Now that you’ve decided that you’re ready to welcome a little fluffy rabbit into your family before you start looking for the healthiest food options and the most enjoyable toys for rabbits, you need to decide on a living enclosure. You can check out this post if you want to get an outdoor hutch for your bunny, but, if you’re prepared for a more DIY approach, we will guide you through what you need to know in order to build a cage for your pet.
While many owners go for the easier option of buying a ready-made cage or hutch for their bunny, others prefer to invest a little more time and, sometimes, finances into building the perfect cage.
This choice lets you customize your rabbit’s habitat to both your house’s space restrictions and your pet’s needs. Before you start building the enclosure, you first have to decide on what exactly you want to build.
What size should the enclosure be?
The main aspect that you want to get right is the size of the cage. Rabbits are very active and social animals and require plenty of space in their habitat. They need enough room to sleep, eat, play, and exercise in.
Bear in mind that rabbits come in a wide range of sizes, from as small as 2-3 lbs to as big as 22 lbs. So don’t design and build the cage before you are certain of which breed of rabbit you want to buy or adopt. Also, if you’re getting a baby bunny, keep in mind that your pet will grow over the next period of time; therefore, the habitat needs to accommodate an adult-size rabbit.
As a general guide, the living enclosure should be tall enough for the bunny to be able to sit upright on its back legs (between 60-90cm, depending on the bunny’s size), wide enough for more than two adult rabbit hops (60-90cm), and long enough for more than three adult rabbit hops (150-185cm).
What type of enclosure do you need?
When it comes to the right model for your pet’s habitat, it all comes down to what fits best in your house and in your budget range.
Probably the easiest way to build an enclosure for your little furry friend is to use one or a series of pet pens to make a perimeter fence. Pay attention when you connect these together, as using regular plastic clips might not be sturdy enough for your rabbit if it can chew through them quite easily.
Another, a little more complex, option is to go for an enclosure made out of wired office cubes. What you can find in most offices as a simple storage option, the wired cubes can become, with a bit of creativity and some cable ties, the perfect housing solution for your pet. Its main advantages are that you can design it accordingly to your house’s space restrictions, and you can also re-arrange or extended it at any time.
The most complex alternative is building a rabbit hutch for your pet. This is usually made out of wood, with chicken wire mesh as a gate, and is best suited for outdoor use. Being a full-on DIY project, this requires a little more time and skill to build.
Where should you put your rabbit’s cage?
Bear in mind that bunnies are easily scared and don’t like loud areas. Avoid, then, any space with noisy appliances, such as the utility room, or any other room where loud activities can take place, like the kitchen.
It also best to avoid rooms where children play, as they can also perturb your rabbit.
When picking a place for your little fluffy friend’s habitat, you also need to make sure that the area is well ventilated, and that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
What to use for the floor of the cage
Rabbit cages can get quite messy, so it’s better to cover up the floor of the cage, both to avoid any damage to your flooring and to make it easier to clean. If the cage has wired flooring, it is also recommended that you cover it up, as the wires can cause discomfort to your bunny’s feet.
The best option to use for the cage floor is sections of old carpets that you don’t need anymore. Make sure that they’re made out of natural material though, as your pet can get digestive problems if it chews on any synthetic, rubberized materials.
What to put inside the cage
Food & water supplies
Your bunny’s diet should mainly consist of hay. Lots and lots of hay. The best way to provide it is by installing a hay feeder in the rabbit cage.
A food bowl is also useful for when you serve him or her small bites of fruits and vegetables, or food pellets.
Fresh water is just as essential to rabbits as it is to all other animals, so a water bottle or bowl is needed as well inside your furry little friend’s enclosure.
As mentioned before, a rabbit’s cage can get quite messy. Luckily, like most pets, bunnies can be potty trained, which will help contain the mess. Therefore, you will need to buy a litter tray. It is recommended that you place this underneath the hay feeder. This way your pet has more chances of developing good litter habits.
Toys & accessories
Rabbits are very active animals and need plenty of options to keep them stimulated in their cage. This is especially important if there will be times when your rabbit will be left alone in the house. From toys to chew on to ramps and platforms, there is a wide variety of alternatives that you can buy or even make for your pet’s entertainment.
Bunnies also need to hide sometimes, as being constantly exposed will make them feel stressed. This is why it’s encouraged to set up at least one hideaway in its cage. There are plenty of options to use for this, including plain cardboard boxes or tubes.