If you own a pet rabbit, you will want to take all necessary measures to ensure that your rabbit is content and at home with you. Among them is setting up a comfortable cage that they’ll adore. Remember that the cage will be their sanctuary, thus you must do it right.
While setting up a home for your bunny is not at all challenging, determining what it actually needs can be quite tricky. When you enter a pet store, you’re sure to encounter a lot of brightly colored packaging trying to get you to buy more. But some of them may not be necessary for your bunny.
In this handy guide, we’ll go over how to get the right cage for your rabbit and how to put it up so that your furry friend has the finest possible habitat. Read on!
Before You Start: Choosing a Rabbit’s Cage and Supplies
Get the Right-Sized Cage
A cage that’s too small can restrict your rabbit’s movements. Besides, it can lead to boredom and behavioral problems. A general guideline is that the cage should be at least four times the size of the rabbit, with enough space for your bunny to hop, stretch, and stand up on its hind legs.
The size of the cage also depends on the rabbit breed you have. The largest rabbit breed is the Flemish giant. It can weigh up to 22 pounds. (10 kg). On the flip side, the smallest breed weighs two to three pounds. (1.3 kg).
Here are the recommended cage sizes for a small and a large bunny.
|Rabbit Size||Recommended Cage Size|
|Small Rabbits||1.5 m long x 0.6 m wide x 0.6 m height|
|Large Rabbits||1.85 m long x 0.9 m wide x 0.9 m height|
The Cage Should Have a Solid Floor
Many rabbits have a disorder called pododermatitis that causes pressure sores to form on the backs of their hind legs. The sores develop when your bunny sits on hard flooring or damp bedding. If the cage flooring is made of wire mesh, cover it using a piece of plywood. Then, cover the plywood with bedding.
The Cage’s Base Should Have a Urine Guard
A urine guard is a crucial feature as it prevents your rabbit’s urine from leaking out of the cage and onto your floors or furniture. It makes the rabbit’s cage much easier to clean, thus hygienic.
You can improvise if your cage doesn’t have a urine guard. Use materials that won’t hurt the bunny if it chews on it. The best material is cardboard.
The Sides of the Cage Should Be Made of Wire
Wire mesh is the best option for some reason. To begin with, it provides excellent ventilation, which is essential for the bunny’s respiratory health. Wire sides also allow for easy cleaning and maintenance. Urine and feces can pass through it easily.
The 6 Key Tips for Setting Up a Rabbit’s Cage
1. Find an Ideal Location to Set the Cage
An ideal spot should feature the following:
Well-ventilated: Don’t set up a rabbit’s cage in a basement or an attic. These areas are full of dirt and dust, which may affect your bunny’s delicate lungs.
Sunlight exposure: The bunny needs sunlight, but this should be indirect sunshine rather than the direct sun pounding on them.
Away from noise: Rabbits dislike loud noises and quick movements. For instance, placing the cage close to a tumble dryer may cause the rabbit undue stress. A spare bedroom would be a wise idea.
Safe from predators: Rabbits can be prone to predators such as cats, dogs, foxes, and birds of prey. When setting up its cage, ensure that it is tucked away from these predators. Moreover, cats and dogs may cause unnecessary stress to your bunny. You can raise the cage from the floor if you have a dog around because the dog’s sniffing may scare the rabbit.
Spacious: Rabbits shouldn’t always be confined to their cages. They need some time out of the cage to exercise. Thus, it would help if you put the cage in a space where you won’t worry if your rabbit hops around and explores. Ensure there are no cables, small toys, sharp edges, or anything else that could hurt your rabbit.
2. Make the Space in the Cage Comfortable for Your Bunny
When tired and feeling lazy, bunnies love to get comfortable. You can line the cage with bedding to protect the rabbit’s legs from sores. You can use a thick cushion of bedding, and this could be sawdust, hay, or straw. However, don’t use a carpet to line the cage as it may lead to bowel blockage in case your bunny chews it.
3. Consider Cage Hygiene
Buy a litter box for the cage and fill it with non-toxic litter at the bottom, a layer of newspaper on top, and a top layer of hay. The newspaper absorbs moisture and controls odor. The hay will provide a comfortable and absorbent surface for the bunny to rest on. Besides, it encourages natural foraging behaviors. Ensure you replace the hay each day.
You will need to train your bunny on how to use a litter box if you live with it indoors.
Remember to remove any urine or pellet-covered spots and replace them using fresh straw every day. Clean the cage thoroughly once each week.
4. Put in the Right Food and Water Bowls
These are among the supplies never to be forgotten when setting up a rabbit cage. Rabbits need access to fresh and clean water at all times. Sipper drinkers are the best because water bowls can tip over or get soiled with pellets.
The food bowl, on the other hand, should be heavy and have a flat bottom so it won’t tip over and spill its contents. If you have several rabbits, ensure there’s a bowl for each one and an extra bowl. Place the bowls around the cage so that no single rabbit can get access to all of them.
Change the water every day so that it always stays fresh. Clean the drinker and the food bowls every morning.
5. Put Toys in the Rabbit’s Cage
Once you have set up the cage, it’s time to add some toys to keep your furry friend entertained and even encourage exercise. You can find various rabbit-safe toys at pet stores, or you can DIY using household items such as cardboard boxes and paper towel rolls.
When selecting toys for your rabbit, make sure they are safe and durable. Avoid small toy pieces that your rabbit can swallow. Get rid of any toys that get damaged or worn out. Rotate your rabbit’s toys every few days to keep things interesting.
6. Lay Items for Your Bunny to Chew
Rabbits have continuously growing teeth and they need to chew on things to wear them down. Providing safe and appropriate chew toys like wooden blocks, hay cubes, and untreated willow branches can prevent dental problems and also help alleviate boredom.
Setting up a rabbit’s cage is a crucial step in ensuring that your furry friend lives a happy and healthy life. The cage doubles up as a sanctuary where your bunny will be spending most of its time. Therefore, you need to create a comfortable, safe, and stimulating living space.
Remember to add in a litter box, chew toys and comfortable bedding. Moreover, hygiene is paramount; make sure to keep the cage clean. Replace soiled hay as needed and clean the water and food bowls every day.
Featured Image Credit: Alex Desanshe, Shutterstock