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Housing and Bedding for Rabbits

A couple of decades ago, anyone planning to keep a pet bunny needed to trek to the lumber yard for a roll of wire mesh, lumber, nails and hinges, and spend a day crafting a homemade hutch. Fortunately, those days are long gone. Although handy people can still make their rabbit a home, plenty of commercially made hutches are on the market. They are inexpensive, durable, and easy to assemble. Most come with a dropping pan beneath the floor for easy cleaning.

Hutches

Hutches come in all sizes and shapes. For a small to medium sized rabbit, the minimum hutch size is 4’x2’x2’. Larger rabbits will need more room. All rabbits should be able to stand upright to look around, and hop a few steps before reaching the end of the hutch. Prices and construction materials vary. Sturdy wire is common and some rabbit owners make or buy elaborate multi-level structures for their beloved pets.

Hutches also need to provide shade for the bunnies. Direct sunlight can lead to heat stroke, and even death. On the not-so-sunny days, the hutch needs to provide protection from elements such as rain. In general, a bunny’s fur does not shed water, so they can get soaked easily and get chilled.

Rabbits don’t need fancy housing but they enjoy a comfortable place to live. Furnishings include a feeder, waterer, toys and box to hide in or sit on. All can be purchased wherever hutches are sold. A box isn’t essential, but rabbits like privacy, and the box gives them a place to hide. They also love sitting on top of it and sometimes like to chew on the wood. Avoid painting or applying finish to the wood, as the chemicals might be toxic.

Bedding

Rabbit bedding is simple. A good handful of straw or hay inside the bunny box makes a soft and warm winter bed. If it is a quality timothy hay, don’t be surprised if the rabbit nibbles on it. Some people put a shallow layer of pine chips in the dropping pan to absorb urine, but frequently emptying the pan on the garden and rinsing it out also keeps it clean and dry.

Toys

Final hutch furnishings should include some bunny toys. Pieces of wood work fine and a wide range of nontoxic animal toys are sold in pet shops. Every once in a while bunnies like to rearrange their home, and they’ll play with and move their toys to avoid boredom.