Your rabbits can live outside or indoors, you’ll just need to make some adjustments depending on which you choose. However, the core fundamentals are the same and one of the most important things is that they have enough space. A hutch is not enough, whether they’re outside or inside.
Your rabbits’ housing should be permanently attached to a larger space they can exercise freely in. This could be a rabbit-proofed room inside, or a large run outside. Your rabbits should be able to easily lie stretched out and hop at least three times. For two bonded rabbits, the recommended minimum size is 2m long x 60cm wide x 60cm tall, which a run of 2.5m long x 2m wide x 1m tall.
The rabbit essentials
As well as lots of space, whether they’re outside or inside, your rabbits will also need some important extras in their housing. Rabbits are prey animals in the wild so they need to feel safe.
Make sure there are lots of hiding places in their housing, such as tunnels, for them to run to when they need to. They’ll need an area they can go to the toilet in, as well as plenty of hay for them to munch on throughout the day. Their bedding should be separate too, with soft, rabbit friendly bedding material for them to settle down on.
The essentials you’ll need for a great rabbit environment are:
Rabbit proofed space
Litter tray and filling
Hidey holes and tunnels
Lots of tasty feeding hay
Rabbit-safe cleaning products
You can keep your rabbits indoors, they’ll just need to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a house.
You’ll also need to make sure the room they’re in is fully bunny-proofed! Watch out for wires and remove house plants as many are toxic. They should have non-slip flooring to prevent injury and their space should be well ventilated, away from radiators.
Don’t forget to provide them with lots of boredom breakers, hidey holes and tunnels, as well as a separate toilet and sleeping area.
Keeping rabbits outside
Rabbits can also be kept outdoors. If so, they’ll need a large hutch with a permanently attached run that they can exercise in as and when they wish.
Heat can be fatal to rabbits, so their housing will need to be well ventilated. In the summer months avoid direct sunlight, whereas in the colder winter months add extra bedding and provide shelter to help keep your bunnies warm.
It is vital to ensure your rabbits’ housing is secure. Their hutch and run need to be able to keep predators, like foxes, out. Invest in a good quality mesh and bolt – the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund recommends thick wire with 13mm holes.
Cleaning your rabbits’ housing
You should give your rabbits’ housing a quick clean daily. Throw away wet and dirty bedding, uneaten food, and refill their food, water and hay containers.
Remove all of your rabbits’ bedding at least once a week and replace it with fresh, clean bedding. Do a more thorough clean, removing any mess or droppings.
Give their housing a deep clean once a month. Take everything out and scrub their housing using a rabbit-friendly cleaner. Replace all of their bedding, and give them fresh food, water and lots of hay.