Setting up an indoor rabbit hutch
Setting up an indoor rabbit hutch
Rabbits are intelligent and active creatures, who can make a wonderful addition to any family, and are much more sociable and interactive than most people assume. Because of this, it’s unsurprising that many pet owners are increasingly opting to let their rabbits live inside with themselves.
There are a few things to consider to ensure your rabbit's safety when keeping your pet rabbit indoors. Bunny-proofing your house and making sure they have enough space to run around are both very important first steps.
Setting up an indoor hutch for your rabbit is something that you may not have considered before but is easy and can provide your rabbit with their own space. Not only does an indoor hutch keep your rabbit closer to you, but it also better protects them from certain other threats that they may encounter outside. Here, Petplan explains how you too can set up your own indoor hutch.
Placing the hutch
It is vital that you place the hutch within the right place in your home. Your rabbit will still want natural light, but they won’t always want to be exposed to it. To achieve this balance, it’s important to place your hutch in an area with only partial exposure to the sun. Remember that your rabbit 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 location
You must also remember that your rabbit cannot be confined to their indoor hutch all the time. This means you will have to let your rabbit out to roam and must have a safe space for them to do this. You will need to make an area of your house secure and ensure that all hazards have been guarded. Remember rabbits can squeeze through very narrow spaces and jump quite high.
Take a look at this list of potential hazards and how to protect against them:
- Protect any exposed wires, so that your rabbit cannot chew them.
- Check that your house plants are not poisonous to rabbits.
- Move any expensive or important items that your rabbit may be tempted to gnaw on or could knock over.
- Providing a non-slippery flooring to prevent injuries occurring when your rabbit is exercising.
You should also ensure that you have a secure outdoor space so that your rabbit can still get sunshine and fresh air. Indoor rabbits are less accustomed to outdoor weather though and so any outside enclosure should be somewhere with shade and protection from the weather.
Inside the hutch
Firstly, place the bedding:
- Lay two or three layers of newspaper evenly on the bottom, 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’s hutches need a regular thorough cleaning and changing all the straw or wood shavings, once per week.
- Set up a comfy area for sleeping, with hay or soft, dust extracted straw. Remember that rabbits should be eating hay as part of their daily diet and therefore, the hay will need replenishing every day.
Secondly, 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 per cent hay or grass, 15 per cent leafy greens and just five per cent pellets.
Water can also be given in bowls, however, a water bottle fixed to the side of the hutch is great. These wall-mounted bottles better protect the water from being spilt or soiled, as well as encouraging your rabbit to stretch upright. If you have more than one rabbit, put a drinker at either end of the hutch so that they do not have to compete for them.
Finally, your rabbit will require things for the enrichment of their life. You can provide fun for your rabbit 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 in the comments below…