Setting up an indoor rabbit hutch

Approved by
Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund

Brian Faulkner

Veterinary Surgeon
RCVS Registered

Not only does an indoor hutch keep your rabbits closer to you, it also better protects them from threats they may encounter outside. Here’s how to set up your own indoor hutch…

Rabbits are intelligent and active creatures and are much more sociable and interactive than most people assume, meaning they make a wonderful addition to any family. Because of this, it’s unsurprising that many pet owners are increasingly opting to let their rabbits live inside their homes.

There are a few things to consider to ensure your rabbits’ safety when keeping your pet rabbits indoors. Bunny-proofing your house and making sure they have enough space to run around are both very important first steps.

Where should the rabbit hutch go?

It is vital that you place the hutch within the right place in your home. Your rabbits will still want natural light, but they won’t always want to be exposed to it. To achieve this balance, place your hutch in an area with only partial exposure to the sun.

Your rabbits will enjoy digging and scratching inside their hutch and often scatter the bedding and contents, so beware of the potential for mess in and around the hutch’s location.

Don’t confine your rabbits to their indoor hutch all the time. Provide a safe space for your rabbits to roam when you let them out. You will need to make an area of your house secure and ensure that all hazards have been guarded. And remember that rabbits can squeeze through very narrow spaces and jump quite high.

Here are some potential hazards and how to safeguard against them:

  • Protect any exposed wires so that your rabbits can’t chew them
  • Check that your houseplants are not poisonous to rabbits
  • Move any expensive or important items that your rabbits may be tempted to gnaw on or could knock over
  • Provide non-slippery flooring to prevent injuries occurring when your rabbits are exercising

Try to also have a secure outdoor space so your rabbits can access sunshine and fresh air. Indoor rabbits are less accustomed to outdoor weather, though, so any outside enclosure should be somewhere with shade and protection from the weather.

Creating a comfortable home

Layer two or three sheets of newspaper evenly on the bottom of the rabbit hutch to hold in any hay or wood shavings. Spread straw or wood shavings throughout. There ought to be enough for your rabbit to play and dig in, but not so much as to limit their movement. Use oak or hardwood shavings, rather than cedar or pine, as the latter can emit a gas that is dangerous to rabbits. Rabbit hutches need regular, thorough cleaning, with all the straw or wood shavings changed, once per week.

Set up a comfy area for sleeping, with hay or soft, dust-extracted straw. Rabbits should be eating hay as part of their daily diet, so be sure to replenish the hay every day.

Rabbits will also require sources of food and water in their hutch. Food can be easily provided in bowls; ideally, you should be using more than one if you have multiple rabbits. Rabbit food should consist of around 80% hay or grass, 15% leafy greens and just 5% pellets.

If you have more than one rabbit, put a drinker at either end of the hutch so they don’t have to compete for them. Water can be given in bowls, but a wall-mounted water bottle fixed to the side of the hutch will better protect the water from being spilt or soiled – it also encourages your rabbits to stretch upright.

Bunny entertainment

Your rabbits will need access to things that enrich their life. You can provide fun for your rabbits with a box of dry paper to dig in, grass or wicker balls and chew toys. Anything that can encourage them to be more active and have fun is a plus.

Do you have any tips for safely setting up an indoor rabbit hutch? Let us know on social media with the tag#PethoodStories.

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