by Alex Paul
Anyone who owns – and loves – a pet rabbit knows that the animals need space to play and exercise in order to stay healthy. Exercise time can, to a certain extent, be provided by an outside run or letting the rabbit roam the house (supervised). It’s important to have a hutch that provides enough room for your rabbit to move around freely though, otherwise it may suffer both mentally and physically.
Despite this, many rabbit owners still used old fashioned hutches that were designed to be used when breeding rabbits for food. These hutches were designed to be small and relatively in order to “fatten up” the animal. It goes without saying that these don’t provide the space and comfort that a pet rabbit needs!
There is still some confusion about the size of rabbit hutch that a pet owner should be, and research is still ongoing. This can make it difficult for pet owners as there is a lot of conflicting information. It does depend on the size of the rabbit – a single dwarf doesn’t require as much room as larger breeds – but there are some general guidelines to follow. The following were recommended by the RSPCA, although they are currently undertaking more research into the “ideal” hutch:
- Rabbits need to be able to stand up fully as well as move around freely. Many hutches have low roofs, so keep this in mind when choosing one.
- Aside from standing up, the rabbit should be able to lie outstretched in all directions.
- It should also be able to take several hops in any direction, and turn around without bumping into something.
It’s important to keep in mind that these guidelines should apply when the rabbit is fully grown. The RSPCA recommends buying a hutch that will last the lifetime of the rabbit, rather than a “starter” home and a larger “adult” home.
Aside from the size of the hutch, there are a number of other considerations. The hutch should be made up of both a shelter and a living area. The living area is where the rabbit can hop around, eat, and play, while the shelter is a place where it can feel secure and rest. If you keep several rabbits in the same hutch, they should all be able to rest in the shelter at the same time. The shelter is particularly important for rabbits kept in outdoor hutches, as it provides shelter from the environment and a place to hide if there are any predators around.
Alex Paul runs a website reviewing rabbit hutches. The site provides information on various hutches – including both indoor and outdoor hutches – along with guides on how to choose one for your rabbit. Having grown up with rabbits, Alex is passionate about educating current and future rabbit owners on the benefits of choosing the right hutch. His site only contains information from reliable sources – such as the RSPCA – along with personal experience.