Check that the hutch you are purchasing provides sufficient space and shelter, if a hutch is too small it could restrict your rabbit’s movement. Rabbits should be able to stand fully on their hind limbs and take at least three hops in their enclosure. A hutch should be as large as possible to accommodate active and inquisitive bunnies, with an area to provide protection against weather and a secure sleeping place. Hutches ideally should only serve as an intermittent shelter, your rabbits need a few hours a day of exercise outside of their hutch.
Care and Maintenance
Once you’ve brought your new rabbit home, they might need a few days to settle in. Be sure that their hutch has space for them to hide and get cosy. Once they feel comfortable, you’re likely to hear them being active at dawn and dusk. You should allocate some time for your rabbit to exercise outside every day. Set up a play area or use a rabbit harness so they can explore safely.
If you want to let you rabbit run around your home, be sure you’ve hidden potential health risks, including electrical cords and unsuitable foods. You might want to leave chew toys out for them so they avoid your furniture.
Your rabbit’s new hutch must be at least four times the length of your adult rabbit, bearing in mind that the average rabbit is between 20cm and 30cm, depending on their breed. Make sure their hutch is escape proof and includes an area with a solid surface.
When setting up your pet rabbit’s home you have two choices: indoors or outdoors. Outdoor enclosures will need to be weather resistant, provide adequate warmth in winter and enough shelter all year round. The best place for your rabbit is inside the house, in a room that your family spends a lot of time in, as rabbits love being sociable. Position your rabbit away from direct sunlight, draughts, central heating or places that produce a strong aroma, like your kitchen.
Line the hutch with bedding to keep your bunny comfy. As long as the bedding absorbs water properly, doesn’t smell and is soft, your rabbit will be happy.
Your rabbit’s enclosure needs feeding accessories including an easily accessible hay rack, and a drink bottle that you hang on the outside of the enclosure with the stainless-steel spout pointing inside so they stay hydrated. A heavy food bowl is necessary and, of course, toys to keep them entertained.
All hutches should be well ventilated. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to the hot summer temperatures we experience in Australia and may die of heat stroke if their hutch is not in a cool, shady position. Enclosures with wire floors may damage their feet - the floor of your rabbit's hutch should be covered with newspaper, with a layer of bedding material like straw, grass, hay or shredded paper for warmth, comfort and to prevent pressure sores on your bunny’s feet.
Usually, rabbits decide on their toilet corner very quickly and stick to it. Clean this corner every day and the entire cage every week or as needed. Remove and replace the bedding, wipe down the cage with hot water and wash the elements, such as toys and drink bottles, in soapy water. You’ll need a substitute home while you clean – a travel cage is perfect.