Housing Your Bunny
Bunnies belong indoors, with the rest of the family!!
On this page I advocate strictly indoor housing!! (However, this page on successful outdoor housing should help those who have no choice)
This is my x-pen. There are many like it, but this one is mine. I gave it to Cocoa and Brownie for a home-within-a-home with Tamari and Noffy. It turned out to be a better use of my dining room, since my table was always cluttered with stuff that I didn't feel like sorting through.
It is very important that your bunnies consider their homes to be safe territory, which means they should be confident that no one will bother them if they're just relaxing. There will be times when you need to get to your bunny (such as to put him in a carrier to go somewhere, or to do something important - don't bother your bunny just because you want to brush them or snuggle with them, as there are other ways to entice him out to be sociable). Your bunnies are much more likely to behave well and use their litterboxes and not be too destructive when they have a feeling of safety in their own homes.
Tamari and Noffy hanging out in their cage (the door is locked in the open position, so it is a safe place for them to call their own, and since I don't lock them in, they like to relax in it.
Some basic facts everyone should know about housing for pet rabbits:
This is an example of a NIC setup one of our adopters used for their bunny Oliver - one image shows it in its open state, where he can come and go as he pleases, and the other shows it closed to confine him for safety when necessary.
It is very strongly recommended that you do not house your rabbit outdoors.
You should avoid overexposure to:
Indoors/Outdoors? Indoors!!!. Such animals become prisoners, not pets, and they suffer from weather extremes, stress, fear from predators trying to get at them, and death from predators who do get at them. They are also often forgotten about or ignored, and in some cases this has led to them starving to death, or at the very least developing health problems that go undetected because they have almost no contact with their caregivers. This also leads them to have almost no trust in their caregivers, since the only contact they do have is when food is brought, or some cleaning is done. This is no life for a pet. A companion rabbit's place is in the home with you, as part of your family, just like the family dog or cat. Otherwise you will never know what a wonderful companion a rabbit can be, and how well if can get along with your other pets.
Although a house rabbit should be allowed to run around as much as possible, housing is still necessary for those times when the bun must be confined as well as for the bunny to have a place of his/her own. Proper housing is very important for rabbits to avoid injury (such as sore hocks from wire floors with no covering), stay healthy and happy. There must be enough room for the rabbit(s) to move around comfortably and also for the food and water bowls and litter box to fit in as well.
Rabbits need plenty of exercise, and if they are kept caged then they must be lot out every day for as much time as you can allow for them to exercise. A bunny who is denied exercise will develop all sorts of health problems as a result. If you have a rabbit that you keep caged, and you try letting him out and he won't come out - it is most likely because he doesn't know what to make of his new-found freedom. Rabbits NEED exercise, and you should not assume that because the rabbit doesn't come out of his cage that he doesn't want exercise. You may need to coax him out with a treat or something. Many times we hears stories like "I tried to give my rabbit exercise time, but he just stayed in his cage" - this is most likely because he is afraid to come out. You must help your bunny to be comfortable with this freedom.
If you are going to keep your rabbit(s) in a cage, you should follow these guidelines for minimum space requirements (L x W x H, in inches):
Do NOT confine your rabbit outdoors in any situation where it cannot escape the elements, even if you think it will only be for a short while. If you forget about the rabbit outside for any length of time in harsh conditions, you may very well discover it dead. We've heard plenty of stories where the rabbit was put outside, in his cage, just for the afternoon while the family cleaned the house, only to find the rabbit had died of sunstroke; hutch bunnies that froze to death because they had no way of keeping warm in their hutches; hutch bunnies who died of illness after getting soaked in a rainstorm it couldn't escape...
NOTE: Please do not use those ultrasonic pest repellents (the kind that plug into the wall outlet and emit a high-pitched thumping to drive off insects and rodents). Rabbits' hearing is sensitive enough to be bothered by this.
Articles About Shavings
Neat Idea Cubes (NIC) setups
This is his new NIC home.
Some examples of using NIC cubes to create habitats for cavies (guinea pigs).
The House Rabbit Network's article on using NIC Cubes to create rabbit habitats.
Examples of using NIC cubes to create rabbit condos.
Ideas and plans on putting together a NIC cube condo.
Ideas and plans on putting together a NIC cube condo.
Examples and instructions for setting up NIC cube condos.
Example of a NIC cube setup for a rabbit.
The Wisconsin House Rabbit Society's on using NIC cubes to house bunnies
Morfz's index page on NIC setups for bunnies
How to set up X-Pens for your rabbits.
The House Rabbit Society's article on giving your rabbits something more than just a cage to live in.
The House Rabbit Society's article on using pens to house rabbits
The Buckeye House Rabbit Society's article on housing rabbits in pens
Zooh Corner's article on setting up an exercise pen for your rabbits
The House Rabbit Network's article on Housing Options for Your Pet Rabbit
Housing For Critically Ill Rabbits
Great place for carts for disabled animals of all types
General housing ideas
The House Rabbit Society's FAQ on Housing
Sertting up a gated community for your rabbits.
Some solutions for litterboxes for your rabbits.
Articles on all types of rabbit care.
The House Rabbit Society's examples of housing setups for rabbits.
The House Rabbit Society's article on proper housing for bunnies
A good index page for finding or making your own bunny cages
The House Rabbit Society's page on managing multiple housing setups for multiple rabbits
A very nice custom setup for house rabbits
Very nice rabbit homes that blend in well with other furniture