Rabbit care – how much space do they need?
Whether you keep your rabbits indoors or out, it’s wise to make sure they have enough room to meet all their health and welfare needs. Here are some rabbit care tips that will help you ensure they have enough space.
- Buy a hutch or cage big enough for two. Rabbits don’t like to live alone but they also need personal space. As the natural instinct of a rabbit is to hide or retreat from a threat, make sure they have an area they can go to where they feel safe. They will also need space to snuggle up together when they need to stay warm. As rabbits are very clean, they will choose a corner of their home as a toilet.
- You may want to provide more than one food and water bowl to prevent bullying around these important areas and enough space around them so that your rabbits can easily view the surrounding area and feel secure.
- When aiming to attain a high standard of rabbit care, remember that a rabbit should be easily able to stand up on its hindlegs in its cage or hutch, with plenty of head (and ear) room. As a rule, that means around 2 feet tall (60 cm).
- There should be room for both rabbits to lie down stretched out for comfort and space to have at least three hops.
- If providing an outdoor hutch, you will also need an outdoor run or safe pen (with a roof) for further exercise. This can even be linked to the hutch with a tunnel, creating more space for the rabbits to explore. Outdoor pens should also offer areas in which the rabbit can shelter from the sun or cold and also a place to hide in if startled.
- House rabbits often have access to a large part of the home. Make sure you rabbit-proof your home first, by protecting cables and restricting access to items made of materials that can be chewed (such as skirting boards, mattresses or rugs and carpets).
- Think about how you can make your rabbits’ environment more interesting – tunnels, ramps, platforms and different substrates to burrow into can really improve your rabbits’ day to day life.
- It’s useful to think about the space you need to allocate to packs of hay, bedding and food. Hay is better purchased in smaller packs so it can be fed at optimum freshness and can be compacted to reduce the volume of the pack. Each rabbit will need hay equivalent in volume to at least its body size each day.
Allocating enough space to your rabbits is an important aspect of rabbit care and will really improve the quality of their lives.
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