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How to house a rabbit

author Lucy Byrne | Care and raising

If you’re thinking about getting a rabbit, maybe you will find handy a bit of advice how to house him at home. A rabbit has certain needs as any other animal and it’s up to us, the owners, to make its life as comfortable as possible.

The basic thing is naturally a cage. It should be large enough, so that the rabbit itself would fit into it comfortably along with other equipment. The size that is most often recommended for rabbits up to 4 kg is 100 x 50 x 50 cm. Larger rabbits might feel cramped in it and they wouldn’t be able to stretch comfortably.

What to use as equipment for the cage itself? The rabbit will need a bowl for food, a water bowl or a water bottle, a rack for hay, a small house and a corner or square toilet with bedding. I’d recommend a small house with a flat roof. Since rabbits like to lay on them, they have a better view of the surroundings from there and a house with a slope or round roof will not allow them to do that. I don’t recommend plastic bowls. They are difficult to clean and there’s also the risk that the rabbit will knock them over. A better choice is a ceramic or a concrete bowl.

A rabbit needs exercise and contact and it cannot spend its whole day only in the cage. That’s why it’s necessary to prepare a run for it as well. Especially if it’s not domesticated yet, it is necessary to fence the run in the apartment or remove anything that it could destroy or that could hurt it (for instance, wires under current, poisonous plants, etc.). If it is domesticated enough and house-trained, its cage can be open permanently, or it can live freely without a cage (it will still need all the equipment from the cage, though). But I’m not a big fan of this. A situation may always come up, when you need to close the rabbit, moreover, it also feels safe in the cage and it can hide in it when it feels threatened. When I had a rabbit as a little girl, its cage was open when we were not there and a glassed, insulated balcony was at its disposal.

For the rabbit not to get bored, you can put various rabbit toys, monkey bars or tunnels into its pen. You shouldn’t forget a small bed either. On our market, you have plenty to choose from, but you will manage to make everything by yourself as well. Rabbits also like to dig, so they will welcome a box with sand or a box with old clothes :).

Every rabbit also behaves in a territorial manner. Therefore, it may happen, that it will poo around the cage, since this is the way it marks its property. If you want to avoid that, it is necessary to assure the rabbit, that the cage belongs to it. You will achieve this by never making it climb into it or get out of it against its will and by not doing anything to it that it doesn’t like inside the cage (for instance, cut its claws). Don’t even do things the rabbit doesn’t like with the cage. You shouldn’t be moving it around the apartment or clean it when the rabbit is inside. Some even don’t like it when you’re moving the feeding bowl. Add food to it at the moment when the rabbit is outside of the cage or put the bowls next to an opening so that you could add food without having to move them. Respect the cage as its territory. It just has to feel safe in the cage.

Have you got any tips how to make the house more pleasant for the rabbit? What equipment did your rabbit like the most?