I care for rabbits and enjoy sharing husbandry and housing tips.
A Proper Rabbit Cage
When getting a cage for your bunny, it is important to remember that the cage needs to accommodate the size that the rabbit will grow to, not necessarily the size that the bunny is at the time you buy the cage. There are different rules for different cages, but the main deciding factor in cage size is whether your bunny is going to be an indoor bunny or an outdoor bunny.
It is recommended that your bunny is an indoor bunny, because, like cats, bunnies are much happier, more friendly, and develop more personality when they live inside than outdoor rabbits do. Outdoor rabbits tend to become quite frightened and skittish, not allowing themselves to be petted or touched, and normally die a great deal earlier than house rabbits.
Indoor rabbits can be house trained, and so can be let out to run about at supervised times. This means that their cages need not be as big as outdoor bunnies, which need large amounts of space to be happy. An indoor bunny cage should be large enough for your bunny to lay down in comfortably, with a corner to spare for droppings and a space for food.
Because your bunny will get lots of exercise when it is out, and mostly use the cage for sleeping, it does not need to be all that large, though it should not be cramped either. Ensure that your bunny has more than enough room to flop and do a big bunny stretch out along the side of the cage.
Outdoor rabbits are often kept in small hutches. If you plan to keep your rabbit in one of these, please do not get a rabbit. Not only are you depriving it of company by leaving it outside, but you are also depriving it of room to move and frolic. Rabbits love to run and play, and yes, to jump.
If you must keep your bunnies outdoors, then make sure that the cage and run have enough room for them to be able to jump upwards around two feet, and enough room lengthwise to get a good bunny sprint on, at least five feet long by five feet wide, and preferably larger. Yes, there are a great many tiny rabbit hutches and cages sold on the market, but these are sold by people who know next to nothing about proper rabbit care, and probably don't give a damn either, they are only after your money, and pay little regard to the pet's welfare.
I have an outdoor cage for my own bunny, but she lives indoors most of the time, and the cage is only used to give her a spot of fresh air outside on occasion. The cage is three feet high and has a floor space of around 15 square feet. This would still be too small to keep her in all the time.
Think of your bunny's health and happiness when it comes to buying a cage, and if this all seems like too much of a hassle, then get a goldfish.
© 2008 Bunniez
Jess on June 20, 2020:
I watched the video and it was not good. Some of those hutches were ones I have for my bunny. She sleeps in her 2-storey 5ft wide hutch outside and is out and running in her big playpen all day mostly. She is also let inside and in chairs etc. She gets loads of attention. That video is rubbish
Mystery dude on May 07, 2020:
I think this information is very helpful when purchesing a rabbit/bunny. I thank who ever made this website
Krishika rajanikanth on December 22, 2019:
I have two rabbits they live outdoors i love them
Meme on April 30, 2019:
I had a bunny it all way jumped when I came to it’s cage
kelly on June 04, 2018:
I don't know if we need to take the bunny a bath?
srijita banerjee on October 27, 2017:
alex on January 01, 2015:
I live in Hawaii and have an 8 lb rabbit. She lives in my yard. She sleeps on my covered lanai or in the shade covered grass. She shares the yard with my 100lb lab and 8lb chihuahua. She is allowed to come in, but she only ever stands in the door way. Mostly begging for treats. She's been living this way for a year and seems very happy. It's the closest natural rabbit life I can give her and if she dies sooner than an indoor rabbit, then so be it.
bunnydude on July 07, 2012:
I have a rabbit, bomber, and i only have a 3x2 cage but he only sleeps in it, he spends most of his time outside running lol
luv bunny on May 28, 2012:
you are all idiots rabbits have unlimited speace in the wild so 5ft aint enough....
horsebuny on April 29, 2012:
u r all awesome and i agree with every thing
billybobjoe123456 on January 19, 2012:
i have an english mastiff and he doesn't need his cage anymore and i was thinking of buildint a wooden frame around it with a roof and walls because i have to keep it out doors. its 4ft long 3ft high and 3ft wide. would that be good for a rabbit
bunnies4me on December 10, 2011:
oh. I have a shed I keep them in and check on them everyday.....its very tall and bigger then my room....so I suspect that's good for them. we give them treats regularly too
Yummy yummy on November 13, 2011:
Im gona eat mine
Rrrrrrrrrrrrr on February 12, 2011:
Weird I'm getting a bunny and the ply wood one looks sorta on the big side
K8ie on October 17, 2010:
My rabbit hutches are 4foot by 2 foot, n my rabbits seem quite happy, they get owt to play in there pen everyday, n love lying relaxing in there hutches, as long as they get plenty exercise i think 4 foot hutches are fine x
shananaginz on August 17, 2010:
my Bunny Snowy is 5 yrs. old and not very active . we just got a dog and it scares him so much when we try to introduce them and then after he gets scared of me and keeps thomping his foot and iv'e never seen him jump up gleefully in his entire life? Should I be worried
Chewy Lee on July 14, 2010:
This is good
Ellie on May 25, 2010:
I have a large hutch with a homemade run attached that is 4f by 8ft but it is only 40cm high can you tell me if this would be high enough for dwarf netherland rabbits please.
Charlie on May 21, 2010:
...I forgot to add, the cage only needs to be high enough for your rabbit to stand upright if you let it out to play. Also the second picture above is not a cage, it's an A-frame grazing hutch. Meant for letting rabbits eat grass, not play or sleep. they only problem with it is that you need to move it every once in a while so that the rabbit doesn't burrow out of it and so there's fresh grass for the rabbit.
Charlie on May 21, 2010:
Umm, actually a cage should be at least one square foot per pound for a small rabbit and two square feet per pound for a large rabbit. It really depends on the size your rabbit(s) are. Rabbits housed outside remain friendly if they are handled. The main problem with outdoor bunnies are predators and heat. So build a rabbit/chicken (the kind used to keep small animals out of the garden) wire fence around the cage(s) so predators don't get close enough to scare them to death. And put the cages in a shady area if you live in a climate that gets pretty warm. The fence can double as a rabbit run, where you can let the rabbits out to run and play. Also if you keep rabbits outside build a half open/half enclosed cage so the rabbit has a place to get shade/shelter.
Bump on May 08, 2010:
I have bunnies myself,(Truffle and Oreo) and I have them with each there own cage, but they are not 3 feet high or 5 feet wide, and they seem extremily happy.(The hutches are 4ft long+wide, and 2ft high.) I honestly dont think that they need 5ft and 3ft because I let my bunnies out into their large pen, and play for a while. They get enough food, water, and play time.
BunnyLover101 on April 16, 2010:
These are three things you should say.......
*Its dangerous(if you have cats roaming in the streets)
*Sometimes the community doesn't let you put animals outdoor.
Hopefully this helps.......
maia on April 06, 2010:
my mum and dad won't let my rabbits (cookie and sugar)indoors how should i convince them????please leave a comment
Lorena meyer on March 26, 2010:
shuld i cover my bunny cage at night
matthew on March 09, 2010:
is that for all bunny sizes
sabrina on September 09, 2009:
where could i buy all the stuf for it
alyssa on July 05, 2009:
i got a bunny a few weeks ago and have been keeping her inside ....and have been trying to litter-box train her also. Anyways my mom is sick of her mess and smell and wants her to stay outside all the time. is there a way i can get her litter-trained fast and how can i keep a 5 by 3 cage inside ?!?
Chey on May 24, 2009:
Well i just got a bunny and its in like a dog carrier because i have'nt got a cage for it yet and i put newspaper at the bottom but it seems like the cage is too small and it doesn't like being in side it because when i open the door it tries to get out.The bunny also eats the newspaper and rips it up like its angry should i take the bunny out for a little until i get the bigger cage?
Natalie on May 12, 2009:
"If all this seems too much of a hassle, then get a goldfish."
"...and probably don't give a damn either."
?!?! Gosh, why so rude?!
Bunniez (author) on July 25, 2008:
Minimum length: 5 Feet
Minimum Width 3 Feet
Minimum Height: 3 Feet
Height is very important too! Your rabbit needs to be able to jump!
annonmys on July 24, 2008:
i love bunnys but how big like width and length should a cage be for a bunny?
Bunniez (author) on June 26, 2008:
To be honest, the second one would make a useless playtime cage because, as anyone who has rabbits knows, they like to jump and run, and when happy throw themselves in the air and flick their feet and ears. That is their version of playing. With no room to jump or run, the second cage is more like a time out pen or a place to contain them for very short periods of time. Basically a waste of money.
Whitney from Georgia on June 25, 2008:
I think the second picture is ok ONLY if it's used as a temporary outside playtime cage, but definitely not a permanent cage.
The larger the better. ;-)
Spacing for bunnies housed together
Perhaps a more challenging issue is getting the right space for your compatible bunnies if they share a cage. For instance, what size of hutch do you need for two rabbits?
The height will remain the same. However, you need to increase the floor area, about one and a half times bigger. However, ensure you know how to introduce and bond them.
With the above guidelines, you can decide to go for a DIY hutch or buy one. Some of the pet stores that sell hutches may be able to advise you on the right size. However, the size should not be lower than what we have discussed.
For instance, the Aivituvin Extra Large Chicken Coop, Rabbit House Wooden Hen House Outdoor Bunny Hutch – Upgrade with Bottom PVC Layer is large enough for two bunnies. It measures 87.8″L x 20.5″W x 33.7″H.
Does My Rabbit Need a Cage?
Your rabbit does not need a cage. However, an untrained rabbit probably should be kept in a home-base of some kind, like an exercise pen (x-pen), a large cage, or some other protected housing, while you’re not home to supervise and at night when you sleep. Check out San Diego House Rabbit Society’s terrific recommendations on x-pen living!
Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that generally they sleep during the day and during the night but are ready to play at dawn and at twilight. Be sure to let them out during the evening when you are home, and if possible, in the morning while you get ready for work.
However, once your rabbit is familiar with your home, once you know what your rabbit does, and once your house has been fully bunny proofed, there’s no reason that he or she can’t have run of your home even when you’re not there.
Is it OK to keep my rabbit in a cage with a wire floor?
Rabbits were not designed to live on wire floors–they’re hard on their feet (which have no pads like those of cats or dogs). If you must use a cage with a wire floor, you need to provide your rabbit with a resting board or rug for her to sit on, otherwise she will spend all of her time in her litterbox. But this is not ideal.
You can find cages with slatted plastic floors, which are more comfortable, or you can use a solid floor. As long as your rabbit has a litterbox in the corner that he chooses as his bathroom, there shouldn’t be much of a mess to clean up. But ex-pens or other types of situations are much easier to find, are roomier, and are friendlier for both your rabbit and yourself.
What size housing is best?
Bigger is better! A rabbit’s home should be at least 4-6 times the size of your bunny when he’s entirely stretched out–more if he is confined for a large amount of the day. Enclosure sizes also should be decided in conjunction with the amount of exercise time and space the rabbit has. One guideline to go by is at least 8 square feet of enclosure space combined with at least at least 24 square feet of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits, in which the rabbit(s) can run and play at least 5 hours per day. You can build or buy your rabbit a two-story “condo” with the floors connected by a ramp–they love this!
Can my new bunny run loose 24 hours a day?
An untrained rabbit probably should be kept in an enclosure while you’re not home to supervise and at night when you sleep. Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that generally they sleep during the day and during the night but are ready to play at dawn and at twilight. Be sure to let them out during the evening when you are home, and if possible, in the morning while you get ready for work. However, once your rabbit is familiar with your home, once you know what your rabbit does, and once your house has been fully bunny proofed, there’s no reason that he or she can’t have run of your home even when you’re not there.
What can I do to make the rabbit’s enclosure time more enjoyable?
A rabbit’s home base should be seen as the rabbit’s “nest.” A special place where he can feel safe and secure. Make the nest enjoyable and she will enjoy being there, even when the door is open! Keep it stocked with baby toys, a synthetic sheepskin rug, a piece of wood attached to the inside (like a baseboard), and when you put him to bed at night, a nice veggie or fruit snack. For rabbits in an x-pen, there are a variety of fun wooden and cardboard play houses available today for your rabbit to climb and hide in, which will make his time in his “home” much more enjoyable. Find them here, here, and here!
When is it OK to let a rabbit run loose in the house?
When your rabbit is better trained, and when your house (or the part that your rabbit will have access to) has been sufficiently bunny-proofed, your rabbit can be allowed free run of the home (or part of it) even when you are not home. The more room your rabbit has to run around in, the more delightful you will find her as a companion.
Even when a rabbit has a lot of room to run around, he may still get bored. A bored rabbit is often a naughty rabbit. If you don’t make every attempt to provide your rabbit with lots of entertainment, in the form of boxes, baskets, brooms, sticks, magazines, phone books, grass mats, etc., then he will make his own entertainment in your carpet, behind your couch or under your recliner.
Can I let my rabbit run loose outside?
Always supervise your rabbit when she’s outside. It takes just a few seconds for the neighbor’s dog to jump the fence and attack or frighten your rabbit to death.
Make sure that the grass has not been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. Check the yard for holes in the fence and poisonous plants.
Under no circumstances should rabbits be left outside after dark. Predators are opossums, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes, dogs and occasionally cats. If you have an outside enclosure that you feel is very secure, a rabbit can still die of fright while a predator taunts the rabbit from outside. Outdoor Hazards FAQ & Rabbits Outdoors FAQ.
Ensuring your rabbit has adequate living space is essential to its well-being.
Purchasing a rabbit for the first time is a mixed bag of emotions, ranging from exciting and scary to overwhelming. One of the most overlooked details of bringing home a new rabbit is the living space it requires. Depending on the breed, the space requirements may vary greatly.
The minimum space requirements for one rabbit are based on the rabbit’s weight. The cage space is calculated by multiplying the cage width by length and subtracting the space occupied by feed and water dishes that may be inside the cage.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association adapted the following chart from the Animal Welfare Act (Title 7, Chapter 54, Sections 2131-2159) to help rabbit owners determine appropriate cage size for their animal.
Appropriate cage size for rabbits
Minimum floor space
Minimum interior height
Nursing does have different cage size requirements than a single rabbit. This increase in cage size allows for additional space for the kits. Based on the Animal Welfare Act, the American Rabbit Breeders Association has recommended the following cage sizes be utilized for nursing rabbits.
Appropriate cage size for nursing rabbits
Weight of nursing female
Minimum floor space per rabbit
Minimum interior height
Providing proper cage space will allow your rabbits to grow and develop appropriately. As your rabbit grows, Michigan State University Extension advises to make sure your rabbit has enough space in its cage to accommodate its size. Consistently weighing your rabbit will help you determine what size cage it should be in.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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Does an Outdoor Rabbit Hutch Set Up Differ from Indoor?
Deciding whether your rabbit will live outdoors or inside is an important concern. There are pros and cons to both approaches. If you do decide to settle your rabbit outside, there are additional considerations. If you’re leaning toward placing your rabbit’s hutch outside, consider the following:
Let’s look into each of these in more detail.
Temperature Maintenance of an Outdoor Hutch
If your rabbit lives outside, you should include a thermometer in her hutch. Rabbits can withstand surprisingly cold temperatures, but you’ll need to take action in extreme weather.
A rabbit’s body temperature should run between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit. That sounds high, but a rabbit’s fur coat accounts for this. Your rabbit will rarely become too cold.
The temperature needs to drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit to be dangerous for rabbits. If this occurs, move the rabbit to a warmer location. A shed or garage is ideal for this. This will be temporary, until the extreme cold front passes.
Do not alternate your rabbit between indoor and outdoor living at any other time. Sudden fluctuations in temperature have a detrimental impact on rabbits. Your pet needs to be just warm enough to avoid immediate danger.
Excessive heat is just as dangerous. If you’re in the midst of a heatwave, your rabbit will grow uncomfortable. Anything over 70 degrees Fahrenheit is sketchy, but tolerable. If the temperature reaches 85 degrees, a rabbit is in trouble.
If not provided with appropriate support, a rabbit could develop heatstroke in these conditions. Offer plenty of chilled water. Bring your rabbit indoors during the height of the sun, too. Your pet can relax on cold tiles to cool off.
Providing Light to an Outdoor Hutch
Appropriate illumination is another consideration for outdoor rabbits. When you go to bed, your rabbit will return to its hutch. Your pet is unlikely to be sleepy, though. Your pet will amuse herself before retiring.
On paper, this is not an issue for your pet. Rabbits are not instinctively afraid of the dark. Lagomorphs are not nocturnal though. They cannot see in pitch darkness. Rabbit eyes are engineered to function best at dawn and dusk.
This will potentially cause worry for your rabbit. Your pet will not be able to see anything. Rabbits can hear and smell predators, though. This can lead to a frightening night.
The specialist sleeping area that we previously discussed will help with this. If a rabbit feels suitably protected, it will pay less attention to the wider world. Your pet may sleep soundly, unaware of animals patrolling outside the hutch.
If your rabbit seems reluctant to return to its hutch at night, fear is a likely explanation. You can soothe your rabbit’s nerves by applying some light. You have two options for this.
- Add a night light to your rabbit’s hutch. A battery-operated lamp or torch is best, as this will involve no trailing wires. Ensure the light is dim. Your rabbit still needs to understand the difference between night and day.
- Install a motion detector light in your yard, which illuminates your rabbit’s hutch. This will shine whenever something moves in your garden. This may disturb your sleep, though. Think about if this will bother you.
Choose the best option for both you and your rabbit. Remember, though if your rabbit feels secure in a ‘bedroom,’ light is less of a concern. Always look to improve your pet’s sleeping quarters first.
Ensuring a Rabbit’s Safety in an Outdoor Hutch
There will be wild animals that seek to harm your pet. You need to apply a firm, secure cover to your pet’s hutch. Predators can chew through any flimsy material. Hardware cloth is the safest option, as it’s tougher than chicken wire.
You may also want to consider a clear, Perspex cover for your rabbit’s hutch. This will be more secure. It will also protect your rabbit from any strong winds, or rain.
If you do install a solid cover, remember that your pet still needs oxygen. Do not cover the entire hutch. Leave at least some space for air to circulate. If you have genuine concerns for your pet’s safety, consider rehousing him or her indoors.
Do some research on the ideal hutch before your pet joins your family. Rabbits are particular and fussy animals. If you do not arrange a welcoming home environment, stress, and anxiety can follow.
You have to remember how much time rabbits spend in a hutch. Your pet will wake up hours before you, and remain active after you retire for the night. A rabbit needs to feel secure in this time and be provided with entertainment.