Rabbit welfare has changed dramatically over the past few years and our main aim is to ensure the public are aware of rabbits needs. Unfortunately, most pet shops haven't caught up with the latest research and often give out misleading information. We hope this page can easily guide you through what rabbit accommodation should be, in line with current research.
The Rabbit Welfare Association (RWAF) recommend a minimum of 60 sq foot of living space. If you are like me you will have no idea what that actually means so we will explain this below...
A sheltered space of at least 6ftx2ftx2ft is needed. It is vital that this space provides shelter from wind, rain, damp, cold, direct sunlight etc. It needs to be raised off the floor. The sheltered space needs to be permanently attached to an 'exercise area'. Although this sheltered space is shown as an open front hutch, their sheltered space could be completely boarded to create more of a 'bolt hole' type space within an aviary or their sheltered space could be a shed for example.
An exercise area of at least 8ftx6ftx3ft needs to be provided, this needs to be permanently attached to their sheltered space and accessible 24 hours a day so it also needs to be predator proof. Above, the exercise area is shown as a traditional 'run' but many more alternatives are readily available now which may work better for you and your rabbits. Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk when us humans are normally in bed. Rabbits relax and take quite a few naps during the day, which is normally when people put their rabbits out in 'runs'. Its important that rabbits have access to their sheltered and exercise areas so they can use it abiding by their own time schedule, they can't be waiting around for us humans all morning!
The bigger the better they say, of course these spaces could always be improved with more space and not always at a cost. Often factory made hutches and runs can be costly and poorly made on the pet market. Cheaper alternatives can often offer more space and last longer. For example, you can pick up second hand wendy houses and sheds online for free or a small fee. Even brand new ones can work out cheaper in the long run. So your rabbit accommodation could look like this..
Housing rabbits indoors
These days many people choose to house their rabbits indoors. The minimum recommended space requirements set out by the RWAF also apply for indoor rabbits. There are NO indoor cages that can provide this amount of space alone. Therefore, the following are suitable options for rabbit homes:
Free roaming in the house or a spare room
Most people go for the free roaming option as it's hard to provide enough space otherwise. This means that the rabbits have access to the whole house/downstairs/upstairs/spare room or whichever is possible. Obviously this means a lot of bunny proofing is in order as they can bite and chew anything they can get their paws on!
Penned off area
Some people prefer to block off areas to protect the rabbits and the home! You can use puppy pens from Amazon and other online websites that can make different shapes/sizes to suit your needs as well as theirs. Please ensure that you still meet the 10x6 minimum guidelines and consider supervised free roaming when you are home.
Indoor cages/enclosures as part of an indoor set up
The indoor cages sold in pet shops and online can be useful as long as they are always kept open. Many people use the base as a large litter tray and fill it with litter and hay. You could also use it as hidey area, for example, cover it with a blanket and they can also use it to jump on!
For more ideas, see below...
Recommended Rabbit Housing Companies:
The above companies supply ready made custom rabbit/guinea pig housing, if you have any questions please feel free to email us or them! If you would like to have a go at making your own we also have lots ideas on how to build on a budget!