No longer should anyone be thinking a rabbit hutch is enough. It’s not! All rabbits need housing that will allow them room to jump and runabout in, room to stretch out and relax, somewhere to feel safe and somewhere snug to sleep. This section gives plenty of great rabbit home ideas, different housing types and how to fill them with accessories and toys to keep your bunny safe and entertained too!
In this section…
What type of housing is best?
There are lots of different ways to house your bunnies indoors. Every bunny & every house is different. The most important thing is to provide a home that suits your bunnies and that keeps them safe. As long as they have lots of space, a quiet place to retreat to and plenty of toys, then you will have some very happy bunnies.
Lots of people have house rabbits that have the run of the house (along with an area to call their own). This is a great option for house bunnies, but it all depends on the fact that your bunnies are well trained enough for this. Safety comes first & if you do not trust your bunnies to be left alone (or if you have other pets), then it is probably best to have them safely enclosed in an area, for when you are not there.
Below are some more options of how you can house your bunnies indoors…
A great set up for a house rabbit is an open top puppy pen. They can be spacious and airy so the rabbit does not feel enclosed as much as they would in a cage.
Pens are also great as you can move them around, change the shape of them etc to suit your space and this adds variety. They also look good and do not clutter a room.
Please note: If you have other animals then you will need a pen that comes with a top too for added security.
The best height to get is 35in. This will stop any escapes if your bunny was thinking of jumping over the top. Just be careful to not place any items next to the edges that your bunny could climb up on and make it easy for them to jump out.
Remember, although puppy pens are a decent size, it is still very important that your bunnies get their daily exercise. If you let your rabbit have free range exercise around the house, increase the free range area gradually, until they are trained. Also decide beforehand what rooms are out of bounds and take precautions for this so your rabbit understands.
For more advice on house training, see Bunny behaviour – Training bunny.
For indoor housing products see Housing products – Indoor.
Other indoor accommodation types
- Hutches need to be at least 6ft by 3ft by3ft and if they do not have the run of the house then they will need an exercise area of 8ft by 4ft by 3ft.
- Dog crates are not big enough on their own, will need to have a run also attached/available as the dog crates are only usually 4ft in length. A good idea is to attach a puppy pen to the dog crate to allow for the extra space. Please note some dog crates can also be difficult to clean out.
- Indoor rabbit/guinea pig cages – again the size of these are usually too small on there own, so to add a puppy pen as additional space would be a great idea. Be aware of indoor rabbit cages with a step up/over at the entrance. They are not rabbit friendly. Old & young rabbits struggle to get in and out of them and if your rabbit needs to sprint into it at speed if something panics them they could injure themselves. The plastic indoor hutches/cages are not rabbit friendly and also not big enough.
Where to place your rabbit’s indoor home
- Area needs to be quiet/cool/away from draughts/away from heaters.
- Near a window for natural light.
- Near patio doors is a good idea so they can look out. (But be aware they can easily get spooked by predators in the night walking by patio doors, block the view at night with a curtain)
- Make sure they are not right next to any radiators.
It is a good idea to have thermostats added to your radiators so you can control the temperature of radiators in the same room as the bunnies.
For advice on how to bunny proof your house see Bunny behaviour – Indoors & house proofing.
The list is endless to what people are doing this day & age to provide their bunnies with the most luxurious suitable accommodation. The more people that are made aware of these ideas the more chance we will have of ridding rabbits kept cruelly in small cramped cages.
Some great ideas
- Outhouses converted to bunny homes with outside run attached
- Hutches placed within an aviary
- Dog kennels with the runs attached (these come in all shapes and sizes).
- Bike sheds or playhouses with runs attached
- Large 6ft, 7ft or 8 ft hutches, 3ft deep and 3ft high with runs attached
- Sheds (wooden ones only) Plastic or metal ones get too hot.
Thank you to the rabbit residence rescue for the use of their pictures.
If you are using a hutch only, then a fantastic decent size would be be at least 6, 7 or 8ft in length and 3ft high and 3ft wide. And they will need an additional area for their exercise time (Nothing smaller than 8ft by 4ft by 3ft) . If you cannot attach a run direct to the cage, you could consider a runaround tunnel to attach them from afar. Always place runs onto concrete slabs to stop your rabbit digging a way out and to stop a predator digging his way in!
Or consider a metal puppy pen as they are reasonably priced and great as they fold away when they are not being used and you can set them up anywhere. You can also buy more than one and make the pen even bigger. Please note: Make sure you supervise your rabbit whilst they are exercising in these as they are in no way predator proof. Never leave them unattended.
Building your own enclosure
Remember the bigger the better for your bunny and for you to as it will be easier to clean out and also you will get so much more entertainment watching your rabbits binky and run at great speeds.
RWFA size reccommendations:
- Minimum hutch 6ft by 2ft by 2ft.(3ft high and 3ft wide is much better)
- Run minimum 8ft by 4ft by 2ft.
- Ply wood and pine are safe woods: two types of pine wood, Whitewood and Redwood untreated.
- Treat with Cuprinol.
- Galvanised wire no bigger than 1inch by half inch should be size of squares. Never use wiring with large squares as rats and stoats could get in or cats/foxes could injure your bunny through these gaps. Prime welded wire mesh is best.
It is extremely important that all enclosures are made predator proof.
- You need to place your rabbits accommodation on slabs to avoid a fox digging in or a rabbit digging out.
- Make sure doors are secure with bolts at the top and bottom for extra security.
- Always provide hideouts – safe places to hide when they get spooked or feel threatened
- Tunnels are good for hide outs.
- Place boards at the front of your enclosure to add extra privacy & to help stop your rabbit getting easily spooked.
It is essential especially with certain types of enclosures. You need to protect them from the wind, rain and strong sunlight. Covers can be bought for standard size hutches but can be costly.
- Corrugated plastic sheeting is a good way to protect from rain and is excellent for roofing. Just watch the clear plastic in the summer as this could heat your enclosure up like a green house very quickly. Place sun reflectors underneath to help stop this.
- Use bubble wrap or plastic sheeting like builders sheets or plastic dust sheets or tarpaulin for protection from wind and rain. Attach to a piece of wood at the top and hook this to the cage to create your own little roller blind. Or by adding some wooden panels to each side of your enclosure and making them an inch wider than the enclosure allows you to have something to attach the bubble wrap or plastic sheeting to. Metal bull dog clips keep it in place very securely when it is very windy. Always leave gaps for air flow.
- Heavy duty market stall covers are also ideal protection against the weather. Always leave gaps for air flow.
- Cover a sheet of wood, wider than the accommodation itself, with felt roofing and place on top of enclosures for added protection. Keep weighted down with bricks or slabs.
- Large beach mats or windbreakers are ideal for protection
- Venetian blinds or cane/bamboo blinds are another option. Attach bubble wrap to the inside of them in the winter for added protection
- Do not use fabric that can get damp as this will draw the heat out of the hutch
- If large enclosures like sheds/playhouses have gaps around the top area you can stuff them with bubble wrap to stop drafts. Just make sure its out of reach of your rabbits.
In the summer:
- Wooden sheds/play houses can get very hot in the summer. Try insulating the roof to help keep it cooler.
- Sun reflectors can help and also large patio umbrellas or shade sails can help.
Whatever you chose to place in your rabbits enclosure, by rearranging the set up every now and then your bunny will think they have a whole new home to explore and this keeps them entertained!
Nest boxes within an enclosure make an ideal place for your rabbit to hide in or to keep warm in. They may also enjoy jumping on top of them.
The only good thing about those horrible small rabbit hutches being sold is that you can use them within their accommodation set ups as cosy hideouts, or things for your bunny to climb on.
Stuff them full of hay in the winter and your bunny will love it. You could also make them even cosier by putting cardboard around the inside edges in the winter for extra insulation.
Cardboard boxes provided hours of entertainment & also provide somewhere for your rabbit to run into when they feel threatened.
Stuff a large cardboard box with hay if you don’t have a small hutch or nest box.
The double walled cardboard boxes are best as they are more sturdier and will last that bit longer. You can order them in bulk at quite a reasonable price off the internet. Just check they don’t have staples in.
Place next to the litter trays to allow your rabbits to eat as they poop which all rabbits love to do and it encourages hay eating.
Wicker baskets (untreated and made for pets only- treated wicker is highly poisonous), plant pots, hanging basket racks, utensil holders or fruit bowls can all be good ideas for hay racks. Basically anything that will not harm your rabbits health and if it has holes in can be stuffed with hay and used as a hay rack. The Ikea carrier bag holders are also a big favourite. Or just make a tunnel shape out of galvanised wire and stuff that full of hay. Please watch any items that have large enough gaps in where they could catch their feet or heads. Always make sure the gaps are stuffed well with hay.
A good tip is to place grass mats or flat bits of cardboard under the hay racks. This allows you to sweep the spilt hay up very easily and place into the litter tray, so nothing is wasted.
Cheap comfy beds
Rabbits love comfort and a good cheap way of providing a pet bed is use a sample square of carpet (you can get these from most carpet shops for about 50p) or a flat chair cushion and place them in cotton pillow cases. Pillow cases are also cheap to buy and easy to wash. In the winter include a little blanket also. The bunnies love to dig at blankets and push them about.
Litter trays and dig trays
Litter trays come in all shapes and sizes, but the bigger the tray the more hay you can put in to encourage your rabbit to eat hay whilst he poops. Seed trays and drip trays can be ideal as they do come in big sizes and all kinds of shapes and are cheaper to buy than some actual litter trays.
Raised areas filled with soil or filled with grass turf are a great way of adding some natural materials if the floor is all concrete slabs. Or simply use a few flower pots full of soil. Seed trays and drip trays are also great for placing soil or grass turf in.
For more ideas on what fun things to place in your rabbits enclosures, visit Housing products – accessories.
Make ramps safe
Make ramps safe and rabbit friendly by covering with carpet or a mat. Or add bits of wood to create a step effect and allow your rabbit to have more grip on the ramp. Never position a ramp too steep as this could result in an injury. You can place a sturdy item like a large garden stone/brick or the wooden hideouts you can buy to raise the ramp up at the bottom more, so its not so steep.
All flooring for inside and outside accommodation should be non slip to avoid your rabbit injuring themselves.
- Concrete slabs are great as they help predator proof the enclosure too and can help keep them cool in the summer.
- Large floor tiles are good and help keep them cool in the summer also indoors & outdoors.
- Non-slip lino is good for flooring, but make double sure it is non slip. Make sure edges cannot be chewed and stick down with lino adhesive, but if you use this make sure it is well ventilated before you bring your bunny in.
- Ceramic tiles are a good way of protecting wooden flooring to outside enclosures like sheds & hutches. If you use newspaper, place them underneath the paper.
- Vinyl plastic carpet protectors are good, but again make sure they can’t chew the edges
- Laminate flooring is no good and can cause serious injury. Place cheap runners/mats down to create a bunny-friendly flooring instantly.
- Any mats without the rubber underneath or round the sides are a good idea for flooring your rabbits inside enclosures
- Carpet tiles are good if laid so your bunny can’t chew any loose corners.
Here are two handy documents to help you choose and fill the accommodation for your rabbit’s enclosure: