The Secrets Pet Stores Won’t Reveal About Rabbit Hutches


Welcome to rabbithutchesadvice.com. Experts believe rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK today (1). Sadly the hutches sold in many stores are not right for rabbits daily health needs. Find out why they need specific hutches or houses, what they need inside them, how long they should stay in them and where to put the hutch. By the time you have read this page, you should know the basics for getting your rabbit the hutch it deserves – animal charities are emphatic bad housing is a major cause of illness in rabbits.

rabbit by marnixbras

How Big Should It Be?

Although the size of bunnies varies enormously, from 1 to 10 kg, all rabbits have the same basic need – plenty, plenty of space.

They must have enough space in their hutch to be able to sit up on their back legs and stretch out according to one fact sheet (1) – but we think (and we know the charity does too) they should really have more – at the very least enough to be able to hop three times (2). When you buy or build your hutch, consider the age of the rabbit. How much is going to grow – the tiny baby rabbit that will fit through the door of a store bought ‘starter pack’ cage will quickly become dangerously cramped in it. Since their size varies, its hard to give a minimum standards size, but one useful guideline was 4 times the size of your bunny – at the very very least (3). And the guideline also stated if the rabbit is in the hutch for long periods, you must must make it bigger than that. Can they sit up, stretch, move comfortably without squishing into bowls, drinking bottles, toys, their sleeping and litterbox areas and the wire of the hutch. We’re going to quote from the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) here – “Many homes sold in pet shops are too small” (4). So an absolute must is a big, big hutch, which needs certain features inside it.

Many store cages are too small

Many store cages are too small

Interior Design

OK, so this is a bit of a comedy title for this section – rabbits are unlikely to demand a change of wallpaper, but they do have special needs for interior design to keep them happy. Divide the hutch at least into 2 sections to give them a separate sleeping area. That’s one for each rabbit – they need this to exhibit natural behavioural patterns and not feel stressed. The hutch needs very strong wire mesh at the front, to provide air and a window-view but you need to watch out for rough pieces of exposed cut wire ends. The bottom of the hutch should NEVER be wire – this is not good for their feet or stress levels. Use a different design or at the very least – be wary of adapting a wire hutch with newspaper, due to the danger of flystrike (click on the Flystrike page on the left). They need a litter area as they use one place only to go to the toilet – back to space again, make sure they’re not sitting in their toilet all day and night. Having sorted out the basics of interior design, you need some rabbit supplies to go in it.

Wire cage floors should be avoided

Wire cage floors should be avoided

Basic Rabbit Supplies For The Hutch

You need a drip-feed water bottle attached securely to the mesh, so there is ALWAYS fresh water available. Toys help dental health – their teeth constantly grow and gnawing on toys stops overgrowth (which a vet would need to correct). Toys to prevent boredom are also good – roll around toys such as balls or rings. Ask your vet to recommend a brand – sadly, information from animal charities indicate not all toys sold for small animals are actually suitable or safe. A hayrack will stop hay supplies being trampled on. Of course you’ll need a food bowl – ceramic or stainless steel ones are best if you are concerned about plastics which main contain Bisephanol A, banned in baby products in some countries (5). Lay a layer of untreated, organic litter shavings made for rabbits on the bottom of the hutch and give them soft hay without rough stalk ends or unbleached shredded paper/paper towels for bedding.

Providing The Perfect Hutch

Rabbits need space, a separate sleeping area, water, bedding, a litter box are and toys. You’ll still need a rabbit run for daily exercise outside the hutch. Rabbits can’t make vitamin D without sunlight and also need to stretch their long long legs to prevent them becoming bored, stressed and overweight. This article provides the basics of hutch design, to find out more about enrichment and providing the perfect hutch, click on the links on your right.

Make their home a real haven

Make their home a real haven

Mike Holby

References:

1. BVA Animal Welfare Foundation. Day to Day Rabbit Care [online]. Available at:

http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet/buying/rabbit.asp

2. EASE. The EASE Guide to Caring for RABBITS [online]. Available at:

http://www.link2content.co.uk/uploads/bva/rabbit.pdf

3. House Rabbit Society. FAQ: Housing [online]. Available at:

http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/housing.html

4. RSPCA. Pet care – Rabbits [online]. Available at:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=RabbitsPetCare

5. Health Canada.(2008) Government of Canada Protects Families With Bisphenol A Regulations. [online]. Government of Canada. Available at:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2008/2008_167-eng.php

Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

Young rabbit, top of page http://www.sxc.hu/profile/marnixbras Little boy looking at rabbits in cages http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jwarletta Rabbit on wire cage floor http://www.sxc.hu/profile/aesthete Rabbit on straw http://www.sxc.hu/profile/charmax

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Categories: Hutch Design Basics | Author: admin | Comments: 65 Comments |



Why Do I Need A Run As Well As A Big Old Hutch Then?


As well as spacious rabbit hutches, bunnies also need to get out and about outside the hutch to get exposure to sunlight to create vitamin D, which they need for good health (1). They also must have daily exercise – many people don’t realise the amazing truth about those small furry friends. Think of them like a small dog – well, that’s how much exercise they need every day (2). In many ways, they are not really a domestic animal – their behavioural patterns are still very much wild. have you ever seen a hare racing across a field? Rabbits really need to be able to run freely to feel contented and this brings us on to the topic of space.

Miss Blue Eyes by novablue

How Big Should It Be?

Since bunnies range on average from 1kg tiddlers to 10kg whoppers, there is no standard measurement in feet or meters for how much space they must have. One idea for their housing was for it to be at the very least four times as big as each bunny. This gives you some clue as to how big the rabbit run should be – yes, make it as beautifully enormous as you can possibly get it. The point is to get them out to exercise, if its only as big as their house or not much bigger, you will have wasted your money and time. It’s cost-effective to build one, there are some great bigger sizes in some pet stores but they can be expensive. Once you’re created a large space that you’re sure they can sprint about in, its vital to make sure it’s as safe as possible.

How To install It For Safety – Top Tips

If you run is outdoors, it should be sunk into the ground – bunnies of course burrow – and could well form an escape committee by tunnelling their way out (3)! As with the hutch check there’s nothing sharp poking out of the frame or mesh and attach a drip-feed water bottle. Be aware of who else uses the garden or house – other pets could frighten the rabbit by trying to play or worse still, trying to attack – think how greyhounds learn to race by chasing a symbolic ‘rabbit’ around the track. Cats are also notorious for perversely choosing the run roof as the prefect sunlouging spot and any predatory pet (snakes, for example) may also see your loved on as a little fluffy eyed cheeseburger. Don’t leave kids unsupervised – they may be perfectly loving in their intention to cuddle bunny or give him their sweeties – but poor handling techniques and feeding could injure your rabbit greatly. For everyone’s sake, make the run escape proof, predator proof, child proof and with water, without sharp edges and then think carefully about where you’re going to put it.

rabbit 5 by valcore45

Where To Put The Run

Some chemicals for garden treatment or home cleaning are poisons for pets (4). Plants to be aware of in this category include chrysanthemums, cowslips, geraniums, clematis, poppies, ivy, hemlock, laburnum, laurel, yuccas (5), buttercups and certain species of lilies. If you are using it outdoors, move it around regularly so your bunny can munch on fresh grass each day (and your lawn survives better). Don’t put it over or right next to electrical wiring, for example, cabling for a pond fountain – rabbits chew indiscriminately and many have died through electrocution from chewing electrical wires. So think poisons, grass freshness, and chew patrol – anything they can chew has the potential to cause  injuries through small parts poking their bodies – on the skin or in their gastro-intestinal systems.

Buttercups contain an acid which may harm bunnies

Buttercups contain an acid which may harm bunnies

Sadly, it isn’t quite as simple as getting any old commercially sold run although it really should be. Size, safety and location is essential to create that stimulating and liberating exercise run they desperately need daily. You can enrich the run with rabbit toys, tasty treats and little hiding places. These tips can stop you spending money on a run that is too small and instead create a safe, healthy haven that will enhance your rabbit’s health – you will literally change their whole world for the better.

Mike Holby

References:

1. BVA. Animal Welfare Foundation. Day to Day Rabbit Care [online]. Available at:

http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet/buying/rabbit.asp

2. RSPCA. Pet care – Ten things you may not know about rabbits [online]. Available at:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=RabbitsPetCare&marker=1&articleId=1154077763133

3. RSPCA. Pet Care – Learn more [online]. Available at:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=RabbitsPetCare&marker=1&articleId=1154077763099

4. ASPCA [online] Animal Poison Control Centre [online]. Available at:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/

5. EASE. The EASE Guide to Caring for RABBITS [online]. Available at:

http://www.link2content.co.uk/uploads/bva/rabbit.pdf

Photo Credits – great photos by:

Blue eyed rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Novablue Brown and white rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/valcore45 Buttercup flower http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Poofy

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Categories: Rabbit Run Info | Author: admin | Comments: 24 Comments |



Buying A Bunny – Avoiding Some Traumas


No self-respecting site about rabbit hutches or indeed any aspect of rabbit care would be complete without a word about where to get your bunny from in the first place. New rabbit owners can avoid some distressing scenarios – poor bunnies becoming sick or worse dying soon after they reach their new home. Some responsible breeders operate with high integrity and care for their rabbits– others churn them out for profit alone, with no regard for what happens after the sale or the animals’ care needs. This article explains one way to make sure you pay to have a bunny with a health check, get good advice on how to care for you rabbit and where to find these opportunities. There are some tips here to make the process a smooth as possible.

the rabbit by devinkho

Where Can I Buy A Health Checked Rabbit?

OK, so that title is a little bit sly of us – but… One answer is rescue centres – although the process is correctly termed ‘adoption’ rather than characterised as a straightforward sale. A good rabbit rescue centre will give their rabbits a thorough vetinary check before allowing people to adopt them. Unscrupulous breeders may not provide you with a health history – or allow you to see the facilities the rabbits were bred and raised in. this is especially true with many pet stores – you simply have no idea where they beautiful baby bunnies in the glass cage came from. They may not have been socialised with humans when young, leading to handling problems as they mature. Rabbits are sociable and it’s often advised to adopt two to prevent them becoming miserably lonely – two poorly bunnies is doubly sad. The assurance of a rabbit whose health status if documented is high, next you need to consider whether you are able to provide a healthy environment for it.

bubs by rooling

Do I Qualify To Adopt A Rescue Centre Rabbit?

High quality rescue organisations will indeed be selective about who they allow to take their rabbits home. This is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself – you want to be sure that long-term, you have the lifestyle and capacity to properly care for your rabbit, to avoid distressing or embarrassing outcomes later down the road. Staff at centres should conduct a thorough interview with you but this is a two-way situation – for you to ask questions that can inform you as to whether this is really the right pet for you. And there’s no shame in deciding between you that perhaps this species is not right for you – rabbits are not low maintenance pets and whilst you may be a very caring person, perhaps you just don’t have the lifestyle to accommodate one right now. If you and the staff have come to a positive decision, you can move onto the formalities of the adoption process.

rabbits by oOlemon

Do I Get a Rabbit For Free?

Although policies vary by centre, the answer is generally no, as you have to pay a fee to cover the costs of administration for the adoption process. In many ways, this is still very good value, as it includes that all important health check. It may also include rabbit vaccinations – needed against many life-threatening diseases. The rabbit may also have been spayed – to prevent unwanted litters, which again represents good value as opposed to private vet’s fees. Despite perhaps seeming less imposing than a cat or dog to own, in fact, rabbits will cost you money in the long run with housing, runs, supplies and at least annual vet checks so the fee is justified. Once you’ve paid the fees, you’ll need a carrier to bring your pet home in and of course – a rabbit hutch.

rabbit by christa

Coming Home and Equipment

You will need AT LEAST the following minimum basics:

  • A rabbit carrier
  • A relationship with a vet who is knowledge about rabbit car
  • Spaying if this hasn’t been done
  • A large hutch – at least 4 times the size of the rabbit
  • A hay rack
  • Chew toys
  • Roll about toys
  • A rabbit run or rabbit proofed are of your home for daily exercise
  • Specialist rabbit food and hay

Once you’ve got these basics, you can move onto enrichment and creating the best life possible for your new pet. The staff at the centre can give you plenty of advice on how to care for your rabbit and shouldbe there for you on an ongoing relationship –although health care concerns need to go to your new vet. Rabbit adoption can be an excellent way to introduce a new rabbit to your home and save a rabbit who might in some places, end up being put to sleep otherwise for want of a good home.

Mike Holby

Clickable links to Worldwide  Rabbit Adoption Webpages – Including Whether Its Right For You And the Buns!

First of all, a general site for rabbit adoption with a huge page of country by country links at Rescue Me’s rabbit pages

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

Now keep scrolling down for other rescues in your country:

North America – USA & Canada

Rabbit Adoption and Information network co-ordinates many rescue centres and provides advice in the USA

http://www.lagomorphs.com/mainpage.html

Petfinder co-ordinates many rescue centres which may have rabbits in the USA

http://www.petfinder.com/index.html

Zooh Corner Rabbit rescue works locally in California:

http://www.mybunny.org/us/us_1.htm

The House Rabbit Society facilitates adoption in many American states at this page:

http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/index.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the USA link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Ontario rabbit rehoming organisation online – Rabbit rescue

http://www.rabbitrescue.ca/

Nationwide Canadian adoption resource – Rescue Me

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/ca

Nationwide Canadian pet adoption resource – Adopt An Animal

http://www.adoptananimal.ca/

The Humane Society of Canada has a very small section:

http://humanesociety.com/component/mtree/Adopt%252Da%252DPet/Small-Critters.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Canada link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

UK

The UK’s Rabbit Rehome co-ordinates many centres and has advice at

http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/centres.asp

Pets Need you is an online resource for pet rehoming in the UK with a section for rabbits

http://www.petsneedyou.org.uk/rabbit_rescue_search.php

The UK’s nation-wide RSPCA conducts a full vet check for all their bunnies in need of homes and a full interview to help prospective bunny ‘moms’ and ‘dads’

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=rehoming

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the UK link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

France

France’s Refuges Animaux has details of nation-wide adoption centres rehoming rabbits

http://refuges.animaux.ws/

Spain

Spain’s Animal Adoption Network may be able to assist:

http://www.spanimal.org/

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Spain link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Germany

The German section of Rescue Me is at this page:

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/de

Netherlands, Belgium,

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Netherlands or Belgium link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Other Countries

There is a huge list of resources for many countries worldwide at Rescue Me’s website -

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has a country by country list of rescues:

http://www.wspa.org.uk/members/findmember/Default.aspx

Rabbit Pal – links to worldwide rescues (Australasia, Europe, elsewhere):

http://www.rabbitpal.com/rabbitpal_com_welcomes_you

IMPORTANT: This article is provided for information only and links are provided in good faith – we cannot endorse nor be responsbile for the content or practice of external links and rabbit rescue organisations. If you have any concerns about rabbit health or welfare, please contact a knowleagble vet. For information on whether your lifestyle can successfully accomodate a new rabbit, please seek professional advice from an appropriate care organisation. Sorry for sounding like a little lecture guys -now that’s out the way, we hope you liked the lovely photos – here’s the genius photographers behind them:

Three bunnies on grass – top photo http://www.sxc.hu/profile/devinkho Bunny on hind legs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rooling Black and white rabbits http://www.sxc.hu/profile/oOlemon Close up of beautiful rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/christa

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Categories: Getting A Rabbit | Author: admin | Comments: 38 Comments |


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