from risk of danger or preditors, and protected from cold, wet or intense sun or excessive heat. The Rabbit Welfare Association recommend a MINIMUM overall living area of 3m x 2 m x 1m. More is, of course, better!
An area they use for their ‘toilet’ - rabbits are clean, and just like many animals, prefer one area as their ‘bathroom’.
A secluded area they can feel safe in, or escape to when they want a bit of quiet.
An area they can play, relax and have fun in. This should include toys, tunnels and other fun things to provide environmental enrichment (I.e things to explore and do), and this area should be changed and updated to offer constant interest, unless there are specific health issues to consider - a blind rabbit, for example, may not take too kindly to constantly bumping into things that are being moved around.
In or Out?
There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing either indoor or outdoor accommodation; only you can decide what you feel is most appropriate for your rabbit family. The following can help when deciding on the type of accommodation you can best provide:
Is the garden of sufficient size to house sizable accommodation - and do you have an appropriate housing budget? Agood, suitably sized outdoor accommodation can be around £300 - £1000
Are you particularly house-proud? If so, an indoor rabbit setup could be a challenge - think hay and fur - neither can really be 100% controlled, bunny proofing (all cables and other dangers must be covered and made safe from prying teeth), and think also teethmarks on skirting boards, furniture (however expensive - bunny teeth do not discriminate), and anything you treasure; it WILL be ‘investigated’. With teeth, or dug at with very strong and sharp claws!. Plus toys…
Do you have other animals - rabbits and cats, or rabbits and dogs are not natural friends and any animal that is a natural hunter must be prevented from becoming close or having access to rabbits. Stress in rabbits can be a big problem, so even a dog in the same house could be an issue.
Do you have a busy household? Lots of comings and goings, parties etc?
Do you have a member of the household with allergies or pet fears?
Is your garden frequently visited by foxes? If you're not sure, set up a camera and monitor late night garden visits for a while - you may be surprised at who drops by!
If you plan on allowing grass access, has the area been used by dogs or cats?
Do you have a protected and secure garden? Rabbit theft is sadly a growing problem
Not sure where to go from here? Check out our guide to finding a rabbit savvy vet!