Rabbit | You Don’t Need a Lot of Room to Raise a Rabbit
Housing for your pet can vary considerably depending upon your home and your locality, but it has one universal requirement: rabbits need good ventilation. Without adequate ventilation, your pet can be susceptible to respiratory diseases. Keep this in mind when you buy or build a cage for your rabbit. Make sure at least a portion of the cage is constructed of wire mesh to allow good air flow.
Rabbits can be kept outdoors, but they need shelter from the wind, rain, drafts, and the summer sun. If protected from the elements, rabbits can withstand very cold weather (see construction of a hutch below). An enclosed box inside a wire cage is a popular design that affords both protection and ventilation.
If you choose to keep your rabbit in a cage either indoors or outdoors, the size will vary depending upon the size of the rabbit. For smaller breeds of rabbits (under six pounds), the cage should be approximately 20” deep and 30-36” wide, and approximately 12” high. Larger animals need a larger cage, and most will be well accommodated by cages that are 24” deep, 48” wide, and 12-16” high.
The floor of the cage may vary considerably. A self-cleaning cage (the urine and fecal material drop through the floor) has a floor made of wire mesh or grid that forms squares one-half inch wide and one inch long.
With self-cleaning cages, it is important to provide some type of tray or method of collecting the rabbit’s waste. These trays should be lined with paper, filled with wood shavings, cat litter or other absorbent material to help minimize odors. A small amount of baking soda added to the litter will help control odors.
If your pet weighs 9 pounds or more, you should consider rabbit housing with solid floors. Solid floors will support a large rabbit’s weight better and will help prevent its feet from becoming irritated. Rabbits that are kept on solid floors should be bedded with newspaper, wood shavings, straw, hay, or other absorbent materials. The bedding should be changed daily.
Regardless of the type of housing you select, it is mandatory that the cage be cleaned frequently to prevent odors and disease.